When deciding on a real estate agent, it’s essential to find one that fits your needs and personality. You will likely work closely with this person for at least a few months, so it’s worth your time to find a realtor that you like working with and who does the job the way you would expect. The best want to do this is to come up with a list of questions to ask realtors.
We recommend interviewing anywhere from 4-6 real estate agents before deciding. This can be anything from a quick phone conversation to a sit-down meeting. Either way, there are some main real estate interview questions you should ask every agent before giving them the thumbs up or thumbs down.
Here are our recommended questions to ask a realtor during an interview:
- Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling a Home
- Questions to Ask a Realtor When Buying a Home
- Real Estate Agents Work For You
Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling a Home
1. How many homes have you sold in the area?
It is crucial to have an agent that is deeply familiar with the area they are working in. So asking how many properties an agent sold nearby is vital. You can do this by searching their real estate transactions.
If they are showing your home to potential buyers, there are going to be questions they’ll need to be able to answer. These questions can be about nearby amenities or what type of heating homes in the area have, how often trash is picked up or if races and parades ever go through the nearby streets.
If a listing agent hasn’t worked in the area before, they likely won’t know much about the home-buying process in that location
A good agent will also need to know when the best time to list is, what types of homes are in high demand, what the most essential repairs are, etc.
It also helps to have a local agent who knows city and county requirements as you go through the process.
2. How do you handle prep work and staging?
For many homes, some things need to be done before it can be listed. And some things need to be done before choosing a listing price.
Some agents take a significant role in getting an inspection and pulling together estimates. Some agents will let you decide what kind of work you want to put in the house before listing.
If it is a seller’s market versus a buyer’s market, this can mean different things for your work on your house before choosing a selling price. In a hot seller’s market, you likely won’t have to make many improvements and can still have an attractive asking price.
In a buyer’s market, you will likely have to make more upgrades and improvements before adding your home to the MLS (multiple listing service). Your real estate agent should know what the market is like in your area and help you with these decisions.
Make sure you know how each real estate agent operates when interviewing them so you can be sure it aligns with your expectations.
3. What marketing would you do for a home like mine?
Another one of the questions to ask a realtor is about marketing. In some locations, marketing can be the thing that makes or breaks a sale. When you interview a realtor, ask what they include in their fee and what would be out of pocket within their marketing strategy.
Some discount agents will cut out a lot of the marketing, like signage and open houses. Top real estate agents should go above and beyond with getting your property online and in front of potential buyers.
If, while interviewing the agent, they reveal that they don’t include some of the things you want, is it something they’d be willing to do? Make sure you understand and align expectations before deciding to move forward with them.
4. What is your idea of good communication with a client?
It is a common trait for an agent to be fond of communication. Many know how important it is to their clients that they provide regular updates. When interviewing an agent, understand what that means from their point of view.
A top real estate agent will always be available to their clients. But this can mean different things to different people.
How often should you expect to hear from them, and how quickly do they expect to respond to you when you reach out? Are they always willing to take a call, or are there specific times they will be unavailable?
Knowing how available a real estate agent will be will help you feel comfortable during those stressful waiting times.
5. What is your commission rate, or how much do you charge?
One thing to keep in mind when hiring a real estate agent is that you get what you pay for. As mentioned above, discount agents often cut their services when working on a real estate transaction.
Real estate agents work off of commission, so they get a percentage of the sale of the home. Think about this when choosing your listing price, agents typically cost between 4-6% of the final sale price.
A top real estate agent generally will be willing to discuss rates but will also expect to be paid a fair price for all the work they put in. Selling a home can take a lot of work from a listing agent. If you are willing to pay a little more in your closing costs, you may see a selling price that is higher than your asking price.
Be sure you and your listing agent are on the same page with cost and expectations before you decide to work with them.
Realtor Commission Calculator
Questions to Ask a Realtor When Buying a Home
1. How well do you know the area?
When interviewing a buyer’s agent, one of the essential questions to ask a realtor is how well they know the area you are looking to buy in.
Similar to a seller’s agent, you want to work with someone who can answer your questions about the neighborhoods you are looking to live in.
A real estate agent familiar with the area you want to live in will likely have the inside scoop. If they have been working in that location long, they’ll have a network of agents to reach out to who might be able to show you listings before they go live.
These top local agents will also be best at making recommendations for neighborhoods, school districts, places that are good for commuting, and other things that might be important to you.
They will also know the market and what is in demand. They’ll know how much contractors charge for specific repairs and upgrades in that area. This will help you know if a home that needs improvement can still work for your budget.
2. How many clients do you have at a time?
This can be an important question, especially during a busy season. Some agents will take on as many clients as possible, spreading themselves thin. This might make them hard to reach when you need to ask a question.
Agents that represent more buyers will generally take on more clients than ones that focus more on selling. This is because sellers usually demand more time to do the job well, while buyer’s agents can get away with less work.
You want an agent that will dedicate as much time to you as you feel you need.
3. How often will we be in touch?
Similar to a seller’s agent, when working with a buyer’s agent, you need to know what their communication style is and when you can expect to hear from them.
When purchasing a property, buyers generally want to know when new houses come on the market. Depending on how hot the market is, a buyer may expect their real estate agent to provide real-time updates on potentially desirable homes.
On the other side, once an offer is made on their dream home, most buyers expect a great agent to contact them anytime they get an update on where that offer stands. And once that offer is accepted, they should communicate all that is involved in closing costs.
A real estate agent who is hard to reach and isn’t proactively providing advice and updates might not be the best to go with.
4. What do I do if I’m not finding a property I love?
Another great question to ask real estate agents you interview is their strategy when the home search is dragging on. There are times in the market when buyers have difficulty finding or landing their dream home.
This doesn’t mean the buyer’s agent is doing anything wrong, it could just be that inventory is low in your desired area or homes are selling fast and above your budget.
If you aren’t seeing homes you want on the multiple listing service, where else will the agent look? Do they have a process of reaching out to homeowners to see if anyone is interested in selling? Do they have other agents in their agent’s network they can work with to find the right home?
If you ask a real estate agent this and they can’t give you a plan, think about how you’d like to proceed and see if they would be on board.
Real Estate Agents Work For You
Lastly, keep in mind that during the buying and selling process, you just want someone that you feel is on your side. You trust them with everything from listing price to closing costs and everything in between. Make sure you are comfortable with who they are and how they respond to challenges.
If you like an agent and want to take the next step, ask them to send over some client references. There is no better place to find out what a realtor is like to work with than past clients. And remember these questions to ask a realtor as you go through your interview.
Once you have all the necessary information, sit down and compare each agent. Note what answers you liked and didn’t like from the real estate interview questions.
If you like an agent that didn’t give you an answer you approve of, is that something a second conversation would fix?
At FastExpert, we make the first step to hiring and interviewing a real estate agent easy. We have a network of over 50,000 real estate agents in cities across the country. You can browse top agents in your area, read their profiles and check out past client reviews.
Remember, deciding what real estate agent to work with is entirely up to you. Take your time and make the right decision to feel good about the outcome.