Buying your home may just be the biggest purchase you make in your lifetime, so choosing the right real estate agent is crucial to having a smooth experience and getting the home you want. When you’re house hunting, it’s helpful to know what to ask a realtor when buying a home. There are questions you can ask that will give insight into the realtor’s experience and understanding of the Austin real estate market before you build a partnership.

How long does it take to buy a home?

 

The timeline for house hunting is taking, on average, a little more than three months. To avoid dragging out the process for any longer than that, be sure to inquire if your potential real estate agent works in the field full or part-time. According to the National Association of Realtors, 23% of realtors work on a part-time basis. If you’re on a strict deadline (needing to get into a new home because your current house has sold), or if you simply want to complete the process as quickly as possible, you’ll want to know how much time your agent can dedicate to your house hunt.

How will we communicate?

It’s not uncommon for a real estate agent to have multiple clients. Some agents represent buyers and sellers, making their time even more sparse for one-on-one meetings. Ask the realtor how often you’ll hear from her and the best way to stay in touch. Agents are often on the go, so email may be ideal. You may also want to ask how long it typically takes for the realtor to return a phone call or who will be your main point of contact in her absence.

What are your realtor fees?

 

The seller in a real estate deal is typically responsible for the realtor commission fee; however, some companies may tack on an additional fee for the seller or buyer. Before signing to work exclusively with an agent, walk through the agreement so you understand the financial responsibilities you’ll take on in the deal. Also, request an “Estimated Buyer’s Cost” report from your broker, that way you’ll have a more precise look at exactly who pays for what.

In what area or neighborhood do you typically work?

 

If there’s a particular part of Austin that you have your eye set on, finding an agent who is familiar with the area and may have an inside scoop on homes about to hit the market could work to your advantage. Make sure you have an experienced Austin realtor who is familiar with the fair market value of the homes you’re interested in so you get the best deal possible.

Will you represent the buyer and seller?

 

You’ll want to know if your real estate agent represents both the buyer and seller in a transaction. While there’s nothing wrong with hiring an agent who can serve both sides, it’s your right to know prior to entering the purchasing process. Having the information beforehand allows you to decide if you’re comfortable with the agent or would like to work with someone who supports you exclusively.