Buying a condo, single-family, or multi-family home in Hoboken or Downtown Jersey City is a major investment – it’s likely to be one of the largest purchases you’ll ever make. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task – with the right partner you might even enjoy the process. Here are some questions and tips to help you find the right Realtor for your search.
Basic Questions For Every Search Type:
What’s the current state of the market and what do you see as emerging trends?
A good buyer’s agent should have their finger on the pulse of the market. They should be able quickly approximate current inventory levels, absorption rates, average $/sqft as well as more complex subjects like emerging trends, flood zone locations and insurance implications, taxes, and recent legislative and zoning rule changes
How many clients are you actively working with?
There are only 24 hours in a day, you’ll want an agent who has time to make you (and your search) a priority.
Where do you live?
A local agent can be a wealth of knowledge that will help make your search, move, and transition more enjoyable. Who doesn’t like great tips about local restaurants, nightlife, shopping, groceries, transportation, parking, and events?!
What days and times are you generally available for showings?
You’ll want a Realtor who’s schedule is compatible with yours for showings.
What forms of communication do you prefer and what hours do you typically respond promptly between?
Buying a home can be stressful, an agent who is slow to respond can make the process absolutely infuriating – you’ll want to make sure that your agent is sensitive to your communication needs
What types of properties and what price points have you closed?
If you’re looking for a Brownstone, it’s a good idea to find an agent who has experience for that property type and price-point. Conversf you’re looking for an entry level 1 bedroom condo, you’ll want to make sure that your agent has experience in that range as well
How do you approach valuation and negotiations?
The last thing you want when you’re a value-sensitive buyer is a pushy agent who looks at valuation through rose-colored glasses.
Do you have references who can tell me about their experience working with you?
If not, don’t walk, RUN away! I take pride in far exceeding my clients expectations and am happy to provide you with references.
Do you offer a buyer’s rebate? If so, how much do you rebate?
Shameless plug here – I rebate 50% of the commission when you buy. Historically, my rebate has averaged more than $10K at closing. There are many great agents out there, I’m one of the very few of them who will give you a significant rebate to help with closing costs. Hoboken and Downtown Jersey City are expensive markets, commissions are lucrative here – The average 2 bedroom transaction pays a buyers agent approximately $20K, I’m happy to offer you the absolute highest level of service, and rebate half of the commission.
Do you have a network of mortgage brokers and attorneys who you can recommend?
A good Realtor should have a sizable network who can help you find the best deal on financing and represent your interests while ensuring the successful completion of the transaction.
Beyond the basics, there are specialized questions you should ask depending on what your objectives are.
Thinking of Buying and Renovating? Ask These Questions:
Do you have experience renovating locally? If so, tell me about your project(s).
Do you have a network of contractors and architects who you can connect me with?
What’s your philosophy on identifying and executing value-add plays?
Are you a Passive Investor Looking for Cash Flow Plays? Try These:
What’s the average cap-rate in the area and what’s the best cap-rate you’ve seen recently?
Tell me about the short-term rental market (e.g. AirBnB), can I get a better cap rate if I go that route?
For properties that I’m interested in, can you build me a pro-forma with a detailed NOI / cash-flow analysis, and a levered IRR calculation based on defined holding period and financing assumptions?
One last shameless plug here – in addition to holding an MBA, I’m wrapping up a 2nd Master’s Degree in Real Estate Finance & Investment at NYU. I can develop models that will satisfy the most sophisticated investors, or simplify and explain concepts to investors who are just getting started. Very few local realtors will do that for you – and none to my knowledge, will do that and offer you a large rebate at closing!
Are you an Active Investor Looking for Lucrative Flips? Try These:
Have you ever flipped a property in the local area? If so, tell me about it.
For properties that I’m interested in, can you help me estimate post-rehab valuation, construction costs, holding costs, equity requirements, and levered IRR calculations?
Do you have a network of other investors who may be interested in equity partnerships?
What’s your investment philosophy?
What types of flips have you done? (Multi-family to condo conversion, Multi to Single Family, same class rehabs, etc.)
Looking for a Luxury Doorman Building, Perhaps on the Waterfront? Try:
What do you see as the pros and cons of each major luxury doorman building?
What factors are driving pricing?
Tell me about the Amenities, level of finish, layouts, parking availability, and HOA fees at each major building.
Which properties have tax abatements, when do they expire, and how will their expiration impact valuation moving forward?