For home buyers trying to decide which real estate agent to work with on buying or selling a home, the number of choices and agents can be overwhelming. You should definitely get referrals from friends and family and do a good amount of research online, but ultimately, hiring a REALTOR® is a personal choice.
To make sure you’re working with someone you’ll be comfortable having serious and personal conversations with, ask some hard-hitting questions to establish whether a real estate agent is a good fit for your home buying journey. Here are nine questions to ask an agent before you hire them:
9. Do you work full-time or part-time?
Asking real estate agents this question can help you determine how much time and effort they typically put into their clients. Most agents have flexible schedules, but if you’re looking for someone who can be focused and attentive, consider working with an agent who is a REALTOR® as their primary job.
8. How many years of education and experience do you have?
Experience and education can typically facilitate a smoother home buying process. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t consider working with a new agent, but be diligent and look for reviews or recommendations on REALTOR® before you choose.
7. Is your certification licensed and up to date?
Real estate agents will know the status of their certifications, but you could also check this yourself online with your state’s Department of Real Estate. This is a simple but important detail, and if you find that an agent isn’t certified, then it’s probably wise to keep looking.
6. What neighborhoods do you primarily work in?
The benefit of hiring a REALTOR® who is familiar with your neighborhood and the neighborhood where you are looking to move is that they’ll likely have an idea of prices in the area, as well as surrounding amenities.
5. Will you be handling everything, or will I also be working with a sales associate or administrative assistant?
It’s not the end of the world if your agent works in conjunction with a sales associate or administrative assistant, but you want to be able to connect with your agent themselves as regularly as is required. Make sure you hire an agent with open lines of communication.
4. What percentage of your clients are buyers, and what percentage are sellers?
It’s good to know what your agent’s focus is, what sort of transactions they typically do, and what kind of clients they’re used to working with.
3. How many other buyers and sellers are you currently representing?
The busiest agents are usually the most efficient, but you don’t want to hire someone that has too full of a plate to give you the time and attention you’ll need.
2. Can you provide names and phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to be references?
Insights from past customers can help you learn more about an agent and will also bring peace of mind. When you contact a reference, ask them about working with the potential agent.
1. What are you looking for in a client? What can we do to help you as much as possible?
Make sure you ask your agent what is needed from you, and try to establish a good relationship from the beginning. A good agent-client relationship should take into account what you the home buyer wants and needs, and how both parties can accomplish things as promptly and as effortlessly as possible.