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You Have References From Your Potential Realtor....But You Don't Know What To Ask?

Real Estate Agent with Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 BRE# 01494165

You Have References From Your Potential Realtor....But You Don't Know What To Ask?

Let's face it....if you knew everything that could go wrong/right with a real estate transaction, and how to handle it, you wouldn't need a Realtor®. You are considering a real estate professional for that very reason...to handle it for you. You need someone you can trust and want to do your due diligence to make sure that you are making the right decision. So, you've asked for references.

Of course no one gives out negative references (actually, I do) so you expect to make a phone call and hear "she did a great job." If all you do is ask "did you like working with blank?" then that is what you are going to hear back. So...since you do not work in real estate how do you know WHAT to ask to get to the real value of the agent you are considering? Here are some ideas to get you started...then see where the conversation goes from there.

1) Did the agent return phone calls/emails promptly? was she available when you needed her or had questions? did she provide researched answers?

2) Do you feel you got all the information you needed to make good decisions? Did you ever feel pushed into making a decision that you later questioned?

3) How do you feel the agent interacted with other professionals involved in the transaction....such as lenders, escrow, other agents, other principals?

4) Were there any problems with the escrow? Do you feel your agent knew how to handle these problems and did so in a timely manner? Were they resolved in a way you felt appropriate?

5) Did you feel you had just as much....or even more....attention from your agent after the contract was signed as you did before? Did you feel you could reach your agent at any time and that she would take care of issues for you?

These are the questions which lead to conversations. They allow the reference to really reflect upon the transaction and how it was handled "in the moment." The good news? They clearly feel that it was a good experience after the fact, but I like the prospect to understand what sorts of things come up in an average (is there such a thing anymore?) real estate transaction.....and that they can count on me to take care of them. I think that's the real worth of an agent.


Brent Wells
The LivingWell Team - Prosper, TX
Dallas - Fort Worth


Its painful when you meet someone and they share their bad REALTOR experience with you. We of course apologize for their bad experience and dig a little deeper to find out they rarely did any due diligence with finding their agent. When we meet a prospective client that asks the right questions we know we will love working with those folks.


Dec 04, 2010 03:57 AM
Lisa Moroniak
Keller Williams Realty | Northern Virginia | 703.635.0388 - Leesburg, VA
SFR - Short Sale & Foreclosure Certified

Good ones Karen - all the behavioral stuff is so critical.  And of course my favorite:

"Would you work with this individual again?"

Dec 04, 2010 03:59 AM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Karen, all good questions and you are trying to find the level of service performed to a client by the agent.

Dec 04, 2010 04:08 AM
Brett Pehrson
Advanced Funding Home Mortgage, NMLS#13287 - Salt Lake City, UT

Karen, this is an excellent list of "feeling questions." The best part about these, as you mentioned above, is that it brings up "times when they were really grateful we were there for them."  Anyone can learn how to answer a question of what you should do while being interviewed.  The question is, "how did the professional behave when things were going wrong?"  I've started telling clients in the beginning now that something WILL go wrong in their transaction, and my goal is to get them through the problem(s) as smoothly as possible...maybe that's borrowing trouble and being pessimistic, but even the "perfect borrower" is having trouble somewhere along the way these days.  Clients need to be aware there are several things that can go wrong in one of these transactions that can't be controlled, and they should hire a professional who has been through most of the problems and knows how to fix them; that really is the true mark of a professional these days. 

Dec 04, 2010 04:09 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Now - If you just had a way to get that list in front of ALL the people who need it. Maybe there wouldn't be quite so many referrals based on being "My best friend's brother-in-law's dad."

Dec 04, 2010 04:38 AM
Tom Ikonomou
Tom Ikonomou - eXp Realty - Vancouver, BC
Innovated Marketing Specialist

Karen, thats a good set of questions. I will have prospective clients use them when they ask to call past references. I was at a listing appointment and the seller would give me the listing but said they did not know me. I got the permission from a past client I just sold and bought their new home (in the time frame they wanted) to have the the prospective seller call.

Not sure what questions were asked but I did not get the listing. Now you have to know that this past client got more than market value for his home and bought the next home for less than market value. He even recomended me to his friends. So I cannot agree with you more when you say the importance of the questions asked.

Dec 04, 2010 04:50 AM
Doug Reynolds
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Realtor - Sacramento, CA

excellent questions that each client should be thinking about and getting info on before the make their decision.

Dec 04, 2010 05:16 AM
Chuck Carstensen
RE/MAX Results - Elk River, MN
Minnesota/Wisconsin Real Estate Expert

Very good questions to ask and I feel like I do these well.  I need to get better return on that.

Dec 04, 2010 05:31 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Thanks for this well written post, Karen.     I'm re-blogging it!

Dec 04, 2010 06:35 AM
Ryan Case
SCA Real Estate - Anaheim, CA

I think the main thing is making sure that agent is a good match for your clients

Dec 04, 2010 06:49 AM
Homes for Heroes
Coldwell Banker First Realty - Cedar Point, NC
Homes for Heroes Realtor, Relocation Expert

I think keeping it simple is BETTER...communication with a prospect is done at a level I feel they can clearly understand, and doesn't make me out to be some kind of know-it-all. I like to consisently ask them if they have any concerns, questions or if I need to repeat something. It has been working well for me...

Dec 04, 2010 08:38 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Good list of questions for potential clients to ask when calling those references.  I'm sure that most of them don't even bother to call the references for fear of not knowing what to ask.  Just the fact that you've got references is usually enough.

Dec 04, 2010 08:39 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

Karen, gosh darn, someone beat me to the "Called Shot" on this one, it certainly is a shoe in.

Dec 04, 2010 09:52 AM
Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ


You made me stop and think about how my potential references would answer each question.  Number 5 is particularly insightful...

Dec 04, 2010 10:38 AM
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

Excellent list of questions, Karen. Many of these point to responsiveness and communication which are key elements in an agent / client relationship.

Dec 04, 2010 11:26 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Karen, for so many people it's their largest purchase, and they will trust their money to someone that helped a cousin even though the cousin complained all the time about them. There is so much information available online to help the consumer find a house but very little to help them find a qualified agent.

Dec 04, 2010 01:23 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I think you're right.  These types of questions will actually lead to a conversation rather than yes or no answers.


Orange County Homes

Dec 04, 2010 03:27 PM
Alex Morris - Austin Real Estate Agent
Austin, TX

Great post.  Makes me be a little introspective.  I need to ask myself how my clients would answer these questions on a DAILY basis.  Hmmm...

Dec 04, 2010 03:33 PM
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

Karen -  There are times when people don't know what they don't know and this post has filled in the blanks nicely.  I have re-blogged it too!

Dec 05, 2010 01:55 AM
Dave Halpern
Dave Halpern Real Estate Agent, Inc., Louisville, KY (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert


Great list of questions. An additional question I would ask "Did the Realtor genuinely care about the client?".

That can't be faked and is the driving force of high performance on behalf of the client.

Dec 09, 2010 04:19 PM