How to interview your REALTOR®

Smart consumers interview potential real estate agents before deciding on which one to hire. 

Here are 7 of the questions one should consider asking looking to hire an agent.

1. How Long Have You Been in the Business?

There is nothing to say that freshly licensed agents aren't valuable. Much depends on whether they have access to competent brokers and the level of training they receive. Newer agents tend to have more time to concentrate on you.  They are excited and motivated to be working with clients. Some agents with 20 years of experience repeat their first year over and over. 

Don't base your decision necessarily on age or the number of years in the business. 

2. What is Your Best Marketing Plan or Strategy for My Needs?

As a BUYER you should be asking things like:·   How will you search for my new home?·   How many homes will I likely see before I find a home I want to buy? Will I be competing against other buyers?  How do you handle multiple offers? Do you present offers yourself? 

As a SELLER, you will need to know:·   Specifically, how will you sell my home?  What is and do you have a direct mail campaign?  Where and how often do you advertise? Will you show me a sample flyer?  How do you market me online?  What else do you offer that maybe other brokerages don't offer?

3. Look for TESTIMONIALS for that agent?

Everybody has testimonials. Even new agents. If not listed on their website, ask to see some.  

4. What Are the Top Three Things That Separate You From Your Competition?

A good agent won't hesitate to answer this question and will be ready to fire off why he/she is best suited for the job.·   Assertive·   Excellent negotiators·   Honesty·   Reliable·   Empathetic·   Available by phone or e-mail·   Good communicators·   Friendly·   Analytical·   Able to maintain a good sense of humor under trying circumstances.

5.  May I Review Documents Beforehand That I Will Be Asked to Sign?

A sign of a good professional is one who makes forms available to you for preview before you are required to sign them. If at all possible, ask for these documents upfront. If possible the best way is to have them email you what you will need to sign when they arrive and then that way you have read up and understand the forms and are prepared to sign up during the appointment.

As a buyer, ask for copies of the following:
  • Agency Disclosures  
  • Buyer Brokerage Agreement  
  • Purchase Agreement 
As a seller, ask to see:   
  • Agency Disclosure  
  •  Listing Agreement 

6. How Will You Help Me Find Other Professionals?

Let the real estate agent explain to you who they recommend and why. Most agents have a handful of people they can refer out to you. Your agent should be able to supply you with a list of mortgage specialists, home inspectors and lawyers, moving companies, etc.

7. What Haven't I Asked You That I Need to Know?

Pay close attention to how the real estate agent answers this question because there is always something you need to know, always. You want an agent to take her time with you -- to make sure you feel comfortable and secure with their knowledge and experience. They should know how to listen and how to counsel you, how to ask the right questions to find out what they need to know to better serve you.