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I've found that there are some agents who get offended that a potential buyer client might have the audacity to actually interview them before actually deciding to work with them.
To me, I'm always applying for the job as someone's real estate agent. How are buyers going to know if I'm compentent or not? I don't take it for granted that most people will automatically know that I am "Tim Maitski, Highly Successful Real Estate Agent".
So to help buyers out in the interview process, I've taken time to answer some questions that buyers seem to want to know. To some agents, this must seem like a big waste of time, but to me it's part of getting my next job. Yes, being a real estate agent is a "job". Maybe if you get enough jobs you can call it a career. But a career is only as good as each individual job along the way. I always take a minute to remind myself that it might be just one job out of many that I do every year but to the buyer, it's a huge deal and it's one of the most significant things happening in their life.
Here's a list of questions I found on the Internet along with my answers to each.
1. How long have you been licensed?I've been a licensed agent since June of 1999. It might be prudent to check it out yourself on the Georgia Real Estate Commission site. My license # is 208281. You'll see that I also got my broker's license in 2007. I don't really want to be a broker though. I took the training as continuing education. A lot of the training was how to run an office of agents and how to reduce a broker's liability. It's really not training on how to get the best deal for you, the buyer.
2. Do you work in real estate full time?Yes I do. I really don't see how you can do it well on a part time basis.
3. What percentage of your business is working with buyers?Probably about 80-90% of my business is working with buyers. I also help sellers but my internet marketing tends to attract buyers. I do prefer buyers because it's like going shopping every day. Who doesn't like to shop?
4. How familiar are you with the area where I want to purchase?Atlanta is a huge area and it would be very difficult for one agent to cover all areas well. I live in Sandy Springs and am very familiar with most of the northern part of Atlanta which includes Dunwoody, Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming, Norcross, Marietta, Smyrna, Vinings, Chamblee, Tucker, Buckhead, Midtown. If you are interested in areas that I'm not too familiar with, I will refer you to another great agent in my network of agents which I've developed over the years.
5. Do you have references from other buyers who have used your services?I think it's a good idea to check references. I have no problem giving you the names of some of my most recent clients so that you can call them up and ask them questions about their experience with me. I have a few video testimonials on my website that you might want to view also.
6. Do you have an association membership that has a published code of ethics or standards of practice? If so do please list. If so do you abide by these ethics?I'm a member of the National Association of REALTORS which allows me to call myself a REALTOR. They have a code of ethics that all members agree to abide by. But most agents belong to this association so don't feel that it is any kind of big distinction. All you really have to do is pay your annual dues and take a 3 hour ethics class every four years.
7. Do you think foreclosures, bank-owned properties or for-sale-by-owner properties would be appropriate for my home search?I'll show you any homes that you want. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. I'll try to give you the pros and cons and you can decide for yourself.
8. How often will you supply me with properties that meet my criteria?I have a great home search tool on my website that many people find to be really helpful. You can set up automatic email alerts for homes that meet your criteria. I also can set up an automatic system from my MLS that will do the same thing. I usually set up a special search in the MLS for each client of mine and I personally scan the new properties that come on the market everyday. When something good comes up, I email it to you.
9. How will you send a list of them to me?The MLS allows me to send you an email that has a link to the detailed listing sheets. I can also email you the tax records for individual properties. I also can send you an "archive" report that will show you exactly when a listing was put in the system and exactly when they made price changes and status changes.
10. Will you point out the negative aspects of each property as well as the positive aspects?Of course. I'll tell you the good, the bad and the ugly. There's never going to be a perfect home. Each home is a bag of problems. I try to help you recognize what might be in that bag of problems. I look at it from the perspective of eventually having to sell it for you when you are ready to move again. I don't want to sugarcoat everything when you are buying and then tell you a different story when you are ready to sell.
11. Please tell me how you represent buyers to help them get the best price and terms? The biggest thing I do is to help you educate yourself on value. We'll see a lot of homes which will allow you to be able to recongnize the homes that stand out from the rest. Then we'll do a comparative market analysis in order to find out what similar homes are actually selling for. We'll gather tax information and listing history information and I'll try to find out some stuff about the sellers. I'll advise you on how best to make your offer as attractive to the seller as possible. The best way to negotiate is to have 3 good choices and be ready to walk away if you don't get the price and terms that you desire.
12. Can you help me with the loan process?I have a few preferred lenders who I trust to give my client good advice, service and price. I'm not an expert in mortgages but I can help you with comparisons and with the questions you need to ask. On my preferred lender page I outline how I would go about shopping for a mortgage.
13. Can you provide a list of lenders, home inspectors, insurance agents and other professionals to recommend?Over the years, I've come across many very good service providers. I love to share my list. But like anything, check them out yourself and shop around.
14. How do you get paid (percentage, before, after sell, etc.)?I get paid only at closing. If you don't buy a home, I don't make a cent. So be aware that I am motivated to get a transaction closed. But I am not a desperate agent where any one transaction is going to make or break me. My fee comes from a split of the listing agent's commission, usually it's around 3% of the purchase price. If you would deal directly with the listing agent, they would usually get to keep that amount for themselves.
15. Do you have a written agreement? If so what is the duration of that agreement?Yes, it's called the Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement. It spells out both my responsibilities along with your responsibilites. Many buyers have the fear of signing something like this because they don't want to be locked in with an agent who turns out to be a loser. We can make the duration of the agreement any length of time that you are comfortable with. You can actually cancel the agreement at any time you wish. But there is a clause that says that if you cancel and then buy a home that I had showed you, I will be due a commission for that.
16. What if I see a for-sale-by-owner house on my own? That is an item we will address in the Buyer's Agency Agreement. Most for-sale-by-owners offer a buyer's agent commission. For the few that don't, we can work out some sort of arrangement. Being an independent RE/MAX agent allows me to set my own policies on fees.
17. How would you represent me as a buyer client for properties listed with your firm? RE/MAX Greater Atlanta has hundreds of agents so there is a chance that you might want to buy a home that is listed with another RE/MAX Greater Atlanta agent. In that case, we specify that we will do "designated dual agency". That means that my broker assigns me to represent you and the listing agent to represent the seller. That gets you pretty much to the same representation that you would have in any other situation.
18. Will you change your relationship with me to "dual agency", "designated agent", or "transactional broker" Yes, we will change our relationship to "designated dual agency"
19. How might that affect your ability to negotiate on my behalf for those properties? This really won't affect negotiations at all. I will keep all your information confidential just as I would in a regular agency status.
Please email me any other questions you might have. Your questions help me understand what buyers are thinking about and what they are concerned with.
Remember, I'm looking for the job of being your real estate agent. If you have an opening, I'd love to interview for it.
Tim Maitski has been a full time real estate agent in the Atlanta area since 1999.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.