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Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent, Ask These 5 Questions

It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a house or if you want to sell one, you don’t want to do it alone. A top-selling real estate agent plays an essential role in facilitating the transaction and it’s crucial that you choose the best agent in your area. But… How do you know if an agent is worth your business? 

You may have come across many tips for interviewing a real estate agent, but these are the most important questions you should ask before hiring one.

1. “How many years have you been in the industry?”

After doing the same job for years, you’re going to have a better understanding of the industry, so it’s important that you hire an agent who’s been in the business for a while. Yes, this doesn’t mean that every seasoned agent you meet with is going to be the agent for you, nor does it mean every new agent is going to be clueless. Both have their benefits. 

A seasoned agent will have more professional connections and will know their local market like the back of their hand. A new agent may not have these things, but they’re much more likely to have the drive to go above and beyond to ensure you’re a satisfied client who could refer them to other people. 

You have the tough task of choosing which you prefer working with, but that’s where the rest of these questions can help.

2. “What’s your average ratio for listing price vs. sales price?” 

This question is particularly good for those looking to sell because obviously, you want an agent who sold more houses at or above the asking price than having sold houses below the asking price. During the interview, you’ll probably give the agent general information about your home and they may give you a ballpark listing price. If you wanted to get an idea of how much you could make on the sale, you could use a net proceeds calculator

If you’re a buyer, this ratio should be reversed because it’s a good sign that the agent has great negotiating skills and can get you the best deal possible. 

3. “Do you have any references I can contact?”

References are important when you’re interviewing any professional service provider. When you’re talking to an agent, ask them if they have a few references they could share. If they do, take your time to reach out to the person after the interview and ask them about their experience working with that agent. 

4. “What’s your marketing strategy?”

In light of the pandemic, real estate agents have used various tools to conduct business. These tools include video conferencing, 3D tours, and virtual open houses. You’ll want to ask the prospective agent what their marketing strategy would be for your home (if you’re selling). Some agents will use Facebook groups to get the word out or they’ll use old fashioned methods like direct mail fliers. 

Oh! Don’t forget to ask about how often they’ll market your property! You don’t want someone who’ll only advertise your property once or twice and that’s all.

5. “How long do I have to review documents before signing?”

Before you sign anything, ask them if you have to sign them right away or if you can take the documents with you to review them. You don’t want to sign something that you’ll regret later down the road. A good agent should be willing to review the documents before signing them. If the agent refuses to give you time to review them… You might want to cross that particular agent off of your list. 

Buying or selling a property is a huge deal and you want to make sure you hire the best person for the job! These are just the very basic (but important) questions you should ask a real estate agent. We know that the idea of talking to numerous real estate agents before hiring one is intimidating, but it’s not a decision you should make on a whim. You need to weigh your options carefully because hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line!

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