10 Questions To Ask BEFORE You Choose a Real Estate Agent
Questions to Ask: Choosing a Real Estate Agent to Buy or Sell a Home
How do you know which Real Estate Agent to hire? Here are ten questions to ask before you choose a Real Estate Agent!
Most of the time, you will not know which Real Estate Agent to hire until you begin interviewing.
One of the first things we tell our clients: "Today, we will learn more about our ability to work together. Should you choose a different Real Estate Agent to represent you, we will not be offended; just let us know."
Consumers must also understand that the Real Estate Agent will likely be interviewing them.
Without further ado, let's dive in on the questions to ask:
1. Is Real Estate a Full-Time Job For you?
First, you should ask a Real Estate Agent if they work full-time. If the answer is 'no,' that is a red flag and typically is reason enough to move on to the next candidate. Would you want someone working for you part-time?
Availability plays a large role, especially in hot markets. Time is of the essence for buyers, so you want a Real Estate Agent who makes themselves available. If a home is listed on a Tuesday, it could be sold by Wednesday morning, availability is important!
If your real estate market is anything like mine in Raleigh, NC, buyers need to act fast when they find a home to buy. The average number of days a home stays on the market is 34, and any home worth buying is typically sold in a handful of days. Good deals are typically sold in the first day or two, sometimes in the first hour.
When interviewing a Real Estate Agent, you want to hire someone who will give you a full-time effort.
2. What Makes You Different From Other Real Estate Agents?
Real Estate Agents come in many different shapes, sizes, personality types, skill sets, and work ethics. Which Realtor is right for you?
When interviewing, there are certain things to look for. One of the first things I would look for in a Real Estate Agent is someone who isn't afraid to tell me 'no.' You don't want a salesperson; you want someone who will hold your hand and help you find the best possible home in the price range and location you're searching.
Too often, Agents are focused on the number of homes they've sold, which is not a statistic that helps your clients.
3. How Many Clients Have You Helped?
Asking this question helps to demonstrate what type of experience the Real Estate Agent has. It's a better indicator of experience than asking 'how many years have you been in the business?' Some Real Estate Agents have been in the business for 10 years and have helped five clients. In comparison, some Agents just started their careers, and others have been in real estate for three years but have helped 50 clients.
How many clients is your Real Estate Agent actively working with it? This is another great question because if they have too many clients personally, they won't have as much availability to help you when you need it.
For sellers, you will want to know more about the experience the clients had. Ask to see reviews and contact information.
4. Who is on Your Real Estate Team?
If, at any point, your Real Estate Agent pushes a mortgage lender on you, that's a red flag. When we recommend a mortgage lender, we always follow it up with, 'Please don't feel obligated to use anyone we recommend.'
When it is time for you to obtain a mortgage, we recommend certain folks because we have worked with several people and have a select group that best represents our client's interest. Certain people have great chemistry when working together.
Team is a great word to describe your relationship with your Agent, attorney, mortgage lender, and everyone involved in the transaction. Who does your Real Estate Agent work with, and why? The why is an important aspect. It's a big reason we wrote an article on disclosing your relationship with your lender. Too many Agents accept money or gifts from Lenders, which is not right, at least in our opinion.
We are focused on our customer experience. When someone represents Raleigh Realty, whether an Agent or someone we work with, our brand reputation is on the line. There is nothing more important to us than our reputation among consumers. We are focused on our customer experience and providing only the best recommendations.
5. Do You Require a Pre-Approval Before Seeing Homes?
Clients spend months searching for a home to buy and finally find one. It isn't until this point that they start speaking with a mortgage lender, and oftentimes, they find out they are not qualified to buy the house.
If you want to look at homes without a mortgage pre-approval, you are wasting everyone's time. Over the last year, I have shown homes to around 50 people who didn't have pre-approval, and only a couple could afford the homes they were looking at.
6. Do You Have Reviews and Contact Information From Past Clients?
Reviews of Real Estate Agents are important in choosing the right person to help you. It's no secret that many reviews online are fake, making it important to have videos and photos to back it up.
Facebook is also a great spot for reviews since you can look the people up to see if they are real. You can also message them on social media to learn about their experience with that Agent.
7. How Will You Negotiate On Our Behalf?
A great question to ask when choosing a Real Estate Agent to represent you is how will you negotiate on our behalf?
Whether your Agent is helping you buy or sell, they will want to have strong negotiating skills. Chances are they have already started negotiating with you since you met them.
Buying and selling real estate involves professionalism and a win-win attitude. If you negotiate to be the only winner, you are doing yourself and your clients a disservice. A win-win situation is different for every buyer and seller since some will be more likely to give, and some will be more likely to take. When negotiating real estate, it's about reading the situation, analyzing it, and determining the next best move.
8. Will You Attend the Home Inspection?
If your Agent isn't going to attend the home inspection or have someone who is going to be there for it, move on to a new Realtor. Real Estate Agents who don't attend home inspections or have someone to represent the client are doing everyone a disservice.
There is no better time to communicate with the home inspector than when they are actively conducting the inspection. If you invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into a home, you'll want to know every detail about the property.
We have a process for buyers and sellers and a transaction coordinator to help a client's hand through the whole process.
9. What is Your Competitive Advantage?
One question you want to ask a Real Estate Agent you're interviewing is, 'What is your competitive advantage?'
If your Real Estate team doesn't offer any competitive advantages or doesn't know how they can offer you one, move on. Too many pretenders are out there for you to fall into that trap.
Many Real Estate Agents are chosen based on friendships or relatives, which is not to your advantage. In many cases, it is a disadvantage. Our competitive advantage at Raleigh Realty is how we harness technology, marketing, work ethic, and availability.
10. What If I am Unhappy With Your Service?
At any point, your Real Estate Agent should allow you to work with someone else. You should not be forced into a working relationship if you're unhappy with it. Asking this question allows you to discuss what may need to happen to leave the contract you signed with your Real Estate Agent.
If at any point you find that working with your Real Estate Agent isn't working, you should bring it up to them. Talk to them about how you feel and see how they respond. If it isn't something that can be fixed, let them know.
It's important to let your Agent know if you've decided to go in a different direction. You should not be afraid to tell them you've decided to work with someone else. There needs to be mutual respect if the realtor-client relationship will work.
Is it a good idea to interview realtors?
Yes, it is a good idea because interviewing Realtors before choosing one to work with will ensure a stress-free and smooth buying or selling experience.
Is it okay to interview multiple realtors?
Interviewing multiple Realtors is the best way to find an Agent to meet your needs. By interviewing more than one Realtor, you can narrow down which will best fit your situation and help you find your dream home.
How many realtors do most buyers interview?
Most buyers interview at least three potential Real Estate Agents before choosing one to work with. Finding an Agent that will prioritize you and match your needs is important.
Questions To Ask Before Choosing a Real Estate Agent - Final Thoughts
Choosing a Real Estate Agent is perhaps one of the most important parts of the home-buying process. To confidently choose a Realtor to work with, ask the questions above to ensure a positive experience when buying and selling. Contact us today to get in touch with an experienced and knowledgeable Real Estate Agent.
Hi there! Nice to 'meet' you and thanks for visiting our Raleigh Real Estate Blog! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I'm a REALTOR® in Raleigh-Durham, NC, the owner of Raleigh Realty. I work alongside some of the best Realtors in Raleigh. You can find more of my real estate content on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and more. Realtor Magazine named me a top 30 under 30 Realtor in the country (it was a long time ago haha). Any way, that's enough about me. I'd love to learn more about you if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram or connect with our team at Raleigh Realty. Looking forward to connecting!