Important Things to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

Are you preparing to buy or sell a home? Working with a real estate agent is highly recommended. To ensure a smooth, low-stress experience, choose your agent wisely. Here are seven questions for your real estate agent to help you during the vetting process.

How long have you been a real estate agent?

Realtors must complete training and pass a licensing exam. Still, on-the-job experience is vital for mastering the trade. Ask the agent how many years of industry experience they have under their belt. It’s particularly beneficial if the agent has worked in the specific neighborhood where you’re looking to buy or sell.

How many of your clients are buyers? How many are sellers?

Many agents specialize in one side of the transaction or the other. This is perfectly fine—just make sure that if the roster is unbalanced, it leans toward the services you’re looking for.

What is your average list-to-sale ratio?

This is one of those questions to ask a real estate agent when selling a home. The list-to-sale ratio reveals whether the agent regularly sells homes at, below, or above the asking price. Knowing this number can be useful for your marketing and price negotiation processes.

What marketing tools do you use?

Your agent should be able to tell you without hesitation the strategies they’ll use to sell your property quickly and at the right price. If you’re a buyer, you may not think you need marketing tools, but catching the seller’s attention is vital in a competitive market. Find out how the agent plans to help your offer stand out.

How many clients do you have right now?

Carefully consider the answer you receive. Too few clients could mean the agent is inexperienced or only working part-time. But too many clients could mean the agent doesn’t have time to devote to you. The goal is to strike the perfect balance.

Can you provide references?

To help you know what to expect from a realtor when buying, consider calling their references. If the agent can’t provide you with a list of satisfied clients you can contact, proceed with caution.

How do your fees and commissions work?

Typically, buyers don’t pay agent commission fees, so this is a listing agreement question that sellers should ask. The percentage varies by agent and market, but commissions are typically between 5 and 6 percent of the home’s sale price. After the transaction takes place, the seller pays the fees to their broker, and then the buyer’s and seller’s agents split the commission.

With these tips for choosing a real estate agent, you’re well on your way to finding the right realtor! At Vutech-Ruff we boast a team of highly qualified, licensed agents, along with a large referral network to help your home buying or selling experience go as smoothly as possible. Feel free to view our current listings and open house schedule. You can also contact us online or call 614-897-0618 to speak directly with one of our agents.

Renting vs. Buying

Owning a home is the quintessential American dream. Yet just over one-third of Millennials (people between 25 and 34 years old) own a home. Is this age bracket missing out, or are there some hidden benefits to renting? Consider the advantages of buying vs. renting a home to help you figure out what’s best for your situation.

Renting vs. Buying Pros and Cons

Buying Pros

  • Good investment opportunity
  • No landlord
  • Greater stability
  • Possible tax benefits (if you claim itemized deductions)
  • Freedom to update the home as you please

Buying Cons

  • Down payment may be needed
  • Potential to lose money if home values decline
  • Extra maintenance and repair expenses

Renting Pros

  • Low upfront costs
  • Freedom to move at your leisure
  • No maintenance or repair responsibilities
  • No property taxes

Renting Cons

  • The landlord can raise your rent or sell the property out from under you
  • Rent money doesn’t build equity
  • Extra pet rent may apply

The Cost of Renting vs. the Cost of Buying a Home

Different costs are associated with renting vs. buying a home. If you rent, you can expect to pay:

  • Security deposit (often equal to one month’s rent)
  • Rent (varies by market)
  • Renter’s insurance (lower cost than homeowner’s insurance)
  • Pet rent (if you have an animal in your home)

If you buy, the cost of ownership includes:

  • Down payments can vary between 5-20+ especially in urban “redevelopment” areas
  • Closing costs (about 3 percent of the purchase price)
  • Mortgage (includes principal and interest)
  • Property taxes (vary by location)
  • Homeowner’s Association fees (not always applicable)
  • Homeowner’s insurance (higher cost than renter’s insurance)
  • Private mortgage insurance (if you put down less than 20 percent on a conventional mortgage)
  • Home repairs, maintenance, and renovations (budget 1 percent of the home’s value per year)

Using a rent calculator helps you determine when the higher upfront cost of buying a home breaks even with the cost of renting. Depending on the market, the average break-even point is five years. This means if you buy a house and live there for at least five years, you can expect to save money compared to renting.

The Final Verdict

Clearly, renting vs. buying a home doesn’t have a clear-cut answer. It is a personal decision based on your current financial situation. However, if you plan to live in one place for a long time, it could be a wise investment. Plus, you’ll enjoy the chance to make the house your own as you invest in it personally, not just financially.

Are you ready to take the plunge? Vutech-Ruff is here to help. We are a top-producing team of real estate agents serving home buyers and sellers throughout the Columbus, Ohio area. We have over 60 years of combined experience in the real estate profession, enabling us to navigate the sometimes tedious, daunting, and complex process of buying or selling a home. To learn more about becoming a homeowner, please call 614-897-0618 or contact us online.