Real Estate Agent with Perry Wellington Realty

Once you've selected several real estate agents, let each know you want to interview him or her for 45 minutes to an hour. You can talk in person or on the telephone. Arranging the interview is a test of the agent's willingness to spend time with you and his or her punctuality. Ask the broker to sit in if you interview an agent. That will help you learn how not just the agent works, but his or her office as well.

During the interview, explain your needs, how you like to work and what you expect. Ask the agent to speak in plain English, not industry jargon and acronyms. Let the agent know you are still learning about the homebuying process.
Here are some of the major issues to discuss:

  • The number of homes the agent found for buyers and sold for sellers.
    Don't accept a dollar amount answer. Ask for the addresses of recent transactions. Scan the list for homes similar in price to what you can afford. Determine if the homes are in the general neighborhood or community where you are buying. If so, get the agent to talk about what you can expect for your money and the pros and cons of the neighborhood or community.
  • Listings that haven't sold.
    Ask why, but don't blame the agent for homes that were overpriced and sellers who've refused to reduce the price to a fair market value.
  • Names of past clients.
    Ask for names of both buyers and sellers who can provide references.
  • Financing.
    Ask the agent about mortgages, including special and new loan programs, creative financing, mortgage brokers and lenders and other financial details specific to your needs. Also ask about insurance and taxes.
  • Management and communication tools.
    The real estate transaction is an esoteric entanglement of details, tasks and duties. Ask the agent to explain how he or she gets the job done, both online and off. Inquire as to how often the agent will report to you on sales activity or buying leads. You'll have to determine how much is enough for you, but once a week is a minimum in a stable market. Daily check-ins could be necessary in a hot market. Ask to see logs, checklists, worksheets and other tools or documents the agent uses to keep track of the details from the house search and financing through negotiating an offer and closing the deal.
  • Representation.
    Will the agent act as a dual agent representing sellers with homes you may want to buy? If he or she is a buyer's agent, representing you exclusively, ask if a contract with fees is required. Also ask buyer's agents about fees in lieu of commissions, the duration of any contracts and other details.

As you ask questions and discuss your needs, consider how well the agent listens to your anxieties, fears and concerns. You want to feel that the agent cares more about your needs than collecting the commission or making a quota.

Once you've chosen a real estate buyer agent, don't double dip. Loyalty and time commitment is a two-way street. If your agent doesn't have your full attention, he or she may reciprocate. You'll also get a disconcerting array of advice and opinions, at a time when you need straight talk

Comments (2)

Brian Bender
Perry Wellington Realty - Altoona, PA
Your 24 Hour Realtor
DO you see buyers or sellers doing this before .hiring a realtor..  ??
Feb 11, 2008 11:04 PM
Cathy Glass
Realty Executives Associates - Knoxville, TN
Realtor - Knoxville, Tennessee
Great article. It is so helpful for someone trying to decide on an agent.
Feb 11, 2008 11:23 PM