7 Questions To Ask A REALTOR® That Will Ensure The Perfect Fit

Dated: 09/25/2019

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With over 2 million real estate agents in the U.S., picking the perfect one may feel like stumbling upon your dream backsplash in your ideal kitchen, in the perfect community at your comfort price-point. So where do you start? Learning some questions to ask a Realtor or real estate agent, as well as defining what you’re looking for will set you on the path to working with a professional you can trust.

When interviewing your new-home team, keep in mind that a REALTOR® is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and is required to follow NAR’s strict code of ethics but a real estate agent will still be fully licensed to facilitate your home sale and/or purchase. To be clear, either type of real estate professional could be the right choice for you.

First, determine what you want

It’s just like deciding how many bedrooms you need in your next home or what neighborhood you’re hoping to move to. Before you interview real estate agents, you’ll need to decide what traits and specialties you’re looking for. Start by recalling the people you’ve worked with in the past. Who did you produce your highest-quality work with? Who brought out the best in you? List the traits of each of these people, then identify the common threads between them. Were they all patient and empathetic? Were each of them leaders with ideas of their own? Did they tell you like it was or work to minimize your stress? There’s no one set of traits that makes a Realtor great – it’s all about the fit.

Questions to ask a Realtor and what to look for in their response

Now that you know the qualities you’re after, you can take note of how well each agent fits the bill. These open-ended questions to ask a Realtor will allow you to assess how closely their approach aligns with your needs.

1. What experience do you have in my desired area/price point/situation?

WHY YOU SHOULD ASK: First things first. You want a real estate agent who knows what they’re doing and can skillfully apply that knowledge to your unique circumstances.  It’s about finding an agent who has both the professional qualifications and the personality. If it was a doctor, bedside manner would come after professional qualifications. Think of your real estate agent in the same way: establish their expertise before seeing if the connection is there.

2. What is your approach for determining which homes to show your clients?

WHY YOU SHOULD ASK: If you plan to buy a house, you’ll want to know the agent’s approach to selecting homes to show. Your time is valuable and it can be exhausting to see homes that are all wrong. Look for an answer that shows thoughtfulness and strategy.

3. How do you decide what price to list a home for?

WHY YOU SHOULD ASK: If you’re selling, this is an essential question. Pricing a home is an art. Price too high and you might lengthen the sale time and reduce your eventual purchase price. Price too low, and you might not earn up to your home’s potential. You’ll want an agent to spend time researching comparable home prices and factoring in market conditions in your location.

4. What is your approach when your clients get stressed? Can you give me an example?

WHY YOU SHOULD ASK: The desired answer here will depend on your ideal teammate. Do you work better with someone who will challenge you to pull yourself up by the bootstraps or someone who will gently console you?

5. How would your closest friends/family describe you?

WHY YOU SHOULD ASK: This question provides a great opportunity for you to listen for the qualities you outlined as desired traits before your interview.

6. How often do you like to communicate with your clients? Do you prefer email, text, or phone?

WHY YOU SHOULD ASK: Communication with your agent colors your entire home purchase and/or sale process. Even a stellar professional with a contrasting communication style could make your experience stressful. 

7. How much do you guide your clients and how much do you let them guide you?

WHY YOU SHOULD ASK: We’re back to your unique needs as a home buyer and/or seller. If you’re someone who likes to be in charge, your perfect real estate agent will lean toward following and supporting their clients. If, on the other hand, you prefer to be guided through unfamiliar situations, you’ll want a Realtor who takes control.

Don’t forget your mortgage

If you’re on the house hunt, you’ll want to give your mortgage professional just as much consideration as your real estate agent. In fact, many real estate agents say they recommend their clients speak to a mortgage broker or other loan officer before they even start the house hunting process. Speaking with a mortgage broker should be the first thing [a homebuyer] does. Even before contacting us as a Realtor. 

Ask as many questions as it takes to decide if you trust this loan originator with guidance on a potential 30-year financial commitment. Consider your real estate agent’s referrals or look at online reviews for mortgage professionals and loan originators in your area to find the best fit.

In conclusion

Getting to know the people who will help you with your real estate transaction(s) before committing to them is an important part of your process. Not only will you be spending a lot of time with these individuals, you’ll also rely on their expertise to make some of your biggest investment and lifestyle decisions. Ask the right questions and you’re likely to find your one-in-2-million real estate team.

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