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Choose A Realtor To Help You Buy A Home

When Interviewing REALTORS®, It's Critical To Know What Questions To AskWelcome to your new home

Selecting The Right REALTOR® Is A Very Important Decision

When choosing a REALTOR®, count on The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) as your best source of information. NAR is the largest professional association of real estate agents. REALTOR® is a designation that can only be used by members of NAR. Members subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics promoted by NAR. Here are the questions NAR recommends that you ask every REALTOR® you interview to represent you in buying a home. 

1. How Many Years Have You Been In Residential Real Estate Sales? Is It Your Full-Time Job OR Is It a Part-Time Job For You?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

Experience counts in complex industries. Buying a home is not a good time to be represented by a new agent or a friend who is a part-time agent. When it comes to crunch time, you're going to want to have an experienced agent "duking it out" to win the negotiation for you. Think about it, when you hire someone to do any kind of work for you, do you want someone who is just getting started? No, you want to hire someone who has a lot of experience. Real estate is the same way. Look for an agent who thrives on "winning" the negotiation to get the house you want.

How James Answers This Question

I've been a full-time realtor for 30+ years. With 900+ transactions completed, this means I've helped hundreds of clients buy their home. That kind of experience will work to your advantage when it comes time to negotiate the best price and terms for your new home. I dig deep to find out the seller's needs so that your offer best matches what the seller needs. Often small things in your offer can make it the perfect offer for the seller. This can sway the seller's decision in your favor.

2. What Other Real-Estate-Related Designations or Certifications Do You Hold?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

Real estate professionals must take additional specialized training every year. A "lay person" doesn't realize the significance of various designations and certifications. What you need to know is that designations and certifications define the special skills that an agent has acquired to help you with your specific real estate needs.

Ask any agent you interview whether or not they have an ABR® designation. This stands for Accredited Buyer's Representative. An agent attains this designation through a specialized training course for buyer agents who work directly with buyer-clients at every stage of the home-buying process.

How James Answers This Question

Yes, I have earned an ABR designation; click this link to see the full alphabet soup list of other designations I have earned. What you need to know that is relevant to you is that I'm very committed to learning. I'm constantly enrolled in educational and coaching programs to increase my knowledge for your benefit. It's important to me to stay on top of current best practices to ensure that my clients receive the best that the industry has to offer.

3. What's Your Business Philosophy As A Buyer's Agent?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

Your agent can have many different responses to this question. What is important is that you know and understand the thinking that drives their work as a buyer's agent and that it meshes with what you want. Assess their working style and see if it fits your own working style and the way you want to approach the buying process.

How James Answers This Question

My business philosophy is simple and a little "old school". I'm a completely committed agent who makes the most of my work time. I will always provide you honest input—about the market, about how realistic your goals are, what might work better for you, and your best options. You can count on me as an ally to help you achieve your real estate goals. Where there's a will, there's a way. We'll honestly discuss your pluses and minuses. In return I ask that you appreciate the value of having an intelligent service provider on your side.

4. How Many Buyers Have You And Your Brokerage Represented This Year And Last Year? 

Why You Want To Ask This Question

Someone can be a full-time realtor and still have represented only a few buyers. The majority of real estate agents represent only a few buyers a year. They may also belong to a small brokerage that doesn't have the synergy derived from a larger, more systematic company.

Over 900+ sales in Silicon ValleyHow James Answers This Question

Close to half my 900+ real estate sales have been buyers. In 2016, 30-35% of my sales were for buyers. Keller Williams Bay Area Estates (KWBAE) is the top brokerage in Northern California by Sales Volume. If you're a serious buyer and you're ready to buy, I hope you will consider picking up the phone and booking a consultation with me. Let me provide you the information you need to get started on your search. We'll get you in your own home in short measure.

