Real estate agents are responsible for the entire home buying/selling process, from gathering info on properties and negotiating to marketing the property and facilitating closing of the purchase.
Real estate is a competitive field. To fulfill your real estate goals, you need to work with an agent who has experience, motivation, strong communication and negotiation skills, and the right personality.
The importance of the interview stage
To find the right real estate agent, it’s a smart move to interview several candidates before you decide on which one you’d like to work with.
Many agents are also selective about their own clients, too. As you’re figuring out whether or not they’d be a good fit, real estate agents will likely be conducting their own interview as well. That said, a real estate agent who does not ask questions or does not seem to be interested in your motivation is a red flag.
The interview stage will dictate the rest of your working relationship with your agent. Like other parts of the home buying/selling process, you will need a strategy before scheduling the interview to get the best results. This involves confining your questions to specific areas to avoid overlooking critical issues.
In this page, we give you several key questions to ask a real estate agent during the interview.
How long have you worked in real estate?
While experience is an important factor, it doesn’t mean you should cross out any newly licensed agents from your list, as it all depends on the quality of training they’ve undergone and whether they have access to extensive resources. Additionally, a new agent might even have more time to focus on you as a client, unless he or she has another job to deal with, which is something you can ask about as well.
There’s also no bar exam, college degree, or standard real estate agent education required for agents to know how to manage potential problems in a real estate transaction. Most of the knowledge and skills that can make an agent successful is learned while on the job. That said, agents with numerous completed sales under their belt is a good indication that they have plenty of experience in the field. You can also ask whether they’ve taken any courses or seminars on real estate, which is a sign that they’re continuously looking for ways to enhance their expertise.
What type of strategy do you plan to use in order to fulfill my goals?
It’s a good idea to ask how your agent plans to fulfill your requirements. If you’re looking for a new home, ask how many homes your agent thinks you’ll likely need to see before you find one that matches all of your preferences. Will other buyers be competing with you for available homes? What type of strategy does your agent use when handling multiple offers?
If you’re selling your home, you’ll want to know how your home will be marketed by your agent. Ask an agent about their plans on advertising your home, including what type of methods they use. Do they offer professional photography for your listing? How do they plan to market your home online? What will they do to prepare your home for sale?
Ask the agent if he or she thinks there’s anything with your home that might decrease its potential to get a good offer, and what you can do to remedy the problem.
Can you provide any references?
In case you’re unable to find online reviews for an agent, you can ask them if they’ll be able to provide references. Keep in mind however that this might offend seasoned agents, but newer agents usually won’t mind.
If the agent is new to real estate, he or she should have references from former employers. Ask them if you can contact their references in case you have any additional questions.
What separates you from other real estate agents?
Great agents are usually quick to answer this question, and will be ready to give you a number of reasons why they’re the perfect candidate for the job. While we all have our own set of standards, most home buyers and sellers are looking for an agent who say they’re assertive, trustworthy, and skilled negotiators.
Some agents will say you can easily get in touch with them in case you need anything, whether via phone, email, or their social media accounts. They might mention their previous sales to prove that they’re the right person for the job.
Again, it will come down to which qualifications or characteristics you value the most.