5 Questions To Ask Your Real Estate Agent, Part 1

by Sundaybell on July 24, 2012

Finding a good real estate agent can be difficult, but knowing what questions to ask could make your search a whole lot easier. Keep in mind that what you’re really doing is interviewing candidates for a job, so ask the right questions to determine which agent is the right one for you!

1. How long have you been a real estate agent?

Having an experienced agent in your corner can make all the difference when you’re buying or selling property. Look for one with at least 5 years experience.

2. What is your average list-price-to-sales-price ratio?

I know – what does this even mean? It’s actually not as complicated as it sounds. What it boils down to is this: a good buyer’s agent should be able to negotiate a lower sales price than the list price, while a good listing agent will negotiate sales prices that are very close to the list prices. Therefore, listing agents should have higher ratios closer to 100% and buyers’ real estate agent ratios should fall below 99%.

3. How many sales have you closed in my target areas?

You want someone who knows the neighborhood(s) and has had some experience with buying and/or selling there. A good real estate agent will have extensive knowledge of the areas they deal in and be able to tell you about some of the properties they’ve handled there.

4. How do you plan to sell my home or find my ideal property?

Your real estate agent should present you with a plan about how they’re going sell your home or help you find one. As a buyer, you need to know:

  • How will you search for my new home?
  • How many homes will I likely see before I find a home I want to buy?
  • Will I be competing against other buyers?
  • How do you handle multiple offers?
  • Do you present offers yourself?

As a seller, you need to know:

  • Specifically, how will you sell my home?
  • What is your direct mail campaign?
  • Where and how often do you advertise?
  • Will you show me a sample flyer?
  • How do you market online?

5.    What additional services can you provide?

Your real estate agent will provide a number of services that you may need, such as arranging for home-staging, home inspections, preparing the purchase or sales agreements, etc. Ask about all the services available to you; if you feel you don’t need them all, use this as leverage to negotiate the agent’s fee down. Furthermore, ask if your real estate agent can help with other related services such as finding a good lawyer for the closing or a reliable lender for your mortgage. Good agents have lots of connections to reputable firms in such industry related services.

Buying and selling real estate is a serious business and getting the right real estate agent is absolutely essential to a successful outcome. This is part 1 of a 2-part article on questions you should ask a real estate agent to help you decide who you want to work with.

If you liked part 1, let us know! We would love to hear from you.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John Helfrich January 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Speaking as a Toronto Real Estate agent with over 25 years full-time experience, I think you’ve written a great article! I would only add a couple of qualifiers. In ‘how long have you been a real estate agent, I think it’s crucial that you stress ‘full-time’ experience. Hiring a part-time agent is a bad idea – anytime. In points 4 and 5, I recommend that everyone asks for a WRITTEN marketing plan. It will spell out the answers to questions 4 and 5 and it holds the agent accountable for performance.


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