Knowing which questions to ask when choosing your real estate agent can help you find the partner that will assure your experience is both an emotional and financial win.
There’s both love and money at stake with home buying and selling! You’ll be navigating highs and lows with the real estate agent you choose, so having a good rapport is critical. In addition to feeling confident that they have the expertise you need, look for someone who actively listens and shows they understand you.
Some people want their agent to take extra time to provide education and guidance; others prefer a non-nonsense, get ‘er done approach. As you interview prospective agent, get a feel for which works better for you. Here are some specific questions to bring to the table when you’re selecting your realtor:
Questions to ask whether you’re buying or selling
- What are your credentials? Some may have specialty designations that apply to your situation, but at the very least you’ll want to be sure you’re working with someone whose license is active. In North Carolina you can check license status here (for both firms and brokers).
- Will I be working directly with you, or with a team? There’s no one best way, but knowing up front will help set your expectations, and can open a discussion about communication.
- Tell me about your most successful negotiation in the past year. More insight into experience and negotiation ability, but also shedding light on their process and how they view success.
- What happens if I’m not happy with your service? While you don’t want to go in with an expectation that you’ll be disappointed, it’s smart to know your options in case the arrangement doesn’t work out as planned.
- How will you keep me informed? Their answer to this communication question will ideally demonstrate their desire to respond to your preferences!
Questions to ask when you’re buying a home
- What tools or tips do you have to help me write the most compelling offer in this market? You’ll get some insight into their experience in our current market climate compared to others you’re interviewing.
- What’s the average difference between the listing and purchase prices for buyers you’ve represented? You’ll get a sense of their negotiation skills from their answer.
- What’s your process for identifying the homes (and/or areas or neighborhoods) we should consider? Listen for cues about how they attune themselves to your needs, wants and preferences.
- What are the terms of your buyer’s agency agreement? Generally, there will be some level of exclusivity for a defined time period—meaning that the buyer’s agent will be the only one to show you homes during the agreement terms, but sometimes that’s negotiable.
- Do you ever represent both buyer and seller at the same time? This is called dual agency—they can write up the offer in this scenario, but can’t provide advice because there’s a conflict of interest.
Questions to ask when you’re selling a home:
- How many homes have you helped sell in the past year, overall and in my neighborhood—and in what price range? You’ll want to consider their local market knowledge and experience, compared to others you’re interviewing.
- What marketing strategies are you finding to be most successful right now—and what can I expect? Listen for a good blend of online and offline tactics; if they don’t offer, prompt them for examples of what’s working best.
- How long have your listings been on the market, on average? This will help you gauge their success, not just at closing, but at managing the, sometimes challenging, give-and-take between sellers and buyers.
- What are your tips or strategies for getting as many offers as possible? This will give you an idea of their negotiation skills.
- Tell me about your commission structure, and why you prefer this method. Understanding not just the what, but the why of their fee will help you understand the agent and their approach, as you compare to other candidates.
Personality fit is a big factor for many successful buyer/seller-agent partnerships, but it’s not the only one. Take time to do your due diligence by asking these questions when you choose a real estate agent. We would certainly love to have the opportunity to help you buy or sell your Triangle area home!