The Top 9 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent

Cardinal Financial May 1, 2019 | 5 min read
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Real estate agents come in all shapes and sizes. Ask these questions to find out if they’re really up to snuff.

Whether you’re buying or selling, your real estate agent will be one of your closest associates through one of the most pivotal milestones in your life. Choosing the right real estate agent involves a lot of planning and research, but many people don’t even know where to start. Take this list of questions to ask a real estate agent into meetings and get your questions answered. You’ll know who’s the right choice.

Choosing the right real estate agent involves a lot of planning and research.

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

Experience is key, right? There’s no special college degree required to become a real estate agent, so most agents learn on the job. Agents with an extensive record of successful sales may be able to offer more expertise than an agent who’s just starting out. However, rates can vary with experience too. Finding that happy medium between experience and price is often key to finding a real estate agent that meets your needs.

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2. Which neighborhoods do you primarily work in?

Knowing where you want to live is often more important than knowing exactly what kind of house you want. Many real estate agents specialize in certain areas of town or different neighborhoods. Finding an agent that knows their way around your areas of interest can go a long way in snagging you the home of your dreams.

Knowing where you want to live is often more important than knowing exactly what kind of house you want.

3. How do you market the homes you’re selling?

In 2019 it’s going to take a lot more than a yard sign to sell a home. Any real estate agent you decide to hire should have a wealth of marketing tools and expertise at their disposal to help you sell your home. From sales photos to social media strategies, your agent should be able to tell you exactly how he or she intends to market your home to the right people. Check out the agent’s social media pages and pay close attention to the content they share. This will usually give you a good look at how knowledgeable they are.

4. What’s your list-to-sale ratio?

List-to-sale is a statistic that measures whether homes are selling for more or less than the asking price in certain markets. These numbers can prove to be an important part of the marketing and negotiation process between you and your agent. To calculate the list-to-sale ratio, divide the final sale price by the property’s final list price. You’ll want different numbers depending on if you’re buying or selling. Buyer’s agents should have a list-to-sale ratio below 100% unless they’re in a super-competitive market. Seller’s agents should have higher numbers—as close to 100% as possible.

5. how quickly can you help me view a home?

In today’s hyper-competitive market, it’s important to act quickly. In many markets, homes go under contract the same day they’re offered for sale. If you’re browsing through homes and see one that you like, it’s important to have an agent that can get you in for a viewing as soon as possible. A lot of this depends on how much time your agent has available. Are they part time or full time? Does their schedule align with yours? All of these are questions to ask a real estate agent you need to know the answers to before you pick an agent.

6. how many buyers/sellers are you currently working with?

It’s always important to ask how many people a real estate agent is working with. Agents usually prioritize clients who they’ve been working with longer, which could be bad for you as a new client. You want an agent with the time and resources to focus on you throughout the whole process.

7. will I be working mainly with you or a team?

There’s nothing wrong with an agent having a small team of associates. It only means more resources and help for you. But it’s always good to know beforehand. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting comfortable with one agent and seeing a different person at every meeting. Make sure you meet everyone on the team in order to personalize your experience so you don’t just become another name on the list.

8. what should I avoid in the buying or selling process?

In a business like this one, honesty is the best policy. Having a real estate agent that will keep it real with you on the ins and outs of the process is priceless. Being aware of the big mistakes you could make before you make them gives you a huge advantage as you go through the process, especially if it’s your first time.

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9. do you have any recommended vendors?

Many real estate agents will have a list of people you can go to when you need help in the buying, selling, or owning processes. You’ll need to know about lenders, repairmen, contractors, and inspectors you can trust, and your agent should have a strong professional network to help you out.

Do you have any tips on how to find a good real estate agent? Let us know on social media!

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