10 Questions to Ask A Real Estate Agent Before You Hire Him or Her

  1. May I see a current resume? You are hiring someone for an important job that requires skills in many areas. Education, work experience and references are just as important in a real estate agent as they are in any other financial, sales, marketing or project management position.
  2. Are you a full-time agent? A part-time agent puts you at a disadvantage in terms of your ability to compete with other buyers. It limits speed of action and knowledge of changing conditions.
  3. How many sales transactions have you completed? This tells you if an agent can handle the mechanics of a transaction and fulfill the minimum requirements. However, it does not indicate breadth or depth of experience.
  4. What percentage of your past transactions were: buyer side, seller side, high-end, mid-priced, low-end, condos, single family homes? The answer to this question indicates the agent’s range of experience and the ability to adapt. The best agents have responded successfully across diverse transaction challenges and personality types. This is important since one can never predict the personalities, issues and dynamics  that will surround a transaction as it unfolds. Experience with limited types of transactions and personalities puts the consumer at risk.
  5. Describe your negotiation strategies and describe how they might change based on circumstance.
  6. How do you manage your work week? Describe your responsibilities and how your time is allocated across them? A good agent has solid time management skills.
  7.  Provide an example in which you protected a buyer from risk?
  8.  Provide an example in which you protected a seller from risk?
  9.  What are the newest and most effective trends in home marketing and buyer services? Keep in mind that as a seller, you will benefit from an agent who understands the current buyer’s mind-set, as well as how to list and market a home.
  10. Explain the most recent changes and trends in the real estate industry and financial markets that will impact my transaction?

Listen closely to the answers. They should make sense and they should provide useful insights. Answers should also convey whether your agent has the ability to develop creative solutions to a range of potential challenges.

Please note:

An agent’s high dollar volume does not necessarily indicate experience, expertise or skill. It does indicate that they have represented clients that were buying or selling high-priced homes.

These questions are a prelude to the discussion you will have regarding your specific purchase or sale and the respective services that will be provided. Through research and referrals consumers should select at least three agents to interview before hiring (which means signing a buyer representation or listing contract).

If you are an investor, a different set of questions is required. Investors should only work with agents that also do rentals (leasing), and understand real estate financials. Please call me for an investor counseling session, if you are interested in investment property. I can be reached at 203-570-2096.

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