- How Many Real Estate Agents Should I Interview?
- What to Look For in a Real Estate Agent
- Clearly Communicate that You are Interviewing Agents
- Comparing Realtor’s Commission Rates
- Identify the Differences in Service
- Identify Who You Will Work With
- Identifying Modes of Operation
- How do I interview multiple realtors?
- How do I choose the best real estate agent?
- FAQ’s for people interviewing multiple agents:
- The Bottom Line
Interviewing Multiple Agents is Essential. Here’s Why.
When it comes to buying or selling a property, choosing the right real estate agent is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make. Your realtor can make all the difference between a smooth, successful transaction and a stressful, costly ordeal. Even if a real estate agent comes recommended, it is still essential to ensure they’re the right fit for you. By interviewing multiple real estate agents, you can gain an understanding of the strengths of each agent and determine who understands you best. Ultimately, choosing your realtor can be just as important as the home you choose.
When interviewing multiple realtors, consider that you will likely be working closely with this person for months. In addition, you will be trusting the real estate agent with one of your biggest assets or purchases.
Moreover, your real estate agent represents you to other parties. The way you are perceived will be reflected by your agent.
Lastly, real estate agents receive a commission rate of 2-3% of the home’s purchase price. By interviewing multiple agents, you can feel comfortable with who your money is going to.
Given the financial output, legal details, and unspoken qualities that home transactions entail, it makes sense to give your real estate agent selection a little time and thought so that you achieve a successful real estate transaction.
When choosing from multiple agents, consider factors such as experience, quality of work, cost, and overall reputation. There’s not a one-size-fits-all agent. Whether you’re on the hunt for a listing agent or a buying agent, you’ll need to do your homework to find the best real estate agent for you.
In this article, we go over what factors you need to consider when interviewing multiple real estate agents, as well as answer some frequently asked questions.
How Many Real Estate Agents Should I Interview?
When deciding on a buying or listing agent, you’ll want to interview multiple real estate professionals before you commit.
Generally, it is best to interview 4-6 real estate agents before finalizing your decision.
If that seems like a lot to you, remember that this is a guideline. Also, keep in mind that even if you feel good about real estate agent number two, talking with a few more might make that choice even clearer.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by marketing tactics and charisma. Just because an agent has made a name for themselves and has plenty of ads to show for it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good at what they do. Never choose an agent just because they are popular.
Meeting with 4 to 6 agents may cost time upfront, but it can save you time and stress during the real estate process. Finding the realtor that is the best fit can make the difference between a smooth experience and a rocky one.
The top 4 things you should research before choosing an agent:
- Review the agent’s sales history and determine the primary service locations.
- Check out the agent’s stats, such as list-to-sale ratio, average days on market, and median listing price.
- Read client reviews to see other experiences working with this agent.
- Confirm the agent’s real estate license and check for certifications or designations.
People often find one person who stands out early in their research. They’ll get excited, book an interview, and close the deal. While this agent may be competent, your chances of finding a perfect fit increase significantly if you interview multiple realtors before deciding.
Sometimes, the stats look great, but the agent is not an excellent fit for you. Therefore, it’s essential to interview multiple realtors.
>>DISCOVER: 8 Steps to Choosing the Best Realtor
What to Look For in a Real Estate Agent
While researching your agent is very important, there are some qualities that you may not see until you meet in person or talk on the phone.
When interviewing the realtor, think of it as a first date. Ask a lot of questions and get to understand not only their credentials but also how they think.
Mark up a list of questions to ask a real estate agent, and take notes as you receive answers. The real estate professional you speak with may have all the right things to say, but sometimes it’s how they say it that can tell you what you need to know.
Valuable traits to look for when interviewing a potential agent:
Responsiveness: How long does it take for this agent to respond to your messages?
Communication Skills: What methods of communication do they prefer? How often can you expect to hear from them?
Unique Buying/Selling Tactics: Does the agent have buying or selling methods that set them apart?
Flexibility: Will this agent accommodate your requests?
