What to Ask When Hiring an Arlington, VA Real Estate Agent (Part 1 of 2)

by Dan Lesniak

A common question I get asked by friends, family and clients is what should they be asking when hiring a Real Estate Agent in Arlington, VA (or anywhere for that matter). In this column I will deal specifically with questions to ask when hiring a buyer’s agent. The process can be be quite confusing for everyone from first time home buyers to seasoned investors, as the regulations and markets are constantly changing and are different in each state and locality.

  • Do you work full time as a real estate agent or are you a part time agent?

Believe it or not many real estate agents do it as a second job or as a hobby. While they may be able to juggle both it is very unlikely they can handle enough volume of clients needed to maintain expertise in the market. Another challenge will be their availability. In fast moving real estate markets such as Arlington, timing is everything. You do not want to miss out on seeing homes or getting an offer submitted because your real estate agent was at another job and not available.

  • How many buyers have you helped by homes in Arlington in the last year? 2 years? 3 years?

It is important to find out how many homes the agent has helped people buy in the area you are looking. You want an agent with a track record or recent success and longer term success as well. The more people the agent or team has helped buy homes the more you will be able to benefit from his or her experiences.

  • How many listings do you have or have recently sold?

Real estate agents with several listings in the area you are looking usually have advantages over other agents. If they are getting more listings, they are probably doing more effective marketing, which is going to lead to them having more knowledge about upcoming sales. They may even be able to get you into homes before they go on the market. The agents are also likely to have more market knowledge if they are doing more overall business in that area.

  • Do you work alone or as part of a team?

The real estate industry has several different functional jobs within it. These include:  administration, customer service, marketing, sales, negotiating and more. Some agents are good in a few of these areas, others are not good at any of them, and some are good at all. For the few that can perform all of these tasks well the next challenge becomes the problem of scalability. An agent that is good at all of these tasks will eventually get too busy. This is where a team approach can make a big difference. In a well run real estate team there is always some one available to show you a property so you don’t miss out on seeing new homes that might sell quickly. There is also less of a chance of something being missed because more people are looking out for you.

  • What do past clients say about you?

Before you decide on a real estate agent, it is a good idea to see what kind of reviews exist of the agent. See if there are reviews on the agent’s website. Better yet check independent third party sites such as Zillow, Trulia or Yelp. You can also ask the agent for specific client referrals and see how different people’s experiences were.

This is certainly not an all inclusive list, but it is a good start in the process. You will also want to find out what type of buyer broker agreement terms the agent expects and ask more specific questions about their services and processes.

Click HERE for Ask the Agent Part 2

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