Essential Interview Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent


|14 min read

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When deciding on a real estate agent, finding one that fits your needs and personality is essential. 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 key 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:

interviewing a real estate agent

Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling a Home

You should look for specific things in a selling agent that might not be as important in an agent who is just helping you buy. These questions will help you determine if an agent will meet your needs and get you the price you are hoping for. Try these questions to ask a real estate agent.

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. You can also search FastExpert’s real estate agent directory for reviews and sales history of top realtors in your area.

If a realtor is 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.

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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. Other agents will let you decide what kind of work you want to put into 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 make or break 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 to get your property online and in front of potential buyers.

While interviewing the agent, if they reveal that they don’t include some of the things you want ask if it is something they’d be willing to do. Make sure you understand and align expectations before deciding to move forward with them.

Questions to ask a realtor

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.

>>MORE: Finding local agents is easy with FastExpert

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


6. What is your timeline for selling my home?

Every real estate agent will have a goal for how quickly they think a home like yours can sell. There are many factors to setting this timeline. If your agent knows the market, they should be able to accurately estimate the timing.

Inquire about the agent’s process for setting and achieving a timeline for selling the client’s home. This is a science and will show you how well your agent knows your specific situation.

7. What is your process for negotiating on behalf of my home?

Most real estate deals include some back and forth with the other party. Negotiation is normal as both the buyer and seller want specific things and their agent’s job is to get it for them.

As a seller, you want to be sure you align with your agent’s way of doing things. So be sure to ask about their style and how they handle negotiations. The agent’s approach to negotiating with potential buyers can be critical to their client receiving the best possible deal for their home.

8. Can you provide references from past clients?

There is really no better way to know how an agent works than to talk to people that have worked with them in the past. The importance of references is that you get first-hand information from someone who really knows.

An agent will usually focus only on the good stuff, and clients will usually also include the not-so-good stuff. Be sure to encourage the agent to provide references from past clients to establish trust and credibility.

If they have nothing to hide, giving past client references shouldn’t be a problem.

9. How will you handle showings, open houses, and buyer feedback?

Be sure to ask potential agents how they will manage the logistics of showings and open houses. Also, get their plan on how they will gather and communicate feedback from potential buyers to the client.

Both of these speak to the communication style of your potential agent. You want to be sure that you are getting all of the information you need so you can live comfortably through the sale process or make necessary changes. A miscommunication could cost you a sale. So this is very important.

Questions to Ask a Realtor When Buying a Home

A buyer’s agent must be active through the entire buying process or risk missing out on a great home for their client. Try these questions in your agent interview to find out if an agent will accomplish what you’re hoping for. These are great things to ask a realtor.

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.

>>Got Questions? Ask a Licensed Real Estate Agent for Advice

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.

>>MORE: Can you trust your agent?

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 network that they can work with to find the right home?

If you ask a realtor 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.

>>MORE: Qualities of a Successful Realtor

5. Will you help me with any issues or problems that may arise during the home inspection or appraisal?

It’s common. You fall in love with a house, put in an offer, and eventually get accepted. Then comes the appraisal and home inspection. This is always a nerve-wracking time for buyers and sellers. What if the inspector finds something wrong with the home that will very expensive to fix? What if the home is appraised for well below what you agreed to pay?

The goal of asking agents this question is to determine the agent’s role in supporting you during this process. You want them to be present during the home inspection and appraisal process and know how they will address any issues or problems that arise.

6. Are you familiar with the type of home I’m looking for?

It is important to work with an agent who has experience and knowledge of the specific type of home you’re is looking for. They will be able to help you look for areas of concern and things to look out for. They will also know more about the care of the home as well as what it takes to get an offer accepted for a home like you are looking for.

7. How do you negotiate offers and counteroffers?

As we’ve mentioned, negotiating is a big part of the home buying and selling process. You want a realtor that will handle negotiations in the way you are comfortable and happy with.

Every agent has their own style and set of unspoken rules. Ask the agent to describe their approach to negotiating with potential buyers, including their strategy for handling counteroffers.

This will help you feel comfortable that they will handle this situation well.

8. How do you ensure a smooth closing process?

It’s important to understand the agent’s process for managing the closing process. This includs their role in resolving any issues that arise and ensuring a smooth transaction.

Remember, this is likely something you don’t do a lot. But your agent should be well versed in home closing.

Real Estate Agents Work For You

Lastly, keep in mind that during the buying and selling process, you 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 client references. There is no better place to find out what a realtor is like to work with than previous 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. 

Real Estate Experts

FastExpert is a real estate agent directory that ranks agents by location according to client ratings and past home sales history. Our goal is to give you all the information you need to choose the right real estate agent for your needs. Users can search by specific traits that are important to them as well as see specific addresses of homes agents have sold in the past.

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