There are certain behaviors you should expect in a real estate agent, especially a good one. Nobody wants to get a bad real estate agent when buying or selling but as with anything we purchase, a real estate agent should be interviewed so you know what you're getting, you know how to communicate, and you'll know if this is the right agent to help you buy or sell.
(Sidenote: you should always use a real estate agent would buying real estate, not just selling. You need an agent on your side throughout the transaction and it is completely free to use an agent when buying a property. The agent gets paid from the sale commission of whichever home you choose so never go in buying a property without your own buyer representation)
So, what kind of questions do you ask a real estate agent or Realtor? Can you interview multiple ones? What are some key questions or red flags that will tell you this is not the agent for you? Here are some great questions when interviewing potential real estate agents whether you are buying or selling.
#1. How long have you been selling real estate?
All real estate agents must be licensed, therefore they must have education in order to get their license, however, that doesn't mean there a great real estate agent. Nothing beats experience. Years if not decades of real estate experience, especially full time, will put you in a better position if odd things happen, which they often do in real estate transactions.
#2. Are you a full-time agent?
Many real estate professionals simply get in the business because they think they're going to make millions of dollars, but in actuality, only the top 10% make over six figures a year. This is usually because agents have side jobs, full-time jobs elsewhere, or there only getting in the business to buy or sell their own homes. Make sure you are working with an agent that does this full time.
#3. How many homes have you sold over the last year?
Listing houses is much different than selling houses. If an agent has listed 20 homes but only four of them have sold, either they are pricing them wrong, the markets way out of whack, where they have no idea what they are doing.
#4. How often does it take you to sell a house?
If the property has been on the market for 6 to 8 months without any movement, reduction in price, or interest, there's something that someone is doing wrong here.
#5. How many transactions do you like to take on at a time?
This is a good indication of a real estate agent's success. If they have one transaction, chances are they're not a top producing agent, but if they have over 20 transactions at once without an assistant or real estate team, they may not have the time you need for your transaction.
#6. How do you communicate?
You want to make sure that the real estate agent communicates with you in a timely manner and on the platform you prefer. Is that a phone call, text, email, or in person? Being in communication, even when you don't reach out, it's important to staying on top of the latest listings, potential buyers, and the right property.
#7. How do you determine the price of the house?
This is for buyers and sellers. Sellers need to understand how one agent will come up with a list price and if it matches comparable properties on the market and buyers want to know that they are not overpaying for a home. Make sure the agent understands your neighborhood in which you are buying or selling very well so they can price things correctly or let you know if things are overpriced or you're getting a great deal.
#8. Can I talk to previous customers?
Referrals and references are a great way to understand how one agent works, even if an agent only gives you who they think will give them a great review. Many previous clients will rave about an agent online, but in person they may be more tempted to be transparent about issues they may have had during the transaction.