Personality: Is this the kind of person that you would enjoy doing business with?
Decide what is most important to you, and take notes. As you interview other agents, compare their answers to determine who is the best fit. If you only speak to one agent and commit to working with them, you’re missing out on other agents that could better match your specific needs.
Clearly Communicate that You are Interviewing Agents
When interviewing multiple agents, be upfront about your search and let them know what to expect for next steps.
If you have a deadline for a decision, inform them of that date. Otherwise, you can simply say they will hear from you in a couple of days or weeks.
Out of respect for the multiple agents you interviewed, let them know if they were not your chosen agent. A brief email will suffice.
Remember, this is your time and money; there’s no need to rush into things!
Comparing Realtor’s Commission Rates
Realtors and real estate agents are paid based on an average 5.46% commission rate of the final sale. For example, the commission payment on a house that sold for $100,000 is, on average, $5,000 to $6,000.
This commission is then split between your agent, the opposing buying/selling agent, and theattached to your home’s sale.
Each realtor involved in the real estate transaction will receive a commission payment of 2-3% of the purchase price of the home. In our previous example, if the total commission payment was $5,000, then the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent would each receive $2,500.
The realtor’s commission varies from state to state and can depend on the city the house is located in, as well as the realtor’s experience.
Considering this is how realtors make their money, they may try to negotiate the highest rate they can on the final sale of your home. Just because an agent won’t lower their commission rate doesn’t mean they aren’t easy to work with.
Many agents know the work they put in and aren’t willing to cut their services to offer a lower commission payment option.
This is why interviewing multiple agents can mean more money in your pocket.
Negotiate a Fair Commission Payment
If a realtor knows you’re interviewing multiple agents, they may be more inclined to negotiate their rate. Of course, this can be based on the number of clients they are working with now, in addition to their years of experience.
Agents with less experience may be more likely to negotiate a lower commission rate since they are likely working hard to get leads. It’s up to you whether you feel a new agent will meet your needs. Sometimes newer agents will put in more time and effort at a lower rate as they work to create a name for themselves. However, other times their inexperience shows. By interviewing the agent, you can determine if they’re a good fit.
Again, a higher commission shouldn’t always scare you off. If the agent has a track record of selling homes for over asking or more than neighboring homes, they will be worth every penny.
Identify the Differences in Service
Every real estate agent can offer unique specialties and credentials that others do not. Most people do not know the industry enough to understand the value of these special services. In an interview, agents will likely 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:
Agents Determine Home Value
A good realtor who can perform an accurate home valuation benefits you as the seller. Your listing agent will help you know how much to list and what is an excellent offer to accept.
If you’re buying, it can also be a massive help. These buyer’s agents can identify a home that is listed too high or one that has a fair asking price.
Agents Capture the Home’s Details
Top real estate agents will be able to capture the details that make your home shine. Whether that’s through professional staging, thoughtful suggestions of furniture rearranging, or hiring a premium professional photographer.
Every agent handles staging homes differently. Some agents will hire specialists to stage your home for sale, and others will do it themselves. Many homes don’t need outside hands to stage, whether it be a professional or a realtor. Oftentimes, the real estate agent can point out ways a few key ways to modify the setting to reveal its beauty.
After your home is staged, it’s essential to get high-quality professional photography to market your home.
You may want to utilize drone videos to show your outdoor space and lifestyle videos to show what living in your home would feel like. Inquire about the services the realtor uses for staging homes and making marketing material to help your home sell.
Ensure you’re on the same page regarding how your home will be shown in person and online.
Agents are the Advertiser of Your Home
Rely on your chosen real estate professional to advertise and market your home. While you certainly can spread the word through social media or word of mouth, agents have unique connections and the ability to showcase your home to the masses.
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. Discuss in detail the agent’s plan for marketing your home and ask if the agent has any unique ways of creating a buzz around your home.
