Even though you don’t pay for the services of a buyer’s realtor, interviewing several realtors works to your advantage. You want an agent that works with your best interests in mind as well as one that has the experience and knowledge necessary to make the process go smoothly.
What questions must you ask? See more below.
Is this Your Full-Time Position?
If you want a serious realtor, you want someone that does this for a living full-time. A realtor that does this just as a hobby may not put as much effort into the process, especially if you want to get on the listings right away. Someone that sits at his or her desk and watches for new listings, informing his or her clients right away will provide you with the best results.
How Long Have you Worked in the Area?
If you are moving to a new area, you rely on the information the realtor provides about the area. If the realtor is new to the area too, or just hasn’t sold many homes in the area, it may not work to your advantage. Ask the number of years the realtor has been in the area and the number of homes he or she sold to get a better idea of his or her knowledge of the area.
How Many Buyers are You Working With Now?
You want an experienced real estate agent, but you don’t want one that has so many clients that he or she cannot keep up with your needs. Judge a realtor’s answer to this question based on how busy or frazzled he or she seems. While you don’t want a realtor that can only handle one client at a time, you also don’t want one that overbooks himself.
How Many Homes do you Show the Average Buyer?
A good realtor knows what type of home will suit you. This limits the number of viewings you must attend. On average, you want a realtor that shows between five and ten houses to buyers before they make a decision. If the realtor comes up with some obscure number, run the other way. You want someone that focuses on what you want and doesn’t waste anyone’s time in the process.
Do you Need to be Prequalified or Preapproved?
Some realtors only work with preapproved buyers. This eliminates wasting anybody’s time in the process. You need to know upfront if this is what a realtor wants. Keep in mind that it’s not a bad thing. Getting preapproved helps you know what budget you should stick within and also narrows down the number of homes you must visit.
Do you Have to Work With the Realtor’s Lender, Inspector, and Appraiser?
Some realtors are particular about what third parties you work with and will require that you use their partners. Don’t fall for this. It’s against the law for realtors to require you to use a specific company or person for a service. It typically means the realtor gets some kind of kick-back, which again, is illegal, so don’t use this realtor.
Can you Recommend a Good Lender, Appraiser, or Inspector?
On the other hand, if the realtor is good and knowledgeable, he or she will have suggestions for you regarding which specialists are good in the area. They can recommend the people they think you should use, but should be open to you bringing in your own third parties as well.
How Will you Contact Me?
Some realtors only communicate via email, which can be inconvenient. Yet others text and call throughout the day. You should decide what works best for you. Do you prefer one phone call each day with a summary of what the realtor found or do you prefer multiple phone calls/texts/or emails throughout the day?
Do you Have any Past Clients That Will Testify on Your Behalf?
A realtor is a salesperson, so he or she can tell you what you want to hear. You want to hear from past clients so that they can tell you about their direct experience with the realtor. They may share the good and the bad, but that’s okay – you need to hear it so that you can make a decision.
Do You Require an Agreement?
Buyer’s agents don’t have to provide an agreement, but many do anyway. You don’t want a realtor that is going to tie you into his or her services. A realtor should be able to speak on his own behalf and retain your business by providing adequate services. If a realtor isn’t secure in the services he or she provides, it should be a red flag for you.
Using the above questions, you can start a candid conversation with a realtor, helping you decide if he or she is right for you. It’s a good idea to interview three to five realtors to get a good idea of which one will provide the level of service that you need.