Top-3 Questions to Ask Your Realtor | Finding the Best Realtor in Polk County

Oct 23, 2022

Best Realtor Polk County Florida | DRJ Real Estate

ask your realtor-DRJ Real Estate Polk CountyHow to Pick the Best Realtor for You

If you are looking to buy or sell your home, it is highly advisable to work with a licensed professional, or agent. But picking the best agent can be confusing and difficult. How should you pick a real estate agent? Most commonly, people use an agent that is referred to them by friends or family. While this is a great way to choose an agent, not everyone has that option. Keep reading to learn a real estate insiders tips for questions to ask when picking a Realtor.

Agent, Broker, Realtor, oh my!

First off, we should clarify some of the common terms that you will come across which all describe a licensed real estate professional.

AGENT: a person licensed by the state to represent you in the purchase or sale of real estate. Licensing requires completion of pre-licensing education as well as successful passing of a written real estate exam. Florida requires 63 hours of education before you can apply for the licensing exam. The written test is divided into national and state specific laws and principles. A licensed real estate agent must work under a broker.

BROKER: a broker license indicates someone that has completed additional education and testing requirements in real estate. Typically, a broker is required to have experience as an agent before they can obtain the broker license. A broker can manage or own a “brokerage” (real estate office), and oversee licensed agents that work for them. The broker is responsible for ensuring that their agents are operating in compliance with local and federal real estate laws. Additionally, they design training programs and provide administrative and marketing support to their agents.

REALTOR: is the title designated for licensed real estate professionals who are also members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). While a licensed Agent does not have to be a “Realtor”, a Realtor does have to be a licensed Agent. Many people have just assigned the name “Realtor” to anyone who sells real estate. However, they must actually be a member of NAR to use that designation. Being a member of NAR provides a licensed Agent access to additional resources and training.

Is an Agent, a Broker, or a Realtor Better?

Ultimately, all three of these are “Agents” because they must be licensed in real estate in their state. Agent is the umbrella. Within the term Agent are Brokers and Realtors. You can think of a Broker like executive management. They have additional training, and they operate and oversee the office in which other Agents hang their license. A Broker might not operate as an “Agent” in that they might not work one-on-one with clients, however, they can if they want to. Some Brokers strictly provide training and support to their Agents, and focus on marketing and managing their office. A Broker can also be a “Realtor” if they are a member of NAR.

A Realtor is the same thing as an Agent, but with a membership to NAR. They may have additional training and access to support resources.

Ultimately, one is not “better” than the other. They are just slightly different. As long as the person you are working with is properly licensed, then it really comes down to finding the right person to help you buy or sell a home. Here are some important questions you should ask a real estate agent before you work with them.

1. How Long Have You Had Your License?

The answer here is not about getting a number. It is about getting an idea of who this person in regards to real estate. An agent with more years of experience brings a lot to the table. They have seen the market change and grow, they have handled many negotiations, and they typically know how to avoid many of the common issues that can come up in real estate. That being said, a new agent can also bring some things to the table. This can include things like a fresh perspective on the industry, energy, availability, motivation. They may have more knowledge of how to leverage technology, or of new techniques.

On the downside, sometimes an Agent that has been “in the game” for a long time is very set in their ways, not flexible with modern approaches or negotiations, and not privy to new and creative approaches to helping a buyer or seller. A new Agent, on the other hand, may not be strong in contract negotiations yet, presenting offers, or have a network of partners that help facilitate your real estate transaction.

So what is the right answer? Lots of experience? Or newer to the industry? Each have their pro’s and con’s, and what is important is that you understand what those are. This is an important question because the way that your potential agent answers it will either give you confidence in them, or raise some red flags.

2. Do You Represent Buyers or Sellers?

This is important to understand, especially in respect to what you are looking to do. Many Agents work with both buyers and sellers, some prefer to focus on one or the other. One thing to be cautious about is what is known as a “Dual Agent”. A Dual Agent is an Agent that represents both the Buyer and the Seller in the same transaction. This can cause a conflict of interest, as you can imagine. In Florida, Dual Agency is illegal, even if it is disclosed. What is critically important is that you are confident that your Agent will represent your interests first and foremost.

An Agent that has experience on both sides of a transaction brings a lot of great perspective and experience to the table.

Other questions to ask along with this is how many other buyers and sellers are they currently working with? For example, if you are buying a home, and your Agent is working with many other buyers, your Agent may not be as available for you as you want. You may also feel like you are competing with other buyers for attention and access to listings. Similar to asking about their experience, this question helps put all the cards on the table. The answer will either make you feel comfortable, or might make you rethink your choice.

3. How Do You Help Me Be a Competitive Buyer (or Seller)?

This is the critical question that will give your potential Agent an opportunity to “sell” themselves. Ultimately, a real estate Agent is a sales person, whether representing a buyer or a seller. So, if they can’t convincingly sell themselves to you, maybe you need to interview a few others.

This question can be hard if it is your first time buying or selling a home, because you don’t really know what to expect. What should you look for? You want to hear that they have a plan. A strategy. A system.

If you are listing your home, they should be able to walk you through what that process looks like, with an emphasis on how they will market your home. Things to consider would include:

  • is professional photography provided
  • is staging done or is there staging assistance
  • do they have a network of buyers agents to market to directly
  • what types of marketing, both digital and tangible, do they include
  • what do they look for in an offer
  • how do they screen potential buyers (i.e. prequalify)
  • did they provide you with a professional presentation of their Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
  • what would they recommend to make your listing more competitive
  • how did they come up with the price in respect to the CMA
  • what price range do they typically work with
  • what is their commission strategy

If you are buying a home, some things to consider would include:

  • did they do an interview or questionnaire with you to learn more about you
  • do they typically only show homes in certain areas
  • what price range do they typically work with
  • what do they do differently to make your offer standout from the crowd
  • how available are they to show homes
  • how do they come up with the best offer price

This question gives a potential agent an opportunity to demonstrate their skill and strategy. The answer should be detailed and specific, and make you feel confident. Your Agent should be available to you, motivated, and prepared.

Call DRJ Real Estate to Work With the Best

If you need help in real estate in the Polk County, Florida area, CALL DRJ REAL ESTATE. Our team has the experience and the modern skills to help you buy or sell a home. We are passionate about helping our clients and our community.

We offer a FREE 30 minute consult. During this consult we will go over a quick market analysis with you. Additionally we will answer any questions you have about the market and process for buying or selling your home.

We also offer online seller’s and buyer’s courses to help you learn all the best home selling tips and buyer’s secrets. CHECK THEM OUT!!

If you are looking to move into the beautiful Polk County Florida area, or you are looking to sell your house, then CONTACT DRJ REAL ESTATE right now to put us to work for you! We are Polk County’s premier, full service real estate team that specializes in Polk County and Lakeland real estate. 

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