What to Know Before Working with a Real Estate Agent

September 10, 2018

A smart consumer will interview a potential real estate agent before they decide which agent they want to hire. Just as you’re sizing up the potential for a good fit, the real estate agent will likely be interviewing you, too. Be wary of agents who don’t ask you questions and probe for your motivation. You wouldn’t work with just any agent off the street, and good agents are selective about their clients, too.

Either interview the real estate agent over the phone or get together at the office for the first meeting. Don’t expect a top producing agent to meet at your home before you’ve made a selection. Not all agents are happy to have an interview. Top agents don’t want to fill out a survey. Limit your questions to only the most important for you and your needs. Here are some ideas of what to discuss and what to keep in mind:


1. Talk with recent clients

Two men wearing light blue shirts sitting next to each other on a couch and a couch talking and smiling

Ask agents to provide a list of what they’ve listed and sold in the past year, with contact information. With past clients, it is nice to find out what the asking price was and then what the sale or rent price was. Another good question for sellers to ask is “How long were the homes on the market?


2. Check for license and disciplinary actions

Check with your state’s regulatory body to find out whether a real estate agent you’re considering has a license. Do they have any disciplinary actions or complaints? That information may be posted online.


3. Ask about professional awards

Peer-given awards count. One that really means something is “Realtor of the Year,” which is awarded by the state or local branch of the NAR. It is a huge endorsement for an agent to be judged so positively by their peers.


4. Select an agent with the right credentials

a real estate agent in a suit shows a family of four a new and empty property

Doctors have specialties, and so do real estate agents, many of whom get additional training in particular areas. Initials after an agent’s name can indicate that the agent has taken classes in a certain area of real estate sales. Some of the designations include:

  • CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Completed additional training in handling the residential real estate.
  • ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative): Completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions.
  • SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.

If the agent calls herself a Realtor with a capital R, that means she’s a member of the NAR.


Important questions to ask your real estate agent:

  • How long have you been in the real estate business?
  • How long has this person been on the job (look for upward of a year), and were they full or part-time?
    While experience and skill are both crucial, real estate is mainly learned on the job.
  • Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors?
    This organization requires certain standards from its members, and you don’t want to worry about having a shady agent
  • Are you a member of MLS?
    This is the Multiple Listing Service, which gives agents access to houses represented by all agencies – not just their own. For sellers, this means your home is posted on the list. Many more people will see it.
  • Do you work on weekends?
    This is when most open houses take place. So, the answer should be yes.
  • How would you represent us?
    The answer should include your housing inspections, following through with your mortgage approval process, and being present at your closing.
  • Will you show me houses listed by other companies?
    Double-check that the agent isn’t partial to his or her own real estate group.
  • Are you familiar with our area?
    You’ll want the agent to know the ins and outs of your community.
  • What’s your business style?
    Do you want a broker who calls you once a week or emails daily? Find out how the agent will keep you updated on prospects and inform them about your preferences.


In conclusion

Real estate agents promote themselves with yard signs, online ads, direct-mail postcards, and even sponsored public benches. Cutting through the advertising hype and finding the right agent can be tough.

This may seem like a very overwhelming process. Trying to find the ideal real estate agent can be a hectic and frustrating process. Alternatively, you can work with a company like Blueground. We handle every aspect of the apartment rental process. Blueground even finds and screens the tenants so you don’t have to. They sign long-term leases so you don’t have to worry about a thing! 

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