Questions to Ask Your Tallahassee Realtor Before You Commit
Buying a home is probably the biggest investment you have planned, and everyone has an opinion of what to do and which Tallahassee Realtor to work with and where to live, etc. They mean well. Often their information is dated, or not relevant for our market, and/or what worked for them or was true when they bought but may not be an option now. Each family is unique, and their strengths (and weaknesses) will, in part, determine how they negotiate their sale. Having an experienced Tallahassee Realtor on your side guiding you through the process can save you thousands in dollars and hours in searching. Here are some questions to consider asking during that first meeting and before you commit to work with the Tallahassee real estate agent.
1. How long have you been a Tallahassee Realtor?
We cringe when a seller tells us they are going to list their house with a family member who just got their license. Take it from someone who reads the research in academic journals – experience matters to both sellers and buyers. They say it takes at least a thousand hours of practice to become proficient in an activity. Do you want to be part of an agent’s learning curve? Another note here… not all agents are Realtors. Tallahassee real estate agents who become Realtors agree to abide by a code of ethics. Those who are not Realtors have not agreed to abide by a code of ethics.
2. What did you do before you were an Tallahassee real estate agent?
It seems almost all the agents in Tallahassee were something else before they were real estate agents. There are a handful of Realtors in Tallahassee who grew up within families that were also in the business of selling homes. Most have had previous careers before getting their real estate license. There is no right or wrong answer here, but do you really want a former disc jockey representing you with his lack of negotiating experience or life skills?
3. How many Tallahassee area homes did you sell last year?
This is a question to really get at that experience you want to represent you. Agents could have had their license for years and not actually sell any homes. The average agent sells approximately 12 homes a year. If the agent sells significantly more than this, they may not have the time to give you and your contract the attention it needs or, you may be handed off to someone you haven’t even met. If they sell way less, they may not have the experience you need to protect your investment.
4. Do you work with both Tallahassee buyers and sellers?
Negotiations should not be a zero-sum game with a clear winner and clear loser. Negotiations should be about finding mutually satisfying terms and conditions. An agent who works with both will be able to help you ‘get into the head’ of the other side and offer perspective and have alternative approaches that have worked in the past. Some agents advocate for specializing and call themselves marketing experts. We have found that working with buyers and actually listening to what they have to say about the Tallahassee homes we see gives us huge insight for our sellers.
5. Are you a full-time or part-time Tallahassee Realtor?
Many part-time agents are great people and have wonderful hearts and intentions. However, it is frustrating as agents to have to wait for part-timer Tallahassee Realtor to have a break at work so that we can ask a question or present an offer. As frustrating as this is to professional Tallahassee Realtors, it can be much worse, and nerve wracking, anxiety creating for customers. If being able to get in touch with your Realtors quickly is important to you, think about hiring a full-time agent.
6. On average, how long does it take you to get a Tallahassee buyer to the closing table? Or how long does it take you to sell a Tallahassee home?
Some agents specialize in looking at homes or hosting open houses. We specialize in selling homes. We match our speed with your motivation. Once you are ready to write an offer, it should not take more than 60 days to find your home, negotiate it and any repairs and close on that home. Have a deadline to meet? In January this year, we met a couple moving to Tallahassee from Palm Beach. They told us they wanted to be moved by mid-July. They also had a house to sell and wanted to close on both on the same day. We are happy to report that they did just that on July 15. Part of it was our experience and making sure everyone was in on the communication loop. The first time we met, we set up a timeline and a checklist and that couple did what was asked. Because of this, we met their deadline.
7. How many customers are you currently working with?
There is no correct answer to this one either. If you are the only customer an agent is working with, they may become so desperate for that commission at the closing table they may not take your situation and priorities into consideration like they should. On the other hand, if the agent has too many customers, they may not give you the individual attention you deserve. Tallahassee Realtors who have been selling real estate for years will have checklists and know how to protect your investment.
8. Do you have references I can call?
Beware hiring anyone that cannot offer references. I once interviewed for a job that required 25 references and at least one set of references had to be five deep – meaning they know at least five of your other references. That was fun, and while you do not need that many references, beware the agent that does not have any to offer. Funny thing, we hire people for what they know and then want to fire them for who they are… pick someone you can trust and talk to and feel comfortable around.
9. What is your experience in my price point?
If you hire that luxury agent who usually works in the $500,000 price range and you are looking in the $300,000 range, they may not make your home search as important as it should be. Likewise, if you are buying the luxury home and the agent has never handled a transaction at that level, you may be missing that experience you need to protect your investments. Let’s be honest though. This is not Miami, and Tallahassee Realtors are some of the kindest people in the state. Tallahassee only sells around 80 million dollar (or over) homes a year. Our median homes sale in 2022 is near $250,000.
10. Will you be handing me off to a team member at any point?
Every agent needs a team they can rely on to help get customers to the closing table. Some Tallahassee Realtors only work with sellers and some are strictly buyer’s agents. There are many productive teams in Tallahassee, and from experience, we can say it gets confusing quickly trying to figure out who you need to ask what questions to and who gets what email. Our agents find that confusing and want to spare you the drama. Working with us, you have one agent the whole way through. There is a team at their back, but whomever you pick to work with is your first and only go-to during the whole process and afterwards.
11. How do you as a Tallahassee Realtor help buyers compete in this strong sellers’ market?
This comes from experience. There is no one single answer to this one. Each buyer and family are unique, as is each house and seller. The things that work in one situation may hurt you in another. What you should look for is that your agent has an idea of what your strengths are and how to help address any issues that concern you.
12. Do you work evenings or weekends?
There are Tallahassee Realtors that do not answer their phones outside of regular business hours. It can be incredibly aggravating to have to wait until Tuesday over a long weekend to write an offer or submit one to a seller. It seems to me that agents not working nights and weekends is the equivalent of tax accountants vacationing during the first two weeks of April. In this super competitive market, even waiting an hour can make a difference in whether you have a chance to see a house or lose it to another buyer.
13. What is the best way to get in contact with you?
If you want to hear a voice tell you news, and your agent is a millennial that only texts, that may not be the best fit to represent you. Likewise, if you prefer the quickness of a text and your agent prefers emails, it can feel like a mismatch quickly. We communicate with you how you prefer and as often as you prefer.
14. How do you get along with other Tallahassee Realtors?
There was a Facebook post on a private real estate agent training page (with thousands of experienced agents across the country) asking whether the relationship between the listing agent and selling (buyer’s) agent matters. Within a couple hours there were hundreds of responses and all of them said that the relationship impacts the outcome. Tallahassee is a laid-back town, but even the locals have their limits. Those Tallahassee Realtors who approach negotiations as a winner take all game get punished in the long run. It may seem like a good idea to choose the young ambitious maverick real estate agent, until you get three low-ball offers in a row. You do not want to get hit in the crossfire between long running feuds. Pick an agent that gets along with most everyone and who serves their Tallahassee Realtor community.
A Final Thought
We trust you find our content helpful, and when you are ready that you will reach out to us. In the meantime, check out our seller’s page for more information on getting your house ready. Or check out our buyer’s page for more information on how to make your next move an easy one. You can also check out more information about Tallahassee’s neighborhoods on our zip code map page.