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  • Ryan O.

Key Questions


There’s no shortage of licensed real estate agents in Hawaii. When you’re looking to purchase your first home, it’s important you hire a real estate agent who is right for you. As you interview prospective agents, here are a few questions you can ask:

1. Is real estate sales your fulltime profession?

Everyone has that relative who is a part time real estate agent. It’s probably in your best interest to work with someone who eats, breathes, and sleeps real estate.

Our housing market, especially at the entry level, is still competitive. When a good listing hits the MLS, it’s not uncommon for the property to enter escrow within a few days. If your real estate agent is inaccessible (because he or she has another job), you might be at a disadvantage in your home search.

2. How long have you been in real estate sales?

If you want to work with a newer agent, it’s important for you to find out if he or she will receive guidance from their broker or co-worker. The real estate sales process can be complex; there are a lot of moving parts. An inexperience agent might not be able to “work the problem.”

If you interview an agent that’s been in the industry for a while, it’s important you find out what his or her experience level is like too. Why? There are people who have been real estate agents for years, but they don’t do many transactions.

3. Can you explain the home purchasing process?

Most people think the home purchase process involves going to an open house, submitting an offer, and getting the keys when your transaction closes. It’s much more detailed that that.

It’s important your real estate agent guides you through every step. For example:

- What contingencies can you cancel for a full refund of your cash deposits?

- What is the “Financial Report” condominium document?

- If your appraisal comes in below your asking price, what can you do?

- What is escrow and why do agents have their own escrow preference?

- Why do mortgage rates vary from lender to lender? And why do some lenders have a reputation of not being able to close on time?

-RO

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Ryan Oda (RB-23073) is a Real Estate Advisor with Forward Realty (RB-19423) in Honolulu, HI.