You’ve heard the radio ads. You’ve been solicited via mail, phone, and email. Perhaps you’ve even been hit up at home by a visitor at your door. How do you sift through the claims and promises, separate fact from fiction, and get the answers you need in order to determine which Realtor is the best one for you? Actually, it’s not that difficult. Here are a few simple questions you can ask your prospective real estate agents that will show you what they’re really made of and potentially save you months of misery, not to mention potential tax and legal troubles.
Is short sale the right option for my situation?
[styledbox type=”general” ] If the Realtor you’re interviewing answers this question quickly- without asking for further information about your particular situation, and without suggesting that you chat with a real estate attorney and CPA first- this could be a red flag. There are many options for homeowners who are in trouble financially and are either in danger of missing their house payment or are already delinquent. Short sale is not always the best option, and in some cases, it could actually be detrimental to the homeowner. There are tax and legal issues sitting like land mines out there. State and federal laws constantly change, and there is a lot of grey area in the legal community with regard to short sales. You need a Realtor who understands the relevant laws and tax issues associated with short sales, and who also understands that a Realtor cannot and should not be a replacement for an attorney or accountant. Your Realtor should be able to recommend a local real estate attorney and accountant who understand the legal and tax consequences associated with short sales.[/styledbox]
Do you personally negotiate your short sales, or does someone else do that for you?
[styledbox type=”general” ] Here is where the rubber meets the road! Many Realtors hire third-party companies that may be out-of-area, or even out-of-state. How invested in your best interest do you think an employee of a company that’s buried up to its eyeballs in files somewhere far away is going to be? You need a Realtor who does his or her own negotiations, or has partnered with a local Realtor specializing in the negotiation side of short sales. Why hire the middle man? [/styledbox]
How many short sales have you personally negotiated to a successful close?
[styledbox type=”general” ] In Central Oregon, short sales account for a large number of the real estate transactions that close. With his being the case, it should be no surprise that many Realtors have had to “resort” to short sales to make a living. Many of these Realtors manage to close a short sale or two before they discover how complex and labor-intensive they are and give up in disgust. You need a Realtor who has dozens of negotiations and successful closings under his or her belt…a Realtor who is doing short sales to help homeowners out of their financial distress, not “resorting” to short sales to make ends meet. [/styledbox]
Do you have direct contacts with the lender that services your loan?
[styledbox type=”general” ] Throughout the process of negotiating and closing a large volume of short sales, relationships with individuals at the lender banks are established. It’s in your best interest to hire a Realtor who understands the importance of those relationships, because they will become invaluable if your short sale negotiation gets dicey. [/styledbox]
Do buyers’ realtors trust and respect you and your ability to get short sales closed?
[styledbox type=”general” ] This question is similar to question #4, because it’s all about the importance of relationships. What often goes unnoticed is whether or not a Realtor is recognized by his/her peers as possessing all of the necessary characteristics we’ve discussed, with a proven track record to go with them. You need a Realtor who doesn’t just talk the talk, but actually walks the walk. You want the successful and busy buyers’ Realtors to respect and trust your Realtor and bring their buyers to your home. [/styledbox]
Don’t trust the car dealer who claims that the car has super-low miles and was only driven by a little old lady from Pasadena. Pop the hood. Get a Carfax report. Do your homework. Make sure your Realtor has worked with your lender more than once. Your prospective Realtor should make references available to you from an attorney, CPA, title company, past clients, and other Realtors. Don’t get a lemon.