With so many real estate agents out there, it’s hard to choose who to partner with. Many people think that all agents are the same, but that is far from the truth…
There is a lot of variety between agents. Each is different in their quality of service, the services they offer, and their costs. As a home buyer or seller, you’ll need to identify what your priorities are so you can find the best real estate agent for you.
At FastExpert, we strongly advise that you interview multiple agents before you commit to one. Ideally, you should interview 4-6 real estate agents before making your decision. Doing this can save you money and guarantee that you get everything you’re looking for from your agent.
Why interview multiple agents?
There are so many options when it comes to choosing realtors. Some agents get a lot of attention because they excel in marketing themselves. Others may not be strong in promoting themselves but are still exceptional in real estate and customer service.
When you interview only one agent, you risk being won over by great marketing instead of great skill.
Before you start doing interviews, do your due diligence by performing additional research on your top candidates. During your research, you’ll learn about a realtor’s level of experience, the services they provide, their legal record, and the kinds of homes they buy/sell for clients.
If you haven’t done this research yet and need some help, use this guide.
People often find one person who stands out among the rest early in their research. They’ll get excited, book an interview, then close the deal.
If this sounds like you, PLEASE be patient. Follow best-practices, book 4-5 other interviews to be safe.
Here are more reasons why you should interview multiple realtors:
Understanding your options
In your interviews, you will see traits each realtor has that cannot be learned through online research alone. By conducting interviews, you’ll be able to get the most up-to-date information about that agent’s unique qualifications.
At the end of a good interview, you should be able to answer these questions about an agent:
- Responsiveness: How long does it take for this agent to respond to your messages?
- Communication Skills: What methods of communication they prefer? How often can you expect to hear from them?
- Unique Buying/Selling Tactics: What tricks does this agent have up their sleeve that can help me?
- Flexibility: Will this agent accommodate your requests? Are they flexible about their commission rate?
- Personality: Is this the kind of person that you would enjoy doing business with?
When you interview just one person, you may lose out on an opportunity with an agent who is stronger in many of these areas.
Getting Competitive Prices
Realtors and real estate agents get paid by the commission earned on the sale of a home. This commission varies from state to state, but the average realtor commission is 5.46%. That commission is split between both the buyer’s and seller’s agents, so your agent may charge roughly 3% commission to help you sell your current home, and 3% to help you buy your next home.
This is an agent’s primary source of income, so they have an interest in charging the highest commission they can. Even still, many realtors would rather close a deal with you at a lower rate instead of walking away from it.
This is why interviewing more than one agent is a powerful way to save you money.
When a realtor knows that you are looking at other options for agents, they have an incentive to be flexible with their rate. They may do well for themselves by charging a 7% commission in total, but they won’t see a penny of it if you opt to use another agent.
The agents who are most likely to be flexible with their price are the ones with the least experience. This doesn’t make them bad agents, but it does mean that you may be able to choose a more reliable partner by opting to pay a higher commission.
More experienced agents are often less flexible with their commission, but don’t write them off for that. Experienced agents can often sell your home for more than 6% above the home’s value, and help you buy your next home for 6% less than the asking price.
Great agents can easily justify why they charge the commission they do, so this is worth asking about in your interview.
In the end, the commission rate you expect to pay should reflect how much you prioritize experience in the agent you want to partner with.
Seeing Differences in Services
Every real estate agent offers unique specialties and has credentials that others do not. Most lay-people do not know the industry enough to understand the value of these special services. In an interview, agents will be glad to explain their specialties to you and show how they can uniquely benefit you.
In your interview, invite your agent to discuss their specialties and ask about these topics:
Having a realtor who can perform your home valuation themself is beneficial for both buyers and sellers. This will save a lot of hassle for home sellers because you won’t need to outsource this service. For home buyers, it guarantees that your agent adequately understands how to assess a home to understand the difference between the listing price and the price that the home is most likely valued.
Staging homes, Capturing Photography, and Producing Videos
Every agent handles staging homes differently. Some agents will hire specialists to stage your home for sale, others will do it themselves. After your home is staged, you’ll also want high-quality photography to help market your home.
