How to Pick the Right Real Estate Agent For You
What questions should you ask when hiring a real estate agent to know if they are right for you?
- How long have you been practicing and working in real estate? Make sure the agent has enough experience to know what they are doing. A new agent isn’t necessarily bad, but make sure they are working with somebody more experienced who can provide them input.
- How did you get into real estate? You want somebody with a passion for their business, not just someone who needs a job or is out for money.
- How many sales do you close a year? Many people ask if somebody is full time agent, but I know so called full time agents that only do 2 or 3 deals a year, and I know part time agents that do 25 deals a year. Make sure your agent is actively working.
- Do you have other team members that will handle other parts of the transaction? It’s helpful to have an agent who will provide you input and advice themselves. You don’t want someone to land your listing and then dump you on their lesser experienced staff. However, agents that use a showing scheduling service, photographers, sign installers, and others to handle the less personal work is great!
- How will you stay in touch during my buying or selling process? Make sure your agent is willing to communicate with you through whatever form of contact you prefer, whether that’s text, email, phone calls, or personal visits.
- How will you get paid? It’s important to understand the fee structure before you sign any contracts.
- Do you have references? All experience agents should have references from buyers and sellers who recommend their services.
- Can I terminate our buyer/listing agreement if I am not satisfied? Most agents will require you to sign an agency agreement. The agent and buyer/seller need to have a win-win relationship, or it’s not worth being locked into each other.
Seller specific questions:
- How will you market my home? Most homes are found by buyers on the internet these days. It’s a must that your agent is up on technology and using the web to advertise your property. Open houses also, help get traffic through your home.
- How many listings do you sell on average? Make sure your agent has experience listing properties, not just working with buyers.
- What is your average sale price to list price? An agent who typically gets closer to asking price is going to be a strong negotiator.
- How long is your average listing on the market? This will give you an idea how they fair against the average market stats. However, it’s not the best indicator since all sellers don’t necessarily listen to their agents about how to get their home sold quickly.
Buyer specific questions:
- What times are you normally available to show me properties? You need to make sure an agents schedule will align with yours. If you work an 8-5 job, you need to make sure your agent is willing to work evenings.
- How many buyers do you work with on average? Some agents specialize more on listings and don’t work with as many buyers.
- How much time will you have available for showing homes? Be careful about getting an agent who is too busy and doesn’t have time for you.
- What is your average purchase price to list price? An agent who gets further below asking price when working for a buyer is going to be a strong negotiator.