5 Questions to Ask When Interviewing Agents

Dated: 02/07/2019

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Many potential buyers and sellers will interview agents before agreeing to work with a specific agent. This is particularly true when sellers are looking for a listing agent. Usually, agents will put together presentations to solicit listings and buyers. However, these presentations do not always highlight the skills necessary to work through a transaction. By asking these simple questions, you can figure out if your agent really has the skills to represent you in a transaction from beginning to end.

“How did you choose your brokerage?”

The vast majority of agents work for a larger brokerage such as HomeSmart Realty, Keller Williams, Century21, or Berkshire Hathaway, to name a few. Asking an agent how they chose their brokerage gives some insight into a few aspects of how the agent strategizes. First, it shows you how the agent makes decisions. If you are in a situation with multiple offers, you want to make sure your agent can make a strategic, logical decision based on a desired outcome. The easiest way to understand if your agent can do that is to see how they made a decision to work at a brokerage.

“How will my situation change your strategy?”

Everything about buying or selling a home and negotiating deals is strategic. Every home sale is unique. Asking agents how your unique situation will change their strategy helps you understand that they will treat your deal as a unique deal, instead of trying to apply cookie cutter approaches that may not work for you. For example, if you want a higher than market price for your home, your agent’s answer may be something like “The pricing on this home is very aggressive, I’m going to have to market aggressively using mailers, internet marketing, and calling out of state agents.”

“What strengths do I bring to the table?”

Working with an agent is a partnership. By asking this question, you foster this sense of partnership and also encourage your agent to see you as a part of the deal. In addition, it helps you understand your role throughout the home sale transaction. By having this clear understanding in the very beginning of the deal, you ensure that both you and your agent foster a good working relationship that plays to everybody’s strengths.

“How did you prepare for this meeting?”

Preparation is the most important stage of negotiation, and all good agents prepare before a negotiation. The agent’s first negotiation is interviewing to work with you. If the agent can provide you a clear preparation process for their meeting with you, more than likely they will prepare for negotiations and other important parts of the deal. Agents who include grounding rituals as part of their preparation are a huge asset. Real estate transactions are stressful and you need a well-grounded agent to help you through it.

“Do you have any questions for me?”

The answer to this question is the most important. Agents with questions are problem solvers, and you need an agent who is a problem solver. Look for questions that synthesize the information that came up during the interview. Not only do these questions show that the agent was paying attention, they show that the agent has good skills to apply to your real estate transaction.

Selecting an agent is an important process. The agent will be working with you throughout your transaction, from beginning to end. By asking good questions and making sure you get answers you feel comfortable with, ensures that you will choose the agent who is best for you.

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