According to the National Associations of Realtor’s 2022 Report on Home Buyer and Sellers, a whopping 67% of buyers only spoke with one agent when looking to hire a buyer’s agent.
I get it… but I also don’t get it!
Before I worked as a real estate agent, I just didn’t understand everything that goes into representing someone as a buyer’s agent.
From understanding their needs and wants, to turning over every stone to find the home they’re looking for, to writing a contract with favorable terms, to explaining the risks and benefits with each decision they make, to coordinating a handful of different parties to make one transaction happen… it’s a lot. And unfortunately… more agents than you’d probably like to know are doing the bare minimum.
Are you wondering what questions to ask a real estate agent when you call? Let’s talk about questions for real estate agents.
If you would like me to interview and recommend a great real estate agent to you anywhere in the US, click here!
So what can you ask a real estate agent to make sure you’re finding someone who will go to work for you? Make sure you interview at least 3 different agents, and here are the 10 questions I recommend you ask a buyer’s agent before selecting who will represent you:
Questions to ask the Realtor or real estate agent:
Every agent was new at some point, so there’s no hate to new agents here. But if they are a newer agent, you want to make sure they are being mentored by a more seasoned real estate agent.
When I first started, the advice was to just get working. Find a client and learn as you go. But I didn’t feel comfortable pretending to be knowledgeable about something I was still getting started in. So I elected to work as an executive assistant to a top producing agent in our brokerage. We handled nearly 100 transactions in our time working together, and I was able to gain the experience that a new agent would spend years gaining (the average first year agent sells (or buys) 1.2 homes in their first year).
There are benefits to working with newer agents. For one, they are highly motivated and not yet burned out by the 24/7 demands of being a real estate agent. They also have a smaller client load and can spend more time with you during peak house hunting hours (like evenings and weekends) and are more likely to return your texts and calls quickly.
But when a wrench is thrown into your home buying plans, you want the problem solving abilities of a seasoned agent to be able to step in and lend a hand. So when asking this question to find your real estate agent, learn whether they are new or seasoned, and if they are newer do they have the support they need to lean on?
If there’s anything we learned from the last few years in real estate- it’s that it matters how available your agent is. If you didn’t see a home on day 1, you likely didn’t have a chance at getting it. Thankfully the market has cooled in recent months, but when you’ve found a house you love it will suddenly really matter that your agent answers your texts and calls and that they are available to show it to you.
You need to ask your real estate agent this question. If you can only view homes on nights and weekends and your agent wants to have a 9-5 schedule, this probably isn’t a good fit. If Saturday is the only day your whole family can be available to view together, and your agent only works Sundays… you get the point. Figure this out before getting too invested in a real estate agent.
This one goes with the last one. Just because someone is working as a real estate agent, that doesn’t mean that it’s their only job. Actually lots of agents keep their day job while trying to see if they can make real estate a full time gig. While I don’t believe this fact alone should determine whether or not you choose them to be your real estate agent, you should definitely ask this question.
Being in real estate is an on call job. I never know when my phone is going to ring with a crisis, and it’s important I am available to help my clients through whatever issues arise. Ask your potential agent how they will be able to serve you when they are working another job, if that’s the case.
This is a great question to ask because it’s going to show you their heart. No one is going to come outright and tell you they got in it because it doesn’t require a college degree and they can make a six figure income. But how they answer this question might reveal that to you anyways.
What is their big why for doing this job? At least part of their answer should be about helping people. Some days the emotional toll of being in such a high stakes transaction doesn’t feel worth it- and if I didn’t do it to help my clients I don’t know I would have the stamina to keep doing the job at a high level.
A good real estate agent should be an expert in their town. Asking this question will give you a good idea about the insight they are able to offer you. This is especially important to learn if you are new to town yourself. You want to make sure you’re working with someone who is not only knowledgable about the area, but also passionate about helping you get to know the area.
The market is always changing, and just knowing whether or not it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market isn’t quite enough information to help you make informed decisions. Make sure your agent can identify what is going on in the market currently, how it affects you as a buyer, and what their strategy is to help you navigate these challenges. In any market, there will always be people who need to buy, and the right agent can make that happen with the right tools and strategies.
Most buyers don’t know that the first step when working with an agent should be to have a consultation. Most buyers choose to find a house they would like to see, then call a real estate agent, and begin to work together. Sometimes this is just how it plays out- but there’s so much more to buying a house than just taking tours and writing offers. Ask your real estate agent if they will sit down with you to go over the whole process and answer questions. This sets everyone up for a successful buying experience.
Sitting down and talking with a real estate agent is the best way to build a relationship and get a home buying plan in place. But you’re going to leave that office really excited and informed… and then go back to life and forget everything you talked about. OR you’re trying to find a real estate agent from out of town and having a face-to-face meeting might not be an option. But your agent should have resources (AKA guides) for you to take with you and refer back to throughout the process. Where does the earnest money go? Oh yeah- let me check the guide.
Some agents choose to specialize as a listing agent (they help sell your home) or buyer’s agents (they help you buy a home). You don’t need a separate license for buying or selling, and most real estate agents practice both. Depending on your situation, you might like a real estate agent who specializes in a certain area. For example, in my real estate career I have chosen to specialize in relocation. I love helping people move from far away and I spend most of my time doing that in my job. I do offer a more specific set of knowledge that other agents who primarily list homes may not have. Ask your real estate agent how many buyers and sellers they serve each year, and whether or not they specialize in a certain area.
No one wants to ask it… but you need to know! Some buyer agency agreements specify the timeline you will be working together, how your agent will be paid, and what happens if you decide to terminate the relationship. Make sure you understand these 3 components to this question. Many buyer agency agreements outline a timeframe of apx. 6 months, but allow the agreement to be terminated by either party at any time. Some agents choose to be paid only by the commission offered by the seller, but some ask their buyer clients to make up part or all of the commission in some circumstances (like buying a house that is listed without a listing agent). This agreement is to protect both you and the buyer’s agent, but you do need to understand what it’s saying before you sign it.
If you’ve been wondering about questions to ask realtors, or questions to ask a potential real estate agent, this set is a great place to start.
And if you weren’t planning on asking your next real estate agent any questions- I hope these questions have changed your mind.
I’m on a mission to stop people from using internet ads to choose their real estate agents. And yes, clicking the “schedule tour” button on home search sites is still using an internet ad.
If you’d like to find a real estate agent who lives up to my high standards- without all the awkward interviews- just fill out this quick form and I’ll get to work interviewing agents for you. Then I’ll make a recommendation to you and you can decide if it’s a good fit.
Don’t leave your largest financial investment to chance, stop clicking buttons on the internet and have a tried and true relocation expert find an amazing real estate agent for you!