Experts agree that you should interview at least three agents to find the one with the experience, skill and personality that matches your needs. Choose from a variety of candidates including personal references, researched and close connections and treat every candidate the same.
Check for license and disciplinary actions. Check with your state’s regulatory body to find out whether a prospective agent is licensed and if there have been any disciplinary actions or complaints.
In todays digital landscape, your agent should be easy to find online. Check to see exactly where they are online and how they present themselves. Do they talk only about themselves and their accolades or do they appear to have community involvement? Do they stay away from divisive topics? There is nothing wrong with cross checking their professional profiles with their personal ones and look for red flags.
By all purposes you are conducting a job interview and should feel comfortable asking the tough questions. Be on the look out for red flags that lie below the surface. Are the answers mechanical or are they seemingly answering from the heart?
Here are some questions to get you started:
- How long have you been selling real estate?
- What is your average number of clients?
- What area do you cover?
- What type of communication should I expect from you?
- Do you have a recommended vendors list (Title, contractors, inspectors, etc.)?
- What questions do you have for me?
Get listing presentations from potential realtors, who will tell you what comparable homes have sold for and how long they take to sell. The agents are all looking at the same data, so the suggested listing price should be close. Pricing a home too high at the start often means it takes longer to sell and ultimately sells for less.
Full Time or Part Time?
Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you want to choose an agent who is actively following the market every day. If you’re buying, you want an agent who can jump on new listings and show them to you immediately. If you’re the seller, you want an agent who is always available to show your home to prospective buyers.
Trust Your Gut
At the end of the day you need to listen to your inner voice. Pay closer attention to the voice that is throwing up red flags and don’t be afraid to walk away no matter what stage of the process you are in. If you aren’t having your needs met or there is a concern from the beginning then this just isn’t the agent for you.