Oct 29, 2018
Hiring A Real Estate Agent? Ask These 6 Questions First
If you're in the market for a real estate agent, you've probably heard that you should interview a few before hiring the one that works best for you. However, sometimes that's easier said than done. You may be wondering what you should ask during the interview and what qualities to look for in a good agent.
If that's the case, you're in luck. We've listed six questions aimed at helping you find the real estate agent that's right for you. Feel free to ask these of the agents you interview and to make your own evaluations before settling on who to hire.
How long have they been licensed?
In real estate, experience means a lot. Though there are no guarantees in life, if you hire an experienced agent, there's a better chance that they've seen it all before. They'll be more familiar with how to walk you through the buying or selling process and how to handle any problems that may crop up during the course of your transaction.
This is not to say that you shouldn't give newer real estate agents a chance. However, if you're looking at a newer agent, you may want to take this question a step further. Ask them if they're working with a team or mentor of some sort. In this case, you just want to get reassurance that they have someone to turn to in the event that your transaction ends up being out of the ordinary.
How many transactions have they done so far this year?
In vetting a real estate agent's experience level, the next thing you should ask is how many transactions they've done so far this year. The exact number doesn't matter as much as the impression that you get of how well they're doing at keeping business consistent.
Ideally, you'll want to go with someone who works in the industry consistently, rather than part-time or sporadically. Odds are, they'll have more expertise to loan you as you work together toward buying or selling your home.
Do they seem to know the area?
At the end of the day, you want an agent who knows the area well because that enables you to quickly get answers to some important questions. Questions such as what school district you're in and how much you should expect to pay in property taxes can make a big difference in your willingness to purchase a particular property. The sooner you have that information, the better.
Are they available when I need them?
There's no getting around it, real estate is a tough job when it comes to the hours. Agents have to be available during business hours to handle the logistics of the transaction and after work to meet with clients. That said, though, it's a necessary evil. A good agent will make sure that they're available during both these times to handle problems with your transaction as they arise.
Ask yourself: Does your agent seem easy to reach? (Within reason, remember, agents are only human.) If the agent that you're working for seems to never be available when you need them or to have a slew of other commitments that keep them from working with you, that could be a sign that you should look elsewhere.
Do they have experience with my type of transaction?
This is less of a concern if you're simply buying or selling a residential property or primary residence. However, if you're buying a specialty type of real estate such as a commercial building or investment property, you're going to want to go with an agent who has experience in that arena. This goes two-fold if you have your heart set on doing a specialty type of sale like a short sale or foreclosure.
Put simply, these transactions have unique procedures and concerns in which not every real estate agent is well-versed. You want someone who knows what they're about to get into so that you feel like you have an expert to turn to when you have questions.
Do they seem to have my best interest in mind?
A good real estate agent isn't there to just "yes" you through the entire process. He or she is there to be your guide through the transaction and that includes pointing out the good, the bad, and the ugly, even when you may not want to hear it. If you can find an agent that does just that, you know you'll be in good hands throughout the transaction.
Buyers should be aware that real estate agents aren't supposed to give you their opinion on whether or not to purchase a property. That part of the decision-making process is entirely up to you. However, good agents will point out their concerns about a property in order to make sure that you're aware of them before making an offer. Listen to see if your agent includes a variety of feedback on a property or only highlights the positive traits.
Sellers, on the other hand, should focus on how their agent talks about list price. Unfortunately, a good agent may tell you that your desired list price is unrealistic. Either way, he or she will come armed with a comparative market analysis to help show you what the fair market value of your home might be.
Do I have a good feeling about them?
Ultimately, you're the only one who truly knows whether a particular real estate agent is a good fit for you or not. Make sure you do your homework and interview at least three agents before hiring anyone in order to get a true sense of the professionals that are available to you. However, after that, you have to trust your gut. Go with the person who you feel will serve you best during the course of your relationship with them.