7 Things to Ask Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent

by Dan Lesniak

These are some questions you should ask the buyers agent when starting your home search.

We recommend interviewing multiple agents so you can have a frame of reference when you compare what your other options on the market are. This is not an exhaustive list, but these questions should be a good starting point for what you should ask your potential real estate agent.

1. Annual Home Sales

The average agent nationwide sells 12 homes a year, and the average agent in our local area sells 6 homes a year. That is problematic for a lot of reasons. One – they are not going to have that much experience. Two – their income is really dependent on each one of their transactions, especially if they are only doing six per year. In my experience, that leads to high-pressure situations, since that agent is really counting on you to buy a home. We don’t like to put people in high-pressure situations. Our team sells over 360 homes per year and each of the agents on our team average 24 transactions per year. That means we’re doing, per agent, four times the amount of sales as the average real estate agent in our market. This mean our team is not going to be in a situation where we pressure you into buying a home.

2. Years in the Industry

The second question you should ask is how long have you been in the business. You want to know if this person is starting out, if they’ve been in the business a year,  five years, 10 years. etc. Some experience is good, however, sometimes a decade of experience can be bad if the agent isn’t doing a ton of volume year in and year out. Times do change and they need to be constantly updating their methods and strategies to keep up.

3. Back-End Support Structure

Ask what type of support do you have? You want to make sure that the agents you’re working with can give you support for showings on nights, weekends, and whenever. What happens if they get sick? What happens when they’re on vacation? What happens when they’re with another client? The list goes on. This is especially important in our market where there’s not much inventory and seeing homes can really mean the difference between getting the home or not.

If the agent is not working as part of a team, if they are solo agent at a large brokerage, you want to make sure they have a support system intact and a plan to show homes when they are not available.

4. Continued Education and Training

You also want to ask what kind of ongoing training they do. Are they in a real estate specific coaching program, or any other coaching programs? Members of our teams have access to some of the biggest coaching programs available in the nation. Keri and I both have completed the CORE real estate training group, we actually were valedictorians for our class which is a two-year program, so so we’re constantly doing programs like that and Tony Robbins to gain exposure to some of the best minds in practices in the industry. We are constantly improving our messages and strategies and passing this benefits along to our clients. Ask and make sure your potential agent is doing the same.

5. Network

You also want to ask how well-connected the agent is to other professionals in the business. Real estate is a team sport; you have to work with a good lender, a good underwriter, a good home inspector, you might need to work with good contractors for repairs and renovations. It’s also important to have a good title attorney. You want to make sure your real estate agent can give you good recommendations on all of these things.

6. Off Market Strategies

You want to ask how can you find homes that are not yet on the market, because often, your dream home isn’t publicly listed. We sell about 20% of our homes off the market, so we’re able to give priority access to homes before they come on the market which is a great benefit to working with us. Ask what techniques do you use and what track record do you have to find homes that are not available on the MLS (multiple listing service).

7. Negotiation Techniques

You also want to ask them what specific negotiation strategy do they use. There are a ton of different ways to make your offer appear better to the seller without going up in price. There are a lot of contract terms you can alter to do this, so you want to make sure the agent has specific examples of the different terms they can modify and how they would do it so that your offer stands out. Ask for specific examples of times, in both competing in non-competing situations, where the buyer’s agent has had success from the negotiation

Those are just a few of the starting points

There are definitely more questions than this that you can ask! In addition to getting referrals, look up their online reviews on Zillow, Yelp, and Google+. If you have any other questions about what specifically to ask your buyers agent, please feel free to give us a call. As always, if there are other questions you would like us to address, please feel free to submit then we would be happy to answer them for you.

Want to learn more? Join us for our next free home buyer seminar to get 100% prepared to buy your next home.

Responses (2)

  1. Patrick Brookover
    January 5, 2017 at 8:32 am ·

    Can you address Redfin versus other agencies?

    • danlesniak
      January 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm ·

      Hi Patrick,

      That is a great question. In the past we have written on that topic. Here is the link:

      http://livetheorangeline.com/2014/01/24/penny-wise-and-pound-foolish-real-estate-rebates-costs-buyers-thousands/

      In general, we have found that the buyer rebate model often results in the buyer paying more for the home in terms of the percent of list price paid compared to the average in the area, and the difference is usually greater than the amount of the rebate. Not only is this a net loss to the buyer, but it usually comes with less service. This is not always the case, but the statistics suggest this is the average experience.

      Hope that helps!

Back to Top