It’s always a good idea to interview real estate agents before signing any agreement to list or buy. It’s important to make sure there is a good fit between you and your agent, and top producing agents will always welcome the opportunity to meet with you. Most high performing agents will also want to interview you as well to make sure your goals are in alignment and expectations are set and realistic. Be wary of agents who do not ask you questions though – it’s vital that they know what your goals are.
While certainly newer agents can be excellent, experience does matter. The more transactions an agent has represented, the more adept they can be at protecting you, pricing, negotiating, and other critical aspects of a real estate transaction. Be careful not to confuse longevity with experience. Being an agent for 20 years doesn’t necessarily equate to experience if they are only selling a few homes per year.
There is typically a big difference when working with a full-time agent versus a part-time agent. Aside from the obvious, full-time agents tend to be more accessible, are readily available for showings, and usually, have a higher sales volume than those who work their real estate business as a secondary job. This is not to say there aren’t outstanding part-time agents, but this is why you interview them!
Make sure your agent has a plan in place to market your property and introduce it to the market. While pricing is always one of the most critical factors in selling a home, properly marketing a home involves timing, home presentation, online marketing, and much more. The proper marketing strategy can typically get your home sold quicker and at a better price.
A good agent won’t hesitate to answer this question – they’re successful for a reason, and they should know why. Communication skills, negotiating ability, honesty, work ethic, experience, market knowledge – the list goes on, but ultimately you want to make sure they display the characteristics you’re looking for in an agent.
Market knowledge is a crucial aspect to successfully representing you in the buying or selling process. Critical factors include pricing and comparable sales analysis, availability to show, agent listing inventory, buyer inventory, a circle of influence with other agents and vendors, and much more. It is essential that your agent is an expert in your geographic area.
You will find that there are variations in commission from agent to agent. This really should be the last question you ask after determining their qualifications. If your realtor is not a good fit for you, then the commission is a non-issue. Most top producing agents will be on the higher end of the spectrum, but they may also be the best ones to get your home sold quickly and at the highest possible price. The real estate sales process can be complicated and requires an expert to protect you in during your transaction. The adage of “you get what you pay for” can indeed exist in the world of real estate.