10 questions to help choose the agent who will work best

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It's November and, while our paradise is beginning to cool down, the Lowcountry real estate market is still pretty hot. So, if you are thinking about selling or buying a home, here's some food for thought to help you choose the agent who will work best for you.

Here are 10 questions to ask the agents that you are interviewing to help you decide which agent to hire:

1. Is the agent full-time and available on evenings and weekends? In this business, agents should be available every day. If they need to take time off, they should have a designated agent cover for them.

2. What experience does the agent have in this specific market? Hopefully he or she has sold homes in this area in the past.

3. Who will the agent represent - the seller, the buyer or both? Ask for agency disclosure information.

4. To what extent are the agent's fees negotiable? Usually you get what you pay for, so know what services you are getting (e.g., professional photography, free home warranty, enhanced marketing, etc.)

5. Does the agent have a proven track record? Find out how many homes the agent has listed and sold over the past year or two.

6. How does the agent bring prospective buyers to Bluffton or Hilton Head to see your home? Look for a written marketing plan and real estate brokerage that generates a lot of buyer leads.

7. How does the agent determine a realistic price range for the home you are selling or buying? A knowledgeable agent will know the market and price suggestions will be supported by sound analyses.

8. If you are a seller, how will the real estate agent add value to your home, so that your home will sell faster and for a higher price? A very good question to ask!

9. Should you ask for references? Yes, you should. Experiences of current or former clients (sellers and buyers) can be very helpful.

10. How is the agent looking out for your best interests? It is to be expected that agents will look out for their clients' best interests, but find out how your agent can help you realize your real estate goals.

Larry Stoller is the broker-owner and Realtor with Real Estate Five of the Lowcountry. Larry@RealEstateFive.com or RealEstate-Five.com

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