9 Questions You Secretly Want to Ask Your Real Estate Agent
Working with a real estate agent is a unique experience. You invite this person into your home, get to know them, and spend a lot of time with them in the course of the sale.
Many of us were taught to be polite in such situations. We are courteous to our agent. We suppress our curiosities and let her do her work.
And then we turn to the Internet.
Here are the answers to 9 questions you secretly want to ask your real estate agent.
How Much Do You Make?
On average, real estate agents nationwide make $61,770 per year. But this figure varies widely with annual wages topping an average of $70,000 in some states.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top paying states for real estate agents are:
Rhode Island $84,280
Why Do You Make So Much?
Actually, your real estate agent is most likely not making $61,770. This is because the median salary nationwide is $48,690. This suggests that there are a large number of earners making less than the average and a few make much much more.
For context, the median annual salary for all occupations is $38,640.
Who Pays You?
Your real estate agent is paid by commission. In most cases, this commission is charged to the seller. So in a straightforward sense, the seller pays. But the argument can be made that a rational seller would include these costs in the price of the home. In this case, the buyer pays.
Can You Reduce the Commission?
By law, there is no fixed real estate commission, so what you pay your agent is absolutely negotiable. But you should note that there are times when you have more leverage to negotiate a reduction. These times include:
- When the home is very expensive
- When the home can be expected to sell quickly
- When the agent is representing the client on the sale but also the purchase of their next home
- When the homeowner does not need all services the agent offers
- When there are many alternatives
How Do I Know You Won’t Rip Me Off?
Your real estate agent is legally bound to represent your fiduciary interest. In addition, the commission structure ensures that what is best for you is best for your agent. In other words, the way for your agent to make more money is to ensure you are getting the highest possible payment for your home.
My Friend Is a Real Estate Agent. Should I Hire Her Instead?
There is no hard and fast rule against hiring your friend as your agent, but it may not be a good idea. This is because you may not be able to count on your friend for an unbiased opinion. Your working relationship may also tax your friendship. Finally, your friend will end up knowing your personal financial business. If you do choose your friend to represent you, you should ensure that she is actively engaged as an agent with several sales over the last year. Also, be sure that she has built some expertise that is advantageous for your home sale or purchase.
Can I Change Agents?
The short answer is yes, it is possible to change agents. The first thing you should do is read your agreement. If there is a cancellation or termination clause, this will provide the roadmap for how you may legally part ways with your agent. In many cases it will require that you end your work together with a written letter. It also may spell out a penalty for canceling the agreement early. If you decide on a change, you should inform your agent as soon as possible. This will help you move on quickly and your agent will appreciate that you don’t waste her time.
What Can You Do That I Can’t?
With the wealth of listings and information available on the Internet you may ask what great benefit do I get from working with an agent? The fact of the matter is that your agent has access to more information than you. As a member of the local MLS she can see historical data that is not generally available to the public. If she is a Realtor, she can also use RPR to gather school, demographic, neighborhood, and tax information. Your agent, also has marketing experience to help you advertise your property and attract buyers. Finally, your agent is not emotionally attached to your home, so she can give you an honest assessment of its value.
How Many Other Clients Are You Working With?
The number of clients an agent has will vary widely based on market, experience and time of year. Some agents may only be working with one or two clients. Others may juggle more than 10 at a time. It is certainly a valid question to ask your agent to get a sense of his availability and motivation.
So now you have the answers to 9 questions you secretly want to ask your real estate agent. But do not forget that communication is an important part of your working relationship. So if there is a question that you really want to ask your agent, just ask it.
Did you like this article? Leave a comment below. For more info about real estate agents, see What Personality Types Make the Best Real Estate Agents?