26 Most Common Real Estate Questions

January 7th, 2021
26 Most Common Real Estate Questions

As a real estate agent, you are guiding home buyers and sellers through the process of selling or purchasing a home. Both will have plenty of questions for you. Part of being a successful real estate agent is building trust with your clients, which you have likely already built through the tenant screening process.

To further develop that trust, an agent needs to be able to answer all inquiries and alleviate their clients’ concerns. You can also support clients by translating real estate slogans and lingo. Below, you will find some of the most common real estate questions directed to you from home buyers and sellers. Use this guide to help you confidently answer clients’ questions.

Table of Contents:

Real Estate Questions to Expect from Home Sellers

1. How should I prepare my house before selling it?

First impressions matter in business, but especially in real estate. Anyone walking through a house or touring it virtually will be looking for ways to pass or negotiate down on the price. You must help clients make sure that the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical system all work properly. Each room should look clean and decluttered with no overt damage insight.

2. Should I order a home inspection?

Getting a pre-sale home inspected is never a bad idea, especially to get your client the best price for their home. Some homebuyers will feel uncomfortable purchasing a house without seeing a home inspection. Many will often hire their own inspector. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

3. How long will it take to sell my home?

Once the house is on the market, it may take anywhere from four to six weeks to sell. However, if the market is fairly hot, a seller could see their house off the market within a week. On the flip side, if there is a lull in the market or issues arise such as negotiation, lack of exposure, or house conditions then the property can sit on the market for months.

4. What is the selling price of my home?

The selling price of a house fluctuates depending on multiple factors. The most common ones are the neighborhood and what similar-sized houses are currently selling for. Also, look at the age and condition. Do major repairs need to be done? If so, that might lower the property. And again, the market matters. Like everything else, home prices vary depending on supply and demand. Your job as a realtor is to best inform your clients about these different factors and accurately list their house.

5. Is there a reason my home’s assessed value differs compared to the market value?

A public tax assessor gives the assessed value for a property. This assessment typically occurs yearly for taxation purposes. The fair market value is an agreed-upon price between a willing buyer and seller. There is usually a difference between the assessed value and market value. For homeowners, the assessed value is a double-edged sword. Because, if their annual assessed value increased then their yearly taxes will also be raised. On the flip side, when selling a house it can help boost its market value.

House on left with silver coin on the front and monitor with graph on the right

6. What is an agent’s commission fee?

In a real estate transaction, the agent is usually paid by the seller via commission as opposed to a flat free. Typically, a real estate commission fee is 5–6% of the home’s final sale price. In many cases, both the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent split the commission fee 50/50. Both receiving 2.5–3%. As a broker or agent, you can use this easy to use real estate commission calculator to determine your commission fee. Also, know that some real estate agencies will work at a discounted rate of around 3% or for a flat service fee. The discounted rate and flat fee can be cheaper, but can also result in a lower quality of service.

7. Are real estate prices negotiable?

Yes, almost everything in real estate is negotiable. Typically, there is a difference between a home’s list price and how much it actually sells for. The current market’s saturation will determine how much wiggle room there is for negotiation. If you’re on the buyer’s side, expect the house to be able to be purchased for less if there is a lower demand than supply in the market. Vice versa, if you’re on the seller’s side expect it to usually sell for less. That being said, you never know who else is house hunting. Sometimes people will swoop in and offer the exact asking price.

Real Estate Questions to Expect from Home Buyers

8. What is the first step in buying a home?

The absolute first step for your client is to get approved for a mortgage. Without being approved for a mortgage it will be quite difficult, if not impossible, to purchase a new home. If a potential client reaches out to you, have them go through the tenant screening process and then guide them to a reputable mortgage corporation and advisor that you trust.

9. Should I sell my current property before buying a new one?

This is a tricky question, and the answer primarily depends on one’s funds and ability to find temporary housing. If a client needs more equity to purchase a new home or meet a mortgage plan, then it is best to sell one’s current home before purchasing their next one. That being said, they will most likely need temporary housing at a friend or relatives, or by arranging a short-term rental elsewhere.

10. Should I do a home inspection?

Yes, either order a home inspection for your client or have them order one. A home inspection is one of the most vital steps when purchasing a property. A professional inspector has a keen eye for how well the house has been taken care of. The inspectors can comment on structural and cosmetic issues, along with any local code issues. Moreover, a home inspector will help you better determine the home’s value.

11. Should I do a final walk-through?

A final walk-through is not required but highly recommended. Final walk-throughs give buyers a chance to make sure nothing has changed since their initial inspection or previous visits. Also, if repairs were requested as part of the sale offer then a follow-up visit ensures all repairs are done according to the agreement and contract.

