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Ask a Real Estate Agent these Questions before Hiring

real estate agent discussing a deal with her clients

When engaging in a real estate transaction, the main goal – apart from getting the property of your choice that fits all your needs – is to ensure that this property is worth the immense investment. For this to happen, you need a real estate agent with genuine smarts and savvy, someone who can “deliver the goods,” so to say, and get you your desired property.

But how do you find out if an agent is, indeed, capable of delivering your expected outcomes? The questions below will help you find the ideal real estate agent to work with.

General questions to ask, whether you’re buying or selling:

  • How long have you been in the industry? An agent with substantial experience can prepare you for all kinds of crazy scenarios. Pay attention to their market expertise and find out if they have sufficient knowledge and insight to help you navigate a particular market.
  • Are you duly licensed? Always check for a real estate agent’s license as this provides proof that they understand the requirements of the job, as well as the responsibility they have to their clients. You may also want to ask if they have any special certifications (e.g. short sales and foreclosure specialist, accredited buyer’s representative) that could help with specific nuances of your property requirements.
  • Are you a full-time or part-time agent? While there is nothing inherently wrong with being a part-time agent, it may be more challenging for them to commit to you as their client. You are better off working with a full-time agent who can guide you in every step of the way and is available at a moment’s notice.
  • Can you provide references? This is one of the best ways to truly gauge a real estate agent’s skills. Reach out to their previous clients to learn how they would describe their experience working with this agent you’re considering. If they were happy with this person, chances are, you will be, too.
  • What’s your value add? Most real estate agents and firms will say that they are the absolute best in the industry. But in reality, some are just better than others, or one may be a specialist in a niche real estate endeavor (e.g., waterfront properties, ranch properties, luxury homes and condos) while others are general practitioners. Asking this question helps you differentiate an agent from the rest. They should be able to clearly explain the real value of their services and how they can help you achieve your specific goal.
  • Do you work with buyers or sellers? This question cuts both ways. An agent that specializes in assisting buyers, for instance, may be exceptionally savvy in helping you find a new home. But an agent possessing a good clientele mix may have an edge in the negotiating table due to experience from representing both buyers and sellers.

If you’re in the market as a buyer:

  • How do you help buyers stand out in a particular market? The answer from a potential agent will showcase their unique insights regarding a particular market. An agent should know the types of homes that buyers usually seek out, as well as the factors that will lead to a successful bid.
  • What price ranges do you usually work with? This question will give you a glimpse of an agent’s comfort zone. If they buy or sell homes at prices ranging from $250,000 to $400,000 but you’re aiming for a multi-million-dollar mansion, you may have better results with a professional with experience dealing in upscale properties.

If you’re in the market as a seller:

  • How long do your listings usually stay on the market? If the average number of days on the market of an agent’s listings is too high (e.g., 60 days and above), ask why that is the case. As a seller, it’s in your best interest to sell your property within a reasonable time frame.
  • What is your list-to-sell ratio? Comparing between an agent’s recently-sold home’s listing price and the actual can gauge a real estate professional’s sales skills. Depending on the market, a 100% ratio or more is where you want to land. Always ask potential agents how they arrive at those numbers to get a better perspective of their sales strategies. Likewise, if they often dip below 100%, ask them for an explanation.
  • What’s the deciding factor that will lead to a successful sale? An effective real estate agent should be able to examine your property and come up with a list of requirements that will help you sell. Does the property need new floors or a major remodeling? A reliable agent should be able to point these out early on.

Find a realtor you can trust in West Chester, PA

Work with experienced real estate professionals from RE/MAX Direct. Whether you’re buying or selling in West Chester and Southern Pennsylvania, we’ll go over and beyond to help you achieve your real estate goals. Call us at 610.430.8100 or send us an email at remaxdirectwc(at)gmail(dotted)com.