4 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

As you know I am in full first time homebuyer mode. I spend my weekends searching websites to find homes with all the amenities we want, at a price we can afford and sending questions to our real estate agent. Notice that I said, I spend; not my realtor spends.

I know that I’ve never bought a home before, but I’m pretty sure the client isn’t supposed to be doing the work. If you’ve bought a home did you search for homes with your real estate agent or did they bring listings to you?

To be honest I though that I would find a real estate agent, give them our list of must-haves and they would come back to us with available properties that meet the criteria. Is that not how it works? Currently we’re searching online for homes that have everything we want and in a couple of weeks we’ll start visiting homes. Our wish list includes:

  • Garage
  • New construction
  • Finished basement
  • Single family home (no condo or townhouse)

Here’s a list of questions to ask your real estate agent when buying your first home:

How much down payment do I need?

The mortgage amount, interest rate and pre-approval are based on a variety of factors including your credit score and the amount of the down payment. Although a real estate agent isn’t a mortgage broker they do have a basic knowledge of the process.

The real estate agent will be able to give you an idea of the type of home you can afford based on your wants vs. market availability. Don’t be afraid to talk finances with your real estate agent because it can help the process be more efficient.

Do I need a home inspection?

The answer to this question is yes – except when buying a new home. Apparently a newly constructed home is evaluated for the purchase price and land tax payment, but it doesn’t need to have an official home inspection because all guarantees are offered by the builder with the purchase.

If you’re buying a used home, our real estate agent absolutely recommends getting a home inspection. It helps spot imperfections and lets homeowners know what they’re getting into when it comes to repairs and renovations.

Do some builders have better reputations than others?

The answer is also yes. If you’re purchasing a new home it’s a good idea to research the builder and their reputation, including previous projects. Your real estate agent may also have an established relationship with certain builders and that can work in your favor when negotiating.

What questions did you ask your real estate agent?


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4 thoughts on “4 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

  • We bought our house eons ago – 14 years! Our big thing was making sure our realtor understood that we, as the buyers, were running the show and not him – sometimes you have to really stand your ground! Perhaps it was because we were looking for a house on the cheaper end, who knows! On 3 separate house bids, he tried to dissuade us from bidding lower than asking so that “it would not offend the sellers.” Keep in mind, this was at the very beginnings of the housing boom – before the bust – so prices were just starting their climb. We were not about to pay more for a house than we thought it was worth to avoid hurting the feelings of a stranger – he was recommended by a friend that is more emotionally driven, where I’m more analytical, so feelings were never a part of the equation for me. Anyways, it made me sad to think that there may be other families out there who are perhaps not as confident and give in. Although, we didn’t know what we were doing either, but for each home we generated our own estimate of what it was worth to us, based on past sales, current condition, etc. I guess he assumed, as first time buyers, we would just blindly do whatever he said. Because we were first time buyers, we also hired our own real estate lawyer to review all the paperwork before closing.

    Anyhow, other questions you may want to ask – if you’re buying used, ask to see monthly utility bills for the past year – if new, then ask what energy efficient features will the home have. Personally, I would rather talk downpayment and other money details with the lender, not the realtor. And make sure the schools are good. I don’t know whether or not you have children, but, even if you don’t, a better school district will help the home’s value. Obviously, make sure the neighboring homes look kept up. I could keep going…but then it’s just really long!

    Best of luck! Eager to read about what lucky house will get to be your first home!

  • Thank you for the tips Penny, this is great information. Since this post we have gone on visits to two different developments with our agent and she was fantastic – at least I think she was. She interacted with the other agents and is taking care of all the follow up so we can put in an offer. What she lacked in the searching, she more than makes up in negotiation.

  • I think these are all really god questions to ask your real estate agent when buying your first home. I also think by asking the questions listed above, your agent can help you make the best possible decision for you in the home-buying process based on your situation. The article even mentions that a real estate agent can help you get an idea of the type of home you can afford based on your wants and market availability by asking the right questions. Are there any other questions you’d suggest asking an agent when buying a home?

  • No matter where you find your agent––whether online or through a family member––it’s important to conduct your own interview. I think these are really good questions but it again depends on various things. Find an agent whose philosophy and methods align with your preferences.

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