5 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent
Many future tenants or landlords prefer to go through the sites of private individuals to avoid agency fees. Many also think that being in direct contact with the owner of the rented property will save them the time of procedures in case of a claim or will guarantee them a quicker response if needed because there is no middleman.
If some agents in certain agencies are perhaps not exemplary on the side of the owners, they are also numerous not to be models of reactivity and honesty. Moreover, being a real estate agent is a real job: you can therefore ask all the following questions before, during and after the visit.
Your real estate agent will provide you with the information you request with efficiency and professionalism. However, if he doesn’t have any answers, try to find out more!
1. Why are former occupants leaving?
Before you make a decision, it’s only fair to ask yourself why the previous occupants moved out.
There may be reasons that make it difficult to rent or sell the property, and agents may be evasive or simply not have an answer. It is worthwhile to do some digging and find out about the following:
– the neighbourhood;
– the condominium;
– the syndic;
– the neighbourhood;
– recent damage…
Note: for rentals, if vacancy periods are avoided at all costs, be aware that agencies prefer to be certain that the tenant will stay for a long time because this avoids the logistics of visits and administration! They have no interest in embellishing the reality so that you move out two months later…
2. When can I come for another visit?
It is sometimes complicated to find a time slot during the day to visit the property you are interested in. There may be many other potential buyers/tenants, and the real estate agent may be overloaded. So you had a visit in the evening or on a rainy day.
It is difficult in these conditions to realize the sunshine, the shadow that the building in front of you casts on your facade, and the general aspect of the place every day… Don’t hesitate to ask for another visit, at a completely different time, with more clement weather if necessary!
3. Which craftsmen do you work with?
The agencies often work with the same craftsmen. They trust them, and this allows them to intervene more quickly in case of a problem. On the other hand, if the owner requests it, they can consult several companies to allow him to choose.
Looking at who you contact in case of a problem will allow you to do several things:
– You can assess the quality of the providers.
– You have the appropriate contacts if the agency does not respond immediately in an emergency situation.
– You show your interest in the property.
4. How many people are interested in the property?
You hesitate, you like the property, but something is missing: a balcony, a bathtub, light, storage space… Do you still have time to think about making other visits?
Ask your agent how many people are potentially interested in the same property.
– While some will invent a rival buyer to push you into making a decision to buy, most will be honest and have a vested interest in staying on good terms if they want you to use their services next.
– On the other hand, if you are the first to visit, you will not be able to really negotiate the price: the agent will prefer to have several proposals and will continue to make visits.
In the same way, for tenants, the agent is not always the one who has the last word: the owners may have decided to keep only the files of candidates with permanent contracts, earning more than so much per month, etc. On the other hand, when the agent and the owner have been working together for a while, showing your interest in the property to the agent can make a difference! It is, therefore, useful to know if you ar the only one in the running.
5. What are the amounts of…?
Buying a property also implies to assume regularly the charges and taxes. It is essential to get information and to ask your real estate agent the amount of:
1. Co-ownership charges: whether you live in a grouped individual house (village) or in a collective building, these charges are your responsibility. By consulting the statement of charges for the two previous years, you should have a good idea of what to expect.
2. Any planned work: look at the minutes of the general assemblies to find out about any planned improvements and work. If you have to participate, ask for the amount of your share.
3. Local taxes: do not hesitate to ask for the amounts of the housing tax and the property tax.
Note: Before choosing a rental, ask for the amount of the housing tax!