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    First-Time Home Buyer Series | #3 | 8 Top Questions To Ask When Interviewing An Agent

    There are a lot of professionals in the real estate business in Myrtle Beach today. Chances are pretty good that most people know more than one from their social circle – the husband or wife of the colleague sitting in the office down the hall at work or maybe someone that can be seen most Sundays sitting in the front pew at church and let’s not forget about that new  guy who recently joined Kiwanis. Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand has thousands of real estate agents. And whether a first-time buyer embarking on their first ever real estate transaction or a seasoned veteran of half a dozen moves, having the right real estate agent is crucial to a smooth sales process.

    A home buyer or home seller can get a real estate agent or broker referrals from neighbors, friends, and family members. Or they can use tools like Trulia’s Find an Agent Directory or Zillow reviews to help find highly-recommended agents who know the target neighborhoods and who have a special skill set (e.g., relocation specialists, speaks a foreign language, etc.) to help with a house hunt.

    For folks looking to hire a real estate sales professional, it’s important not to pick someone who’s not so close a friend that having a serious, no-nonsense business conversation is impossible. A professional Realtor needs to be someone with whom a buyer or seller can comfortably disagree. And keep in mind that this person will at some point become quite intimate with a buyer or seller’s entire financial picture.

    Clients spend a lot of time with their agent so his or her style had better be compatible. Does the client need someone easygoing or someone aggressive? Maybe a seller is a self-proclaimed overachiever and likes the idea of working with someone similar, provided the agent has an easygoing personality and a great sense of humor. Remember too, if a client says, “I may not like him, but he is a real bulldog and will fight for a deal,” might not work either. If the client doesn’t like the agent, chances are no one else will either.

    So choosing the most qualified person for the job will be someone who is easy to work with. The ideal person will be an experienced professional who knows the market, acts in an ethical manner, answers every question, addresses every concern, and, most importantly, will listen and be a teammate throughout the entire buying or selling process.

    Selling or buying a home can be a time-consuming and emotionally challenging event.

    Making good, informed decisions is imperative to closing a successful home sale. Whether buying or selling, a good starting point is asking friends and family for real estate agent referrals in the target area. Find out about their experiences and, hopefully, a couple of names will keep popping up. Armed with a couple names, call the agents and set up a time to go over some basic but absolutely essential questions. According to a California Association of Realtors report, nearly half of all homebuyers hire the first agent they meet. Try to avoid that mistake and interview several.

    The Trembley Group Real Estate Sales Professionals know what they’d ask and here are their top suggestions: 

    1. What is your experience and local expertise?

    While experience can’t always guarantee skill, most real estate agents who have years of experience, great reviews, and proper education will have the skills to properly and successfully find or sell a home. Ask potential real estate agents if they are full-time or part-time agents, how many homes they have sold in the past year, how many sellers they are currently representing and what designations or certifications they have or are working on to ensure your potential agent is well educated and properly trained. While there are many licensed real estate agents, most only sell a few homes per year and there is no substitute for experience.

    The question of experience is key because it can lead to discussions of so much more than simply a number of years. While it is true that experience doesn’t necessarily equal success, real estate is a commission-based business and it would be very difficult for an agent to survive for a very long time providing awful service. An agent who has seen many different situations is less likely to be rattled should any bumps be encountered down the road.

    This doesn’t mean that hiring some aging gentleman with a cane is a good idea, but experience does matter. It can mean the difference between knowing how to handle a difficult situation, or ignoring it, or not recognizing the signs of a potential problem before it develops into a crisis.

    The discussion of experience naturally leads to the next question…

    1. Are you part of a team?

    The Trembley Group Real Estate Company is a unique organization.

    There are two fundamental approaches to running a real estate company: the sales approach and the customer service approach. The sales approach creates a culture where nothing is more important than generating the next sale and commission. The focus is on maximizing company profit whether it’s what’s best for the client or not.

    The Trembley Group Real Estate takes a customer service approach to operating its company. By focusing on the client’s best interests, the owners and officers of the company believe that they have created an organization that will be in the real estate business for the long haul. To that end, The Trembley Group Real Estate is a marketing organization whose primary goal is serving the needs of its clients. The company has instilled in its agents their responsibility to provide the highest level of service to their clients.

    The Trembley Group Real Estate gives its Sales Executives the best training on the Grand Strand. Whether it be role-playing with Jeremy Jenks, watching  Tom Ferry motivational videos, or personal and group coaching sessions with Scott Trembley, The Trembley Group Real Estate Sales Executives receive training that is second to none.   