5. What Is The Difference, On Average, Between your Initial Offer and The Final Sales Price For Buyers You Represent?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

This is an important question to ask a REALTOR® before signing a buyer's agreement. What this information tells you is the negotiating savvy and skill of that agent. It also helps you assess how knowledgeable that agent is of the market, and also of the psychology of winning the negotiation for you.

How James Answers This Question

This is a question that has different relevance in the Silicon Valley than it has in other parts of the country. That's because ours tends to be a hot market with a lot of competition for a limited inventory. The tech industry tends to keep our market simmering. A more relevant question in the Silicon Valley (home of heated multiple offer negotiations) is what is your percentage of offers accepted in multiple offer situations.

This is an area where I shine. The reason is that I go the extra mile by working with the listing agent to find out what the sellers really need and want. This extra effort helps me figure out how to shape an offer that might be accepted over other (sometimes even better) offers. I'm a deal-maker, not an order-taker. You can count on me to "charge the hill" and figure out how your offer might have the chance of being the one accepted.

6. Will You Represent Me Exclusively As My Real Estate Agent? Do You Also Choose To Represent The Seller Too?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

Typically, it is legal for a REALTOR® to represent both parties in a transaction. However, you need to know  and fully understand the ramifications of such representation. Be sure your REALTOR® clearly explains his or her philosophy on both agency relationships and their beliefs about obligations to their clients. 

How James Answers This QuestionOwn this home in the Silicon Valley

Approximately 10% of my deals are dual agency. What you need to know is that, with dual agency, I must represent the best interests of both parties. I cannot disclose your confidential information to the other party. To clarify how this works, I can show comps and trends and general information such as that. However, I cannot disclose to the other party any of your private circumstances (such as the price you are willing to pay, funds you have at your disposal to increase down payment, timetables that could reveal intense need). Ethically, I must— and do—represent the best interests of both sides. If you have concerns, let's discuss them.

7. Do You Know Service Providers You Can Recommend To Help Me Obtain a Mortgage, Inspect The Home, Make Repairs and Other Real Estate Related Services?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

You want to work with a REALTOR® who has deep and lengthy relationships with providers. This is something that only happens over time. You want to believe that you'll get excellent and honest advice from your agent about providers. You'll be relying on this agent to guide you in locating the best providers. Be sure that you find out if they have any special arrangements with providers.

How James Answers This Question

I do have a very hefty list of trusted providers. Many of them have serviced my clients for decades. I know they do great work because I've seen it. I closely monitor the work of all providers I refer to clients. You can trust that if I recommend them, you'll be well-served and happy with the results. Note that I do not benefit in any way from providing these referrals to my clients. 

As a realtor, I keep buyers informed in our home search8. How Will You Keep Me Informed About My Transaction As It Progresses?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

You want to know how your relationship with the agent will work. It's important to assess whether or not they have a well-thought-out plan for communicating information to you. You want to ensure that you will receive update information in your preferred format.

How James Answers This Question

You can count on me to communicate with you consistently. I will be making sure you get new listings every week, as soon as they come on the market. I'll work with you to ensure that your finances are ready and in order and that you don't do anything that affects the strength of your financial position (such as going out and making big credit purchases).

I'll plainly speak to you about, "This is where we're at. This is where the market is at." If we can't find what you need because the market is tight, we'll examine other ways to get you in a new home. This means changing the variables. That might mean changing the price point of homes. We might re-examine what's important to you (what you want) and revise that list to fit the realities of the market. We'll have a conversation about what your options are and see if there's an option that will work for you.

9. Will You Please Provide The Contact Information Of Your Three Most Recent Buyer Clients.

Why You Want To Ask This Question

See how the agent responds to this question. Do they readily have an answer and were they prepared in advance with the information?  You'll want to ask former clients if they would use the agent again in the future.

How James Answers This Question

I'm delighted to provide you as many names are you want. I've got plenty of names of previous clients who  would be delighted to speak to you. You can also go to my Testimonial page on this website to discover for yourself right now exactly what my clients say about working with me. I'm proud of the testimonials I get and delighted to share them with potential buyers.


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