Need a buyer's agent in Silver Spring, MD? Qualifying questions to ask

Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 MD594797

I was working with a buyer's agent on one of my listings this year that quite simply put did not represent her clients well. It was probably one of the first times in my career that I regretted having to split the commission. She did not earn it. 

I met the agent once when I showed my listing to her buyers. They wanted to return the following day for a second look and to get a contractor's estimate for some modifications they were planning. I arranged for a second private tour on extremely short notice. The buyers' agent did not show. I was present during the home inspection as well as the well yield test. The buyers' agent did not show up for either appointment. She also did not show up for the final walk-through leaving her buyers hanging.

The contract that we ratified included one addendum that was to her buyers' disadvantage (I would have used a different one, covering all the bases for my buyers). When her buyers had a question about property use, she asked me to look it up for her instead of verifying the information herself. I am always happy to assist and do my due diligence but when working as a buyer's agent I go straight to the source for any information sought knowing it's the most reliable. Throughout the entire contract period, the agent's communication was pushy and unpleasant, repeatedly asking me for documents that I had already submitted. She did not know because she didn't appear to check her emails regularly, relying on her transaction coordinator instead.

I have met a lot of outstanding buyer's agents in my 19 years in the business, many I would love to do business with again.* This buyer's agent is not one of them. I would go as far as cautioning my future sellers if an offer with her name on it comes across my desk again. 

When you set out to buy your first, second, or third.. home in Silver Spring, MD beyond, you may be interviewing several agents or asking family and friends for referrals. You'll be spending a lot of time with your buyer's agent, sharing personal details and trusting them with one of your biggest purchases, you should absolutely do your due diligence and ask a few questions. 

Need a buyer's agent in Silver Spring, MD, and beyond? A few qualifying questions to ask (in no particular order):

1. What is your availability? It's important to know if your agent's availability aligns with your schedule, some have other careers and do not do Real Estate full-time. That may not necessarily be a problem but when you have to jump quickly to view homes before they are gone and/or get a preferred appointment slot, availability can be a decision maker. 

2. Will you be present at all appointments? Apparently, there are agents out there who do not bother attending appointments after the contract has been ratified. There are also brokerages who will send different agents for showing or other appointments and have entirely different agents write the offer(s) and negotiate on your behalf. This works for some buyers, but if you prefer working with one agent and building a trusting relationship with the same, these types of brokerages (or teams) may not be the best fit. 

3. Are you going to handle the transaction yourself? Again, there are different business models. Some agents hand the ratified contract over to a transaction coordinator or other team member and just trust that it will run its course. Whether I am representing sellers or buyers, I very much prefer working with the other agent directly. I have found that the smoothest transactions are those where both sides communicate well and are on top of all deadlines and details. When a problem arises - as it often does - it is much easier to navigate and find solutions. 

4. What is your level of experience representing buyers? Asking your potential buyer's agent how many transactions they've closed thus far this year may not give you an accurate picture of their level of experience. A better question to ask is: How many times have you renewed your license? Especially in a tough market, experience can make all the difference.

5. Are you an ABR® (Accredited Buyer's Representative)? REALTORS® who have earned the ABR® designation completed specialized training, demonstrated commitment to delivering an excellent buyer experience, and have a proven track record. It is not required to have the designation in order to represent buyers, and you can have a great experience and successful closing by choosing a REALTOR® who is not an ABR®. But consider the commitment it represents and the investment in education. You may find that these are important criteria for you. 

Looking to purchase a home or investment in another part of the country, or the world? Please reach out. I know the best agents and am happy to connect you with someone with a proven track record - friendly to boot - who will work diligently to get you to the closing table. I am also a CIPS® (Certified International Property Specialist). 

Posted by

Andrea Bedard
Thompson Co., REALTORS®

Silver Spring, Maryland

Fluent in Real Estate and German.
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Comments (8)

Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:

Thank you for sharing the information. Buyers and sellers in your area

will benefit from your expertise. Wishing you continued success.

Have a wonderful day and sell a house. bill

Jul 31, 2023 10:24 AM
Andrea Bedard

Thanks, Bill! 

Aug 01, 2023 02:14 PM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

A post that was written with the other agent in mind. Buyers need to know that they have someone they can trust and will help them to get a good deal. That is especially important in a tight market.

Jul 31, 2023 10:28 AM
Andrea Bedard

Trust is so important in this business. I felt bad for these buyers, they were truly not represented well - if at all. I did what I could without compromising my sellers' position. At least I know that they scored a fabulous house!

Aug 01, 2023 02:16 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Good questions, I especially like the one How many Times have you renewed your license?

Jul 31, 2023 12:15 PM
Andrea Bedard

I believe it is more telling how many different market conditions an agent has successfully navigated than how many homes were sold in the present year. Thanks, Nick!

Aug 01, 2023 02:18 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good  evening Andrea,

What a shame you had to work with such an arrogant agent with no idea of how to represent her buyer or work with another agent. We've all to take on the whole transaction to keep it humming with an agent like this. Thank goodness  I've found most agents I work with have been really good to work with them and I always let them know. Good questions for buyers to ask when making on a decision on they agent they work with!

Jul 31, 2023 04:55 PM
Andrea Bedard

She added so much stress - totally unnecessary - but worst of all, she left her clients hanging. I couldn't imagine not showing up to inspections or the final walk-through. 

I am with you, there are a lot of fantastic agents out there who truly work hard for their clients. There are a few that have left such a good impression that I am always hoping we'll cross paths again one day. 

Aug 01, 2023 02:20 PM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Those are good questions to ask when looking for the right agent.  I have seen way too many times people not being represented properly and my clients always end up with the bigger stick because of it, haha.

Aug 01, 2023 04:49 AM
Andrea Bedard

I did what I could to move this transaction along but I felt bad for these buyers. They deserved better! 

Aug 01, 2023 02:21 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I agree with Dorie Dillard Austin TX - too bad you had to work with that agent, and I'm sure you're going to limit exposure in the future (if possible). Also great tips for buyers to ask their buyer agent. Good post!

Aug 01, 2023 04:55 AM
Andrea Bedard

I wouldn't hesitate to tell this tale to my clients if I see her name on an offer. Of course, if the offer is top, we'll have to deal with it. At least I'd know what's in store. Thank you, Kat! 

Aug 01, 2023 02:23 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Excellent list of qualifying questions, Andrea. I totally relate to the one about who will be doing the work. I have no assistants or transaction coordinators... I want to be on top of all aspects of my sales and I know my clients appreciate the fact that they can know I'm on top of all the details. As for experience... I think my 30 years in this business speak for themselves.

Aug 01, 2023 05:25 AM
Andrea Bedard

They most certainly do, Nina! I am with you, I couldn't and wouldn't rely on a transaction coordinator to do my job. Although, I have to say that the TC in this case was much more pleasant to work with!

Aug 01, 2023 02:25 PM
Cheryl Shurtz
RE/MAX Suburban - Wheaton, IL
Designated Managing Broker & The Shurtz Team

We had a transaction where the buyer's agent was licensed in 2 states and had another agent from his company show the home, since he was not available. He did ask us to show first (before asking an agent in his office). Was not present for the home inspection and to top it off was a family member of the buyer. Very poor representation. Fortunately most of the buyer's agents in our area are very professional.

Nov 27, 2023 07:30 PM