    Because of the customer service culture, there is a sense of cooperation and teamwork among The Trembley Group Sales Executives that is unique to the real estate brokerage business. Working with a team can have many benefits, its members have a wider level of experience and one will often have more specific and intimate knowledge of specific situations than another. What’s most important are the agents’ willingness to stop and help one another. A Trembley Group Real Estate Client can expect to draw on the experience and expertise of every agent in the company.

    In addition, The Trembley Group Real Estate Company offers its agents support that is second to none in the industry. Clients can expect their Sales Executive to have the help and support of a truly remarkable closing department, an amazing marketing department, and a client care department that doesn’t measure response time in days (if at all) like most companies on the Grand Strand, but in minutes.

    When a real estate client hires a Trembley Group Sales Executive, that client hires The entire Trembley Group with all of its assets and resources. They can expect that every aspect of their transaction will be handled by an experienced expert.

    1. Are you a member of an agent organization?

    Make sure a licensed agent has the right credentials. Ask your potential agents if they are members of a membership organization, like the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This means they have formally agreed to abide by the organization’s code of ethics.

    Also, inquire into special training and certifications agents have to better equip them to help a client find a home – a Certified Residential Specialist, for example, has taken additional classes and training in residential real estate. Other certifications include Accredited Buyer’s Representative, Military Relocation Professional, and Counselor of Real Estate, all of which are obtained through NAR.

    1. What is your plan for selling my home or helping me find a new one?

    Online and offline marketing is critical to the success of selling and buying a home. Ask potential real estate agents what their approaches and plans are to market a property or to help a client find a new home. How many photos will be taken and do they use professional photographers? Will video be included? What about home staging, marketing materials and listing your home on multiple websites?

    The vast majority of homebuyers find their home online or at least begin their search there, so great photography and staging is essential for making a strong first impression and to make a home stand out from the crowd. Make sure there is a clear and aggressive marketing plan in place that creates interest in a home.

    1. Do you have any service providers that you recommend who will work on my behalf?

    An experienced Sales Professionals will be well connected within the industry. When meeting with potential agents, ask them if they routinely use specific lenders that assist in the mortgage process. Inquire about home inspectors, handymen, contractors and any other service providers that may potentially be needed. Many agents also offer to help set up appointments or be present at the home for an estimate if you aren’t available. Having relationships with specific service providers relieves stress and saves time during the buying and selling process.

    An experienced agent will have developed trusted relationships with other industry professionals over a long period of time. From lenders and title companies to contractors and inspectors to closing attorneys, an agent should be able to offer referrals to multiple sources. However, these recommendations should be suggestions, nothing more. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act gives the buyer and the seller the right to choose any professional at every step of the way.

    1. Can you provide references from past clients?

    One of the best ways to get to know a potential real estate agent is to ask former or recent clients about their experience working with the real estate agent or team. Ask to see their reviews and customer testimonials, and even contact the previous clients to ask specific questions about their work with the agent. Trusting your real estate agent is critical, so be sure to ask the most recent clients whether they were satisfied with the real estate agent’s professionalism and work.

    While an agent should be able to accurately judge the customer service provided, no one can better say than his past clients. Obviously, agents won’t be handing out information for clients who hated them, so take what they say with a grain of salt. Ask specific, open-end questions based on your priorities. The Trembley Group Real Estate Company and Sales Executives are the number one reviewed company and agent in Zillow. The reviews are voluntary and the company has worked hard to achieve its ranking and encourage every potential client to read its reviews before making a decision.  

    1. What type of communication should I expect?

    At this point, both the client and the agent should have a sense of each other’s

    expectations and communication style. Everyone should have clear expectations as to the frequency of updates and the method of updating. The time of day and the best communication methods vary from client to client. Whether text, email, US Postal Service, or telephone call, everyone needs to be kept in the loop. Communication frequency and style should be determined by whatever makes the client feel most comfortable.

    1. What questions do you have for me?

    This is the most important question that will be asked. The true determination of a person’s mindset and priorities is exposed by the questions asked. Anyone can ask how much you want to sell your house for or how many bathrooms you want in your new home. If an agent takes the time to really get to know the client, the client’s goals, and the client’s priorities, it is likely that the agent is building a foundation of client-centered service, for which there is no substitute.

     

     

    Need help? Call The Trembley Group at 843.945.1880 ext. 1 and we’ll help you look for the perfect listing or buyers agent!

    At The Trembley Group, we pride ourselves on being the experts at more than just selling real estate. We are local residents, some of us have been here for a lifetime. The rest of us will be here until the end of time. We love living, working, and playing in the diverse backyard of Coastal Carolina, and look forward to helping you live and love your dreams soon too. Please reach out to us by phone or email for personalized service and one-on-one advice. 

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