In some cases you may want to utilize drone videos to show your outdoor space as well as lifestyle videos to show what living in your home would feel like. Inquire with your agents about the services they use for staging homes and making marketing material to help your home sell.
Successful marketing is the key to getting eyes on your home when it’s time to sell. Each agent will use different marketing techniques to attract potential buyers.
Ask your agent how they do marketing for homes and open houses. Ask them to explain what methods of marketing they are most effective in. If they received formal training on how to market with their preferred mediums, that’s a huge plus.
Negotiating is one of the most important skills your agent can possess. Each agent will use different negotiating tactics and some have pursued extra training on the topic. In your interview, ask your agent what they do to facilitate successful negotiation and if they have received formal training in negotiation before.
Types of Real Estate
Not all real estate agents sell homes. Some sell industrial properties, commercial buildings, and undeveloped land. You may begin interviewing an agent only to find that their specialty is not actually in selling residential real estate. This should be a red flag to you to choose another agent to help you sell a home.
Certifications, Licenses, and Other Credentials
Real estate agents need only a few licenses to practice, but there are multitudes of others available for agents who intend to hone their craft. Ask about what other credentials and training your agent possesses and ask them why they chose to acquire it. This will give you a very deep understanding of what makes your agent unique.
Membership with NAR
Agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors are Realtors with a capital R. By being a member, they benefit from a variety of tools and resources that are available through that organization which they’ll use to help you land the best deals in the shortest time. They also benefit from a massive network that they can rely on for the most up-to-date industry knowledge available. Not all great agents are members of the NAR, but many are.
Identifying Modes of Operation
Real estate is an industry that allows for growth only by closing more deals. While experience is necessary, it isn’t the main path of moving up within this industry – it is having an effective, repeatable mode of operation.
It is astonishing to know that in real estate, 6% of agents and agencies manage to make more sales than the rest of the 94%. The biggest things that separate these two groups are the systems they use to market homes and close deals.
When you interview multiple agents, you will be able to identify the agents who are selling using a well-rehearsed strategy. You will also find agents that have a broader perspective and a more comprehensive model of operation.
During the interview, if you want to know if the realtor has a well-rehearsed strategy, ask questions like: “What makes your home selling/buying process more effective than others?”
If you want to know if your agent uses a broad approach with a comprehensive model of operation, ask questions like, “What can we do to uniquely market my home?” or “Considering the market conditions and what we are looking for in a home, what approach do you think will help us buy a home at the best price?”
How do I interview multiple agents?
If you are setting up interviews with multiple agents, you need to know 3 things: how to contact agents, how to conduct an interview, and how to decide which agent to commit to.
How do I contact real estate agents?
The most common way of contacting a real estate agent is by calling them. Many agents are also available through texting or email as well. Their preferred contact methods should be listed on their profile or their website. You can use our directory to find agents, or search them by name and locality in Google.
Realtors can often be inundated with messages from clients and prospects, so it is important to make your initial outreach short and sweet.
Clearly and concisely explain that you are looking for someone to help you to sell a property, buy a property, or both. Include a list of good times when you’ll be available for a phone, zoom, or in-person interview with the agent. Also, include how long you expect the interview to take so that you can both schedule the rest of your days appropriately.
How do I conduct interviews with realtors?
Conducting interviews is more difficult than it seems. To conduct a good interview, you need to identify your priorities, prepare your questions, and take good notes to review later.
Before you conduct your first interview, identify what is most important to you in your next business partner. What kind of commission rate do you expect to agree on? What is the highest commission rate you would agree to? What intangible qualities do you expect an agent to possess?
Once you’ve identified your priorities, you should prepare a list of questions that you’ll bring to the interview. Your list of questions should adequately cover topics like:
- Preferred communication methods
- How often they will be contacting you
- Marketing Tactics
- Negotiation Skills
- Additional credentials, certifications, and licenses
- Explaining any “red-flags” you noticed in your previous research on this agent
You don’t need to “stick to the script” the whole time. If the agent says something that provokes a new question from you, you should definitely ask it.
