It's always a good idea to interview multiple agents before deciding to sign a listing agreement.
Asking questions will help you gauge their experience level, areas of expertise, and personality, all three of which are vital when it comes to achieving your home selling goals — and having a good experience along the way.
If you're interested in speaking with top-rated real estate agents in your area, Clever can help.
In the meantime, we've compiled a list of seven important questions you should ask during an interview to ensure you make the best possible decision.
1. What Is Your Area Of Focus?
Realtors often specialize in a particular type of real estate or location. To determine where your potential agent's expertise lies, ask this common interview question and you'll be able to know right off the bat if the agent will fit your needs.
The area should relate to the city or neighborhood of interest. The answer will give you an idea of how many local transactions they have done. It's advised you ask how many homes they have sold in a particular area in the last year.
Ideally, the area will also include the type of property you're interested in buying or selling — condo, recreational, luxury, fixer-upper, and brand new.
Real estate agents often specialize in just one of two types of property. If your agent is a pro at selling or buying condos, ask to see examples of last year's condo closings and listings.
2. Are You A Full-Time Real Estate Agent?
There are plenty of good agents that only work in real estate part-time. However, many of these agents just haven't had the time to build up their knowledge, expertise, and contacts within the industry.
With less practice comes less skill, meaning a part-time agent might not be as well versed in marketing or negotiating, leaving your home languishing on listing sites or selling for less than its worth.
Inexperienced agents may not know the best way to prepare a home for sale. They might miss details such as condo association regulations, transfer tax fees, or disclosure requirements.
You want somebody seasoned who knows all facets of the real estate market and who has more than a few transactions under their belt.
3. How Many Clients Are You Currently Working With?
The higher the number, the more you should question whether the agent will have enough time to properly address your real estate needs.
On the flip side, if the answer is zero, that could be a red flag that this particular agent might not have the experience or level of success you're looking for.
You shouldn't judge an agent only by their number. However, you should feel comfortable asking some follow-up questions to get an explanation, and the agent should be confident in their answers.
4. Can You Provide References?
Possibly the most vital real estate interview tip — ask for the contact info of the agent's last three clients they worked with.
This is your chance to get some honest feedback since the agent can't go way back in time to select particular clients. Call up each reference to determine if the agent is as professional as his or her cover letter states.
Don't hesitate to do your own investigating via a quick Google search. People know how to speak their minds on the internet. Fortunately, most agents have online reviews that speak volumes to their real estate industry prowess.
5. What Is Your Marketing Strategy?
A “for sale” sign staked in the front yard is great but is pretty easy to do yourself and only captures a minimal audience.
Most skilled realtors implement various internet marketing tools, MLS, and a personal network. These tactics are essential in getting exposure for your home.
Will your home be posted on Multiple Listing Service? What about social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram? Does this agent offer online virtual tours and will he or she be readily available to host an open house?
People will determine their interests in your house solely based on the online images and descriptions.
Many agents often forget that “marketing strategist” is part of their job description.
6. What Is Your Average List-To-Sale-Price Ratio?
The agent's list-to-sale-price ratio tells you how close the agent has come to garnering the original asking price.
Remember, the agent's average ratio depends on the market. An excellent buyer's agent can negotiate sales prices that are lower than the list price for the buyers.
A competent listing agent should also keep a personal track record of negotiating sales prices that are very close to the home seller's desired price.
Ideally, you're looking for numbers close to 100% but keep in mind, sizzling markets can skew the picture. Rate is key but make sure to look at it from a holistic perspective.
7. Will You Help Me Find Other Professionals?
Let the real estate agent explain to you which professionals they choose to work with and why.
The agent should be able to provide you with a healthy list of contacts–everything from mortgage brokers to home inspection services to title companies to roofers.
Be on the look-out for the term "affiliated", as this can signal a paid partnership between the agent and vendor.
Don't Forget to Ask Yourself Questions, Too
After covering these pertinent real estate agent interview questions, be sure to check in with yourself as well.
Would you feel comfortable working with this real estate agent? Do they seem like they have the specific skills and expertise you're looking for?
Be wary of agents who don't ask you questions and probe you for your motivations, desires, and goals.
Just as you're not about to work with any random agent, good agents will also be selective about their clients.
If your real estate agent takes time to listen to your goals, offers his or her own perspective instead of absent-mindedly agreeing, and explains a plan of action to accomplish your goals, then you know you've found a good agent.
Find a Top-Rated Local Agent & Save Thousands
The good news is that finding a great real estate agent doesn't have to be difficult. When you work with Clever, we connect you with top-rated local real estate agents from major brands and regional brokerages (Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX, and more).
Our Partner Agents are full service, meaning they'll guide you through the entire home selling process and ensure you get the best possible outcome on your sale.
What's more, our Partner Agents have agreed to offer Clever clients significant discounts compared to their standard rates. Our Partners will list and sell your home for a flat fee of $3,000, or just 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000.
Want to learn more? Get in touch for more information and to connect with one or more of our local Partner Agents for a no-obligation interview and consultation.
Top FAQs for People Interviewing Real Estate Agents
1. What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?
A real estate broker has taken and passed a broker license exam and is able to own a real estate agency. The broker can have other agents work for their agency, while a real estate agent can only work with home buyers and sellers and is not allowed to employee other agents.
2. Should I use a realtor to sell my home?
You should implement the help of a realtor to sell your home because the selling process is lengthy, time consuming, and involves legal paperwork, documentation, and more. A realtor is a licensed professional who is experienced in home sales and will offer invaluable guidance during your home selling process.
3. Should I use the same realtor to buy and sell a house?
You should not use the same realtor to buy and sell the same home. The real estate agent must represent both the buyers' and sellers' best intentions and, as a dual agent, will not be legally able to disclose certain information to each party. You will not get as much as you need from an agent who represents both parties.
4. Should you find a real estate agent or mortgage lender first?
Potential home buyers should find a real estate agent before sourcing a mortgage lender. The home buying process is often lengthy and partnering with a knowledgeable real estate agent can make or break your home buying transaction.