Questions to Ask Your Realtor

Q and A with the Harris Team

     When choosing a lawyer, doctor, or other professional it is important to consider certifications and other qualifications. A realtor is no exception. However, oftentimes people interested in buying or selling a home are not sure exactly what questions to ask to assure that they are receiving top-tier service. As you may know, the difference between an experienced agent and an underqualified one may be tens of thousands of dollars in your pocket. This article is designed for the potential buyer or seller to guide them through the selection process as well as present the certifications and accolades of David and Vicki Harris and Alain Pinel at large.

Certifications, Qualifications, and Experience

What certifications and qualifications do you hold?

Agents and brokers alike are required by law to possess a license permitting them to represent a  buyer or seller in each state. However, there are many designations and affiliations beyond the license itself that represent years of education, experience, and specialization within the industry. When choosing a real estate agent, be sure to verify not only that they are licensed but inquire as to what other designations and certifications they carry. Choose an agent or broker that carries certifications relevant to your needs- this may be a Certified Negotiation Expert, Senior Real Estate Specialist, or even a Resort and Second Home Specialist. Before meeting with your potential agent you can learn more about them by examining their website, online reviews, or LinkedIN profile.

David and Vicki Harris possess more than a half-dozen combined certifications and specializations within the Real Estate industry alone. In addition to a broker license, the Harris team carries the following certifications: Seller Representative Specialist, Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource, e-Pro designation for internet professionals, Certified Negotiation Expert, Senior Real Estate Specialist, Resort and Second Home Specialist, and more.

Do you have experience in any related industries?

Typically the best agents have had experience in other related fields such as home improvement, property management, or investing. This additional experience lends them knowledge on how to get the most for your home, assure that you purchase an appreciating asset, and more. Inquire about their career before they entered real estate and verify they are a full-time agent. The sale or purchase of a home is a process, and many things may come up along the way. The best agent is one that will be able to foresee any issues long before they appear and handle any situation that may arise such as convoluted contingencies or shifting market conditions.

The Harris team has more than 45 years combined experience in many related industries including property management, sales management, customer relations, home improvement and remodeling, and marketing. They have championed remodelling homes, conversions, and have even lectured at universities across the country including the University of Arizona, San Francisco State, UC Berkeley, and more. From investor relations in commercial shopping centers to remodelling large residential properties, the Harris team has tackled just about any project imaginable in the world of real estate.

What can you tell me about your real estate company?

Perhaps second only to the skills and experience of the agents themselves, the real estate company itself is a major factor in determining the quality of service you will receive. The company contributes by creating presence, technological and marketing backing, a network of agents and represented clients, and much more. Larger companies typically offer a larger marketing presence, better word of mouth, streamlined processes, and better trained agents. However, this is not always the case. Review the company website and any reviews you can find to get a good idea of how the company does business.

Alain Pinel is the fifth largest company in the nation by sales volume with more than $10 Billion in closed sales volume per year. It is also the #1 privately-owned, independent residential real estate company in California. Accolades continue to pour in, as Alain Pinel was voted the Best in the Bay from San Jose to San Francisco in real estate by SF Weekly and the Mercury News in 2010, 2013, and 2015. Offering everything from cutting edge research to state-of-the-art marketing methodologies, Alain Pinel continues to pioneer the way residential real estate is purchased and sold in the Bay Area.

What can you tell me about your strategy for buying/selling a home?

Agents should be prepared to discuss everything from local research and economics to a detailed marketing plan with you in the first meeting. Properly trained agents will be a library of knowledge about local markets including pricing, trends, average time to close, what buyers want, and how much sellers hope to receive. Each agent should also be able to articulate a detailed marketing plan with a variety of outlets from print to social media and more. In the modern era, signage and open houses are hardly enough to assure the sale of a home in a timely manner. Discuss plans with potential agents to guarantee that you get the right price at the right time in the right place.

The Harris team evaluates the needs, timelines, and individual situation of each potential client before formulating a fully-customized plan. Able to tackle any tangent task from staging to remodels, David and Vicki will be sure to take any avenue necessary to find the home of your dreams for the right price. Relying on years of experience and advanced certifications, the Harris team will provide expert insight to meet your goals. Section Requires Editing. Individual plans and details to be discussed 7/7

Additional Questions and Considerations

The below questions will provide you with insight about your home, the purchase or sale process, and more about what to expect moving forward. Consider asking your agent these questions once you have verified their expertise and experience. Each question will have a unique answer based around what you are looking for and current local market conditions.

What is the best price I can get for my home, based on it’s features, square footage, location, and other factors?

What homes can I purchase with X amount in Y area? Be sure to have prepared a list of must-haves to guide your agent.

How long does it take you to close a purchase or sale? How does that compare to the market at large? Average times to close will give you an idea of how long it takes the agent to finalize a transaction. Beware of agents ‘guaranteeing’ a close in a very short amount of time, as this is largely determined by the individual market. Currently there is a shortage of fresh listings in the Bay Area marketplace, creating a seller’s market. This may mean that finding the ideal home for purchase may take longer than ideal whereas a sale is likely to close in less than 30 days above listing price.
How far above/below asking price do you typically close? This will give you a rough estimate of the individual agent’s negotiation and staging skills along with the fervor of the current market. As of July 2015 the Bay Area is currently closing well above asking price. However, be careful not to overprice as it will push qualified buyers to other properties.

Can you recommend providers for services such as mortgage acquisition, repairs, and anything else that may come up?

The purchase or sale of a home is likely to include additional peripheral services. If you are aware that your home may need some sprucing up prior to sale, be sure to speak with your agent about it. Alain Pinel works closely with a network of top-tier service providers from lending to contracting to help close your transaction in a timely manner.
Not all agents are created equal, but the questions in this article are sure to assist any prospective buyer or seller narrow down potential agents to the best fit for you and your home. Look for an agent that is quick to respond without over-selling, and that has the certifications and experience relevant to completing your transaction.

Written by Gregory Lyons in Association with Harris Team Real Estate

1753 Blue Lake Court, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Our clients say we are:
Highly Ethical
and Impeccable Reputation

FL DRE License Number: BK3429346 (FL)