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Getting Real with Your Agent: Questions to Ask a Potential Real Estate Agent

Getting Real with Your Agent: Questions to Ask a Potential Real Estate Agent

Whether you are in the market to buy or sell a home, one thing is certain: you want a real estate agent on your side that is looking out for your best interests; that you know you can trust; and, that you can stand talking to!

When it comes to your real estate transaction, consider yourself to be a boss, who is hiring an agent to perform a very specific task for you… helping you buy or sell a home. How do you find the right person for the job?

Of course, getting recommendations from family and friends is a great place to start, but you absolutely should talk with a few agents before selecting who is best suited to help you. Here are a few of the questions you may want to ask a potential real estate agent during an interview:

1. Do you have a specialty?

Before you delve deep into a working relationship with a real estate agent, find out if they have a certain specialty that may give you an edge. Some agents may specialize in selling single-family homes, commercial properties or short sales. If you’re looking for a certain specialty, ask about it!

2. How familiar are you with my neighborhood?

In order to best represent you and your home or find you a new home, your real estate agent should know all of the perks about living in your neighborhood or the one you may desire. Sure, if you’re selling, you can fill them in on why you loved living there; but, it certainly helps when an agent already has an intimate connection with your neck of the woods.

3. Are you doing double duty?

Real estate agents are able to represent buyers, sellers or both parties. An agent who not only lists a home, but also finds the buyer, will pocket the entire commission price that goes along with the sale. Similarly, if you’re looking for a home to buy and your agent points you to a home that they have listed, they will pocket the entire commission. That agreement is OK, but if your agent is representing both parties, you may have the latitude to negotiate that commission a bit. If you’re not OK with dual agency, find an agent that will work solely for you.

4. How do you plan to advertise for me and keep me informed?

In today’s real estate market, there are many ways to get your home on the forefront of listings. Most buyers spend a lot of time searching online before they even consider driving by a place that they may be interested in. If you’re selling, make sure your agent is working diligently to give your home as much exposure as possible. If you’re buying, you want to make sure your agent is staying on top of new homes that hit the market.

It is also important to find a real estate agent that will communicate with you throughout the entire process. A busy agent is great, but not if they don’t have the time to let you know how the process is working for you.

5. How long will our contract last?

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it is not uncommon for a real estate contract to last anywhere from three months to a year. Consider your timeline for buying or selling your home before you agree to any length of time to work with an agent.

6. What is your sales record?

If you’re selling a home, this question should be particularly important to you. Ask a potential real estate agent about their last month, their last few months or their last year. While it won’t give you any specific success rate for your home, it will give you a good idea of their history of successful home sales. And, that may give you some peace of mind as you move forward with your decision!

7. On average, how long does it take you sell a home?

This is also a big question for sellers. Along the same lines as an agent’s sales record is the typical length of time that it may take them to sell a home. To be fair, be sure to also ask how their sales timeline falls in line with the rest of the market’s trend.

8. Do homes that you represent typically sell for asking price?

Of course, every seller wants to get the most for their home. While it may seem like you’re being tough on a potential real estate agent, you want one who will help you find and set the best price. And, yes, that means the best price for you and a competitive price for potentials buyers. Don’t be afraid to ask what may seem like a hard question. An experienced agent should have these facts ready for you.

9. In your opinion, is my home ready to sell?

As a seller or buyer, you absolutely want your real estate agent to be honest with you. So, sellers: feel free to ask them up front if they believe your home is ready to list or if there are improvements you could make to better your chances of attracting buyers. You also want to find out how your home should be staged to best show in front of potential buyers. You may not always love to hear their answers; but, you certainly want them to be honest with you.

10. Can you recommend other resources to help me during the selling or buying process?

During this time, you likely will not only need the assistance of your real estate agent, but you may also need the professional services of a lender, home inspector or other repair specialist. Don’t be afraid to tap in to your real estate agent’s knowledge of the area or the business. Many agents have a list of service providers on-hand that they would love to share with their clients.

BONUS Question: What haven’t I already asked that I still need to know?

There are a multitude of questions that you can ask a potential real estate agent. The good news is that most real estate agents want their buyers and sellers to make an informed decision about using their services; so, they are happy to “sell” themselves to you. Give them the chance to shine!

The above list should give you a great start to finding a real estate agent who is a perfect match for your buying or selling needs. Use our Compatibility Matcher to find a Prudential Preferred Realty agent who can help with your buying or selling needs today.