12. How does earnest money work?

Earnest money is similar to a deposit when renting a place. It is made in good faith to demonstrate to the seller that the buyer’s offer is legitimate. As a real estate agent, you should ask your client for the earnest money as a deposit in the form of a check or cash. The amount is usually 1-2% of the selling price and essentially takes the property off the market. The money also gives the buyer extra time to conduct a title search, get an inspection and property appraisal, and financing.

Right hand holding a cashier's check and pointing

13. How many houses should I view before purchasing one?

The number of houses your client wants to view can depend greatly. However, it is much easier today to connect with your clients virtually. You can now see houses online by taking virtual tours or seeing detailed photographs. So, you can help your client by giving them access to your online systems so that they can view as many properties as they desire. Once a list is narrowed down, you can visit properties with them or on their behalf.

14. What happens if I decide to back out of buying a house?

If your client gets cold feet about a property that is okay. Sometimes, they have second thoughts or want to go in a different direction. Know that your client will have to forfeit the earnest money, which again, is around 1–2% of the home’s sale price.

15. What is a mortgage and how does it work?

A mortgage is a type of loan to finance a property. The majority of people are not wealthy enough to purchase a house in total. Thus, a mortgage serves as a secure loan that comes with a fixed interest rate and gets paid off over 15 or 30 years. If need be, your client can refinance their mortgage and payments in the future.

16. What is the process of using an escrow entail?

An escrow is a term that refers to a neutral third party hired to handle the exchange of money, property transaction, and related documents. The escrow holds the money and documents in a trust until all terms and conditions of the sale are satisfied. When depositing the earnest money, it is wise to use an escrow account.

Screening Type Questions from Potential Clients to Agents

Black women asking question to man writing on a clipboard

17. Are you familiar with this neighborhood?

Communities and neighborhoods differ greatly in terms of types of homes, amenities nearby, or access to popular highways and roads. Before hiring you, a client might want to know if you have either sold or helped purchase homes in a specific neighborhood. It is a nice advantage to have experience in the neighborhood in question.

18. Have you sold houses in this price range?

Agents should know the national and local real estate market well. If you have sold in a certain price range then you have more expertise and knowledge about clients’ needs and what is a fair price. However, if you have not sold within a certain price range, rely on your team members and network to better understand the nuances of a specific market.

19. Are you a part-time or full-time agent?

A part-time agent might take a lower commission fee. However, they might not be as experienced or have the time to attend multiple open houses or deliver when you need it. If you’re a full-time or part-time agent, make sure you’re clear about expectations early on with the client and what your weekly schedule is.

20. Can I see your real estate license?

Sometimes clients will ask to see your license. Make sure you are up-to-date on all state and local training and that you have the credentials to practice as a licensed real estate agent or broker. Be prepared to deliver proof of your license upon request.

21. Do I work with you directly or your team?

Building trust with your client is key for any successful agent. If you’re working for a large real estate agency then make sure that a smaller team that contacts your clients. Introduce each team member early on in the client communication and onboarding process.

22. How many sellers do you currently represent?

With this inquiry, the client’s main concern is that you might not have the time to meet their personal needs, especially if you’re juggling too many listings. Just reassure your client that they are always a high priority. Again, be clear about the process and expectations early on.

23. What are your listings’ average days on the market?

Home sellers are often interviewing and in talks with multiple real estate agencies and agents before deciding on one. They might choose you based on how long your listings are on the market. At the heart of the matter, they want to know how long it will take for you to sell their house. Reassure these prospective clients that you will work hard for them to get a fair market value price.

24. What is your list-to-price ratio?

The list-to-price ratio is the difference between what the house was listed as and actually sold for. It is a good idea to keep a quickly accessible log of your previous listings and their list-to-price ratio. A strong list-to-price ratio often depends on the market and location, but you ideally want to be above 90%. Ironically, you do not want to be well over a 100% ratio — being this high over usually signifies an underpricing of homes to pad the ratio.

25. What is the best way to contact you?

As a realtor, communication should be one of your top skills. When purchasing a home people want the absolute best service. You should be in touch almost 24/7 and if you can’t get back to a client or are out of the office, make sure your team has systems in place to support your clients and promptly answer any of their questions or concerns.

26. Do you have a recommendation network?

An experienced listing agent should be able to recommend other real estate professionals often found in the industry. These professionals might consist of an attorney who practices in real estate, a mortgage advisor, general contractor or handyman, moving companies, professional home stagers, and cleaning services. Part of being in the real estate industry means using your vast network to assist your clients.

As you meet and interact with current and prospective clients, use this guide to answer their most common real estate questions. Remember, developing and maintaining trust with your homebuyer or home seller is pivotal for a successful relationship and transactional process.

If you are still unsure about some of the terms used, check out this terms guide for real estate professionals. With your newfound knowledge, you are now ready to close some deals and help make your customers’ homeowning dreams come true! If you also have clients who rent, take a look at RentSpree’s useful rental application.