Choosing the right agent to represent your home or buying needs is easier said than done. You need to know what you’re looking for in a realtor, and that answer can’t be found without an interview. By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to hire the perfect real estate agent.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent: Questions to Ask
Although it may feel bizarre to ask potential realtors about their skills and experience, it’s the best way to know if your buyer’s or seller’s agent will support you throughout the process.
1. Do you Work as a Full-Time or Part-Time Agent?
Part-time agents can be just as good at selling homes as full-time professionals, but the benefits of hiring an agent full-time are plenty. Full-time agents have better availability and are typically more experienced, meaning you can sell your home faster in a hot market.
On websites like Home & Money, you can find plenty of full-time real estate agents who want to help you find your dream home. You can also connect with investing and eco-friendly agents.
2. How Many Clients Have You Helped?
Simply asking, “how long have you been a real estate agent” won’t give you enough information about their experience. That’s because a property transaction can take months, even years, to finalize. For this reason, you’ll run into agents who’ve sold 10 homes in the span of 40 years.
Real estate agents who’ve sold 10 to 20 homes in 10 years will likely have more experience and time to spare on your transaction, provided they aren’t actively working with other clients.
3. Who is on Your Real Estate Team? Who are you Affiliated With?
A real estate team can include brokers, agents, contractors, and other third-party companies, like mortgage lenders and lawyers. If an agent is pushing a service, but they aren’t disclosing their affiliation with the company, that’s a sign they value money over your personal comfort.
There’s nothing wrong with an agent recommending a service as long as they’re honest. If your agent is transparent and trustworthy during the interviewing stage, they’ll likely stay that way.
4. Can I Have the Contact Information of One of Your Past Clients?
If you’re an agent’s first client, that isn’t a red flag. We all have to start somewhere, and quality brokers won’t hire team members that could poorly represent their brand. However, if a more experienced agent refuses to provide contact information from past clients, that’s a bad sign.
Reviews are important. After all, it’s probably how you found your agent. But they’re easy to fake. If you can speak to a client directly, you’ll be able to learn more about the realtor.
5. Will you Attend the Home Inspection?
Home inspections are a common step in the real estate transaction process. Your realtor should consider being at the inspection as necessary. Why? Because agents will be able to receive the inspector’s information firsthand, allowing them to negotiate with clients in real-time.
Agents are often scared to attend home inspections because they’re afraid of getting sued, but smart agents know that a lawsuit can only happen if they take on the role of the inspector.
6. How Will You Negotiate with the Buyer/Seller on my Behalf?
Most clients won’t be present during negotiations because it disrupts their buying or selling power. A great negotiator is interested in what works best for both people, but too often, clients will try to outsmart each other. Your realtor should approach negotiations with a win-win attitude.
Since you need to see their skills in action, ask about the agent’s negotiation style. Ask them what they’d do in specific scenarios, so you can determine if they’re quick on their feet.