Whether you’re looking to purchase a new home or put your current home on the market, choosing a real estate agent is a big decision. Your agent is the person that’s going to walk you through the process of buying or selling your home, beginning to end. They’re the person who you’ll need to trust to go to bat for you and negotiate the best deals, the person who will recommend when to move on a deal and when to pass and the person that will handle the crazy amount of logistical details involved in any real estate transaction.
Since your real estate agent is going to play such a huge part in the success of your real estate endeavor, it’s important to talk to multiple agents before deciding who’s going to be the person to help you buy or sell your home.
Here are 5 questions to ask when choosing a real estate agent that will help you get the right person in your corner for the buying or selling process:
1. What kind of property do you specialize in?
There are many types of properties, and as such, there are many types of real estate agents. Just because an agent has a great track record of selling commercial properties on the outskirts of the city doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to find you a great deal on a single family home towards city center.
Talk to your potential real estate agent and ask what area of real estate they specialize in. You want to work with someone who specializes in the type of property you’re looking to buy or sell in the market that you’re buying or selling in.
2. How many clients are you representing at the moment?
The more clients an agent is representing, the less time they’re going to have to devote to you. There are a limited number of hours per day, and if your real estate agent is juggling too many clients, they’re likely to run out of hours before they do everything you need them to do.
While there’s no hard and fast rule for how many clients or listings is too many, have an open conversation about your real estate agent’s workload and their capacity to take on new clients. You might like an agent and think they’d do a great job of representing you, but if they don’t have the bandwidth, you’re not going to get the attention you deserve.
3. Are you a full-time real estate is this more of a side gig?
For similar reasons to the previous question, you’ll want to avoid working with a real estate agent who views real estate as a side gig. If your agent has another job (or jobs), that means they have another set of obligations that have nothing to do with their real estate business. These competing obligations might make your real estate agent less invested than someone who works in real estate full time.
4. Can you provide contact information for a few recent clients to act as references?
A huge part of being a successful real estate agent is being able to sell – and that extends beyond homes. Real estate agents are experts at selling themselves and their services, and it can be easy to get caught up in their sales pitch and sign with them before you have the information you need to make the best decision.
Ask your potential real estate agent if they can put you in touch with a few past clients. Talking to other buyers or sellers who have worked with the agent in the past can give you an objective idea of what it might be like to work with them, what they do well and areas where they might struggle.
5. Why should I work with you instead of Agent A, Agent B or Agent C?
There’s a lot of real estate agents out there, which means you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to choosing the agent to represent you as you buy or sell your home. When you’re interviewing agents, ask them what sets them apart from the competition. What makes them unique? How do they go above and beyond for their clients? How will the skills they bring to the table benefit you during the buying or selling process?
You want to work with the best, so be sure to ask your agent what about them that puts them in that category.
When choosing a real estate agent, make sure to do your homework and ask plenty of questions to gather the information that you’ll need to make the decision that’s going to be best for you and your real estate goals. Your real estate agent is going to be a big part of your life during the buying or selling process and choosing the right person can mean the difference between a phenomenal and a cringe-worthy experience.