Sensible clients will always take the time to interview potential real estate agents rather than just hiring the first one they find. It is so important to make your motivations and expectations clear to each Realtor® right off the bat. While you are asking an agent questions, they should be asking you questions as well. You wouldn’t pick just any random agent, and some of the best agents are the ones who are selective about their clients.
Interview the agent over the phone or meet with them at their office, but don’t ask them to come to your house. Additionally, be sure to limit your questions to only the most important ones to show that you are respectful of their time. With that being said, here are our top 5 most crucial questions to ask real estate agents.
1. How Much Experience Do You Have?
There’s nothing wrong with hiring a new agent. New agents likely will have more time to focus on you, however, there are a couple of aspects to consider when working with a new agent.
Are they currently working another job too? Having another job would definitely cut back on the time they can allot for your real estate needs. Additionally, it is important to find out whether or not they have a knowledgeable mentor to help advise them with any roadblocks they might come across.
Realtors® learn on the job, so the more transactions an agent has completed, the more experience they have. There are many additional certifications, seminars, and courses that Realtors® can complete, and there is no shame in asking about these as well.
2. Can You Provide Me With References?
Everyone needs references, and if they are not willing to provide them then it is safe to consider this a red flag. Even a brand new real estate agent should have references from past employers. If you are interviewing a more experienced agent, ask them if they can provide references from their past clients. If the real estate agent you are interviewing is extremely experienced, they might be offended if you ask them to provide you with references. For these more experienced agents, you can more than likely find their references and testimonials online.
3. What Is Your Commission Rate?
All Realtors® charge a commission to represent a client on either the buyer side, seller side, or both. These rates are usually between 1-4% for each side of a transaction. In our market it is common practice that the seller pays all commissions; typically at a rate of 6-7%. Most top agents do not negotiate their commission because they do offer full-time services to exceed client expectations and work for them around the clock, making their time very valuable and typically leading to the highest net for their seller clients and most savings/pre-market opportunities for their buyer clients. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for – especially in your real estate agent.
4. What Sets You Aside From Other Agents?
A good agent will be confident and have no hesitation when it comes to this question. Everyone has different standards and expectations, so it is important to find an agent who aligns with your personal morals. Some agents might respond that they are an excellent negotiator, trustworthy, reliable, or easy to reach/communicate with over text, etc. At the end of the day, it all depends on finding an agent with the qualities you are looking for.
5. Are You Planning to Help Me Find Other Professionals?
Your Realtor® should be able to present you with a list of professionals they recommend for services such as home inspectors, title companies, and mortgage brokers. Ask the agent why they prefer these specific professionals. If you see the word “affiliated” anywhere on the list, be careful because oftentimes this means the agent and broker are receiving a referral payment or compensation of some sort if they convince their client to use the professional’s services. You could possibly be paying a premium for these services, so make sure to do your own research as well to find out how much these services run on average.