- Before interviewing prospective realtors, be sure to create a list of what is essential to have in a realtor (like good communication skills), versus what would be nice to have (like five years experience minimum in the area).
- Line up several potential real estate agents, rather than settling for the first one you speak with.
- Be willing to walk away if something doesn’t feel right or if a response doesn’t meet your criteria. Trust your gut, and you’ll soon partner with the right realtor for your specific needs.
10 Questions To Ask Your Realtor
Buying or selling a home is a significant milestone in your life, and as with anything of this importance, being prepared is crucial for a seamless experience. The best way to prepare is to find a realtor that matches your needs, and the best way to do that is to have a list of questions at the ready.
After all, you’re hiring the real estate agent, not the other way around. Treat your first meeting like an interview—because it is one.
If you’re not sure what to ask a realtor, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 questions to ask a real estate agent before you commit to hiring them.
1. Do You Have a License?
This one may seem obvious, but it’s still important to see your potential realtor’s license. Although requirements vary from state to state, there is a defined process for becoming a realtor that includes licensure.
If a realtor prospective agent doesn’t have a license or it’s not in good standing, you’ll want to find someone else. In the real estate industry, a broker is a real estate agent who is licensed and has completed training.
2. How Long Have You Been a Real Estate Agent?
While a 20-year track record is an asset, don’t be afraid to work with a less-experienced agent—as long as they have glowing reviews and the support of an expert team or mentor. Experts say your realtor real estate professional should have at least five years of hard work under their belt.
3. Do You Work Part-Time or Full-Time?
A realtor working part-time isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but choose a full-time agent if you can. Selling a home is a time-consuming commitment, and a full-time realtor will naturally have more time to dedicate to you. The same goes with home buying, it can be stressful, finding a great agent who will dedicate their time to you is valuable. Agents who work full-time are also likely to have more experience.
4. What Can I Expect Communication-Wise?
Knowing how often you’ll hear from your realtor is crucial information. From a good real estate agent, you should hear from them every time an offer is put in on your house or any time there are updates or concerns.
You’ll also want to confirm when and how you can reach them. Find out what kind of communication they prefer—e-mail, phone call, or text—and what hours or days they’re unavailable.
5. Can You Provide Me A List of References?
Any realtor worth their salt should be able to give you a list of former clients. Take the opportunity to speak with people who have worked with this realtor in the past, then use your best judgment from their client experience.
6. How Many Transactions Have You Completed in the Last Year?
This type of query helps you gauge how successful of a realtor they are and may also give you a hint as to how quickly your home will sell or how quickly you’ll be able to move in.
More specifically, ask a realtor questions that pertain to your situation. If you’re looking for a condo, see what their experience has been with condos. If your home is in a particular neighborhood, ask how many they’ve sold in that area in the past. Shop around, and you’re bound to find a real estate agent who specializes in exactly what you’re looking for.
It’s also important to note here that quality may be better than quantity—don’t judge a realtor solely on their total yearly transactions, as there are many other factors to consider.
7. Do You Work Alone or With a Team?
There is no right or wrong answer here, but it’s certainly something you want to know ahead of time. Working with one person the right agent or a small team throughout the entire process can be ideal in many ways, as they’ll often be more engaged with their clients.
On the flip side, a realtor with a full-scale team behind them has its advantages as well. Having more people working for you can often mean better, faster results. Consider whether a personal touch or a more diverse, effective team of experts is what you’re looking for.
8. How Many Clients are You Currently Representing?
Ideally, your realtor isn’t overwhelmed with a dozen other clients all at once. The ideal agent has time to focus on you and your needs. You don’t have to expect your real estate agent to cater to you alone, but look for someone who will be able to spend enough time and energy on you to close the deal quickly.
9. What Are Your Fees?
As a potential buyer, make sure you understand exactly what your realtor’s fees will be before you work with them. There should be no hidden costs associated with the buying or selling process, especially the selling price. Transparency is key.
Note: Some fees are negotiable. Whether the real estate agent takes a flat amount or a percentage, that figure may be open to negotiation—consider offering incentive within the fee structure for a larger sale or a cheaper purchase than intended.
10. Why Should I Hire You?
This question allows your potential realtor to win you over. They can lay out expectations for you and offer up any additional details that they feel are relevant.
Asking a question like this is the perfect way to ensure nothing is missed. Leaving time at the end of the interview for the realtor to ask you questions is also recommended, as it helps both of you see if the partnership will work.
Start Your Search
Now that you have a list of questions, it’s time to quiz your future realtor. Remember, as a buyer, you don’t have to settle for anything less than perfect. Asking these questions will help you narrow down your search for the right realtor. Do your research, take your time, and above all, choose a realtor you hit it off with—you’ll be glad you did.
U.S.News. How to Become a Real Estate Agent. https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/how-to-become-a-real-estate-agent
Chicago Tribune. Does your real estate agent measure up? 7 questions to ask before you commit. www.chicagotribune.com/real-estate/ct-re-0723-questions-to-ask-realtor-20170719-story.html