Just make sure you are mindful to not go too far over time because your interview may get cut short. For this reason, put your most important questions on the top of your list. Many of your less important questions will likely get answered while the agent addresses your key concerns.
While you conduct the interview, take notes on the agent’s responses so that you can reference them when you decide between your options. If you don’t want to be distracted by notetaking, ask if the agent is comfortable with you recording the interview. Most phones have an easy-to-use feature that lets you record a meeting.
Whether or not you record the meeting, take notes at the end of the interview to note how the real estate agent made you feel during the interview. Did you get along well? Did they make you comfortable? Did they seem confident? Are they the kind of person you would enjoy working with?
Store your notes and recordings somewhere you can find them easily. Once you’ve finished all your interviews, you’ll be glad to have them all organized in one place.
How do I choose the best real estate agent?
There is no easy way to choose between several quality candidates, but there are methods you can use to make it easier.
- Make a Pro’s and Con’s List
Making a pro’s and con’s list is an easy way to separate what you like and what you don’t like about each candidate. This makes it easy to visualize how many of your priorities they effectively meet, and how many they underperform in. You can even introduce a point-system and assign points to each pro or con that an agent gets for having a certain quality or credential. This makes choosing a winner significantly easier.
- Make a Venn Diagram
Making a Venn diagram works like making a pro’s and con’s list, but it is even more easy to visualize how unique agents are when compared to one another. Be creative in how you make your diagram! It can take a bit of pressure off while you work on making this big decision.
- Make it a Tournament
If you’re stuck and you can’t choose who to contract, make a tournament between all the candidates! Here’s how to do it:
Put everyone’s name in a hat, then build a tournament bracket. Pull names out of a hat to decide where everyone starts in the tournament. Once everyone has their placement, decide for yourself who you would prefer to work without of every pair. The winner of that face-off moves up to the next round and the loser is out. This guarantees that you have your ideal candidate selected by the end of the process.
There is no one right option for how to choose your perfect real estate agent, but these methods will make the process a little easier.
FAQ’s for people interviewing multiple agents:
Can You Hire Multiple Realtors?
In short, yes. You can hire as many real estate agents as you want. Unfortunately, there aren’t nearly as many benefits as you’d expect. Most realtors will provide you with their full attention and services, only if you are committed to them.
This means that you’d have to sign a contract with that agent and solely them. The only benefit from having multiple agents is if you are selling your property in one location and buying in a different location. Even in this situation, you should notify the agents to make sure your broker-to-buyer agreement reflects this.
Many realtors have the same tools for finding potential houses for your wants, so having multiple agents will not speed up the process for you.
Do I need an agent to sell a home and a different one to buy a home?
Unless you are moving far away from your current home, no, you do not need two different agents to sell your current home and buy your next one.
Most people will elect to work with the agent who sells their home to help them buy their next home, but if you want to hire a different realtor to help you with the buying or selling transaction you can.
The exception is when you’re moving out of driving distance from your current home. Most agents do some work in person, so they may not be able to accommodate your home purchase and your some sale.
If you choose to hire two real estate agents, just make sure both are informed beforehand to avoid any confusion. This assures you don’t get locked into a contract that is not appropriate for your needs.
Can you switch Real Estate Agents?
Yes, you can change agents, but there can be some consequences. It may not be as simple as firing and hiring a different agent, it will most likely be you reading the contract to find out about the cancellation of services then moving forward.
You do not need to worry about cancellation or fees if you haven’t signed to work solely with that agent. The majority of the time, there will be a cancellation fee that you can pay and possibly other factors or stipulations. Even if you did not like the services provided, it is always best to handle the situation with diplomacy and respect.
Top realtors are not hard to spot once you know what to look for.
By researching them online, you will learn a lot about them, but you still need to interview to learn everything you need to know. Interview at least 4 agents to assure that you make the best choice for the best price.
You should now be armed with all the information you need to conduct interviews with multiple real estate agents, so go forth and find your perfect match!