One of my favorite sayings is “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I suppose it sounds like a keen grasp of the obvious, but there’s some real insight beneath the obvious. When you decide to buy (or sell) real estate, one of the hazards is that you don’t know what you don’t know.
Most buyers are anxioius to look at property. You might be surprised at how many calls I get from people who’ve driven by one of my listings and and they want to know if I can show it to them–as if buying property is just about looking at it. One thing those buyers don’t know is that they are skipping a very important step in the process of buying real estate.
A frequent topic on “how to buy real estate” sites is how (and why) to “hire” an agent to represent you. While most buyers seem to get anxious to look at property and skip that step, there are at least a couple of reasons you should consider teaming up with your own agent early in the process. The major one is that “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
Therefore you ought to hire your agent because of his or her training, knowledge, experience, problem-solving ability, connections, and ability to communicate. There’s more, but those are some of the more important reasons.
Determining that agent’s depth of knowledge can be a challenge–after all, how do you determine whether or not the agent knows what you don’t? Here’s a couple of questions you might consider:
- What’s the most recent continuing education course you took and what did you learn from it?
- What’s the biggest mistake you see most home buyers making and how do you prevent it?
- How do you keep informed about what’s going on in the real estate world?
- How’s the market in… (area or community)?
You’ll of course want to listen carefully to see how confident the answers are… and understand that some questions are best answered, “I don’t know and will have to look into it.” The business of real estate is anything but simple. Listen for thoughtful answers and expect some to require some research. This is not an area that lends itself to “snow jobs.” Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know!