Ask your agent how they do marketing for homes and open houses. Ask them to explain what methods of marketing are most effective and if the agent has a specialty. If they received formal training on marketing with their preferred mediums, that’s a huge plus.
Strong Negotiation Skills are a Must
Negotiating is one of the most important skills your agent can possess. Each agent will use different negotiating tactics; 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.
Property Specialization Can Stand Out
Not all real estate agents work with homes. Some do real estate with 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 sign for you to choose another agent.
Conversely, you may discover that your agent specializes in condos or your specific type of home. Even within the residential side of selling, there’s many different property types that can differentiate agents.
Credentials are Essential
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.
Identify Who You Will Work With
It’s essential to identify if you will work with one real estate agent throughout the real estate transaction or if you’ll be passed to new agents as the process progresses.
Both methods of interaction have benefits, so determine what makes you most comfortable.
Working with one specific agent from start to finish can be beneficial. They’ll have a detailed understanding of the real estate transaction and your end goal. It can provide a more personal experience and a deeper connection with the agent. However, there may be elements of the process that the agent is weaker in, or as time goes on, you may have a conflict that makes it difficult to work with that individual.
Larger brokerages can take advantage of specialization, where you’ll work with multiple agents. In this scenario, you’ll have a primary agent and work with other realtors within the brokerage. Each agent focuses on a specific area of the real estate transaction. Once that element is finalized, they pass you to the next agent in the chain. This allows each agent to excel at that specific component; however, it can feel less personal as you’re passed along from agent to agent.
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 to 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 systems they use to market homes and close deals are the biggest things that separate these two groups.
When you interview multiple realtors, you can identify the selling agents using a well-rehearsed strategy. You will also find agents with a broader perspective and a more comprehensive operation model.
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 realtors?
If you are setting up interviews with multiple realtors, 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 easiest way to contact multiple real estate agent is through FastExpert. You can read reviews of agents from top-tier agencies and are not limited to one agency. In addition, you can easily message them from the website.
Otherwise, 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.
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. Consider following:
- What is your ideal commission rate? What is the maximum commission rate you would agree to?
- What intangible qualities do you expect an agent to possess?
- What is most important to you in your chosen real estate agent?
- What type of transaction are you pursuing: buying, selling, or both?
- What personal information would you like to communicate?
Once you’ve identified your priorities, you should prepare a list of questions to 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, 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 at the top of your list. Many of your less essential questions will likely get answered while the agent addresses your key concerns.
When 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 determine how the real estate agent made you feel during the interview. Did you get along well? Do 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 Pros and Cons 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 pros and cons list, but it is even easier to visualize how unique agents are when compared to one another. Be creative in how you make your diagram! It can take some pressure off while you work on making this big decision.
FAQ’s for people interviewing multiple agents:
Can You Hire Multiple Realtors?
While in theory, the answer is yes, you can hire multiple realtors, the truth is that it’s frowned upon. Many see working with multiple realtors as unethical or impolite.
Additionally, 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. Some realtors will also make you sign a contract of exclusivity so that legally you are only allowed to work with them.
Many realtors have the same tools for finding potential houses for your wants, so having multiple realtors will not speed up the process for you.
One caveat: if you are selling your property in one location and buying in a different location, you often need multiple realtors. In that case, be upfront with the agents and ensure full transparency.
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 sale and your home purchase.
If you choose to hire two real estate agents, 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. Prior to hiring an agent, thoroughly read the contract to understand the cancellation policy and any resulting consequences.
Oftentimes, there is a fee or payment for the time that the agent put into the process. Even if you did not like the services provided, it is always best to handle the situation with diplomacy and respect.
The Bottom Line
Top realtors are not hard to spot once you know what to look for.
You will learn a lot about them by researching them online, but you still need to interview each agent to learn everything you need to know. Interview at least three agents to ensure you make the best choice for the best price.
You should now be armed with all the information you need to interview multiple real estate agents. Go forth and find your perfect match!
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 and more realtors won’t agree to a shared client.
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.
Yes, you can change agents, but there can be some consequences.