How to interview your agent
"Not selecting the right real estate agent the first time around was one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made. I wasted months of time and energy that I'll never get back"
The home buying and selling process can feel overwhelming and complex at times. The transaction is often one of the largest and most emotionally driven of your life - which is why it's so important to have the best team by your side from the beginning.
While a good agent should be listening, more than talking, there are a few things that you should get answers to before deciding who to work with.
1. What is your professional experience?
While it seems like a simple question, you'll want to get into specifics:
Does the agent have any helpful degrees (good for investment sales)
How many years of experience does the agent have in the neighborhood (born and raised v. just moved there)
Does the agent have relevant transaction experience (condo v co-op v tonwhome, etc.)
What type of clients the agent works with (young parents, investors, retirees, etc.)
2. Can you tell me about your most recent transaction?
If an agent has done a lot of similar deals, they'll know how the market behaves, not to mention the right questions to ask, and how to guide you. Less of a ramp-up for your agent usually means the more time they can save you and help anticipate future issues that may arise. While some skills and experiences are transferable, others just don't fit.
3. Do you have a team?
Most agents do not work alone. If the agent is part of a team, you want to ask:
Who will be our point person for showings?
Who will be handling negotiations?
who will be communicating with you, and how?
What roles do the other members of the team play?
It never feels good when the person you interviewed never shows up after you've listed, so make sure everyone is on the same page from the start.
4. Can you provide relevant references?
Testimonials are powerful. Especially if they come from people who have been in a similar situation to yours. If your agent can only give you the name of a family member, you may want to seek a second opinion.
You should also ask about other service providers that they would recommend, such as lawyers, stagers, contractors, inspectors, etc.
5. What makes you different?
This is a tough one, but often times the most important question to ask.
If you're selling, here is where you want to key in on a few items:
Can you tell me about your marketing and listing strategy?
How do you approach negotiations?
How often do you revisit pricing?
If you're buying, you may want to ask questions focused on the type of home you're looking for:
How well do you know the area (schools, transportation, retail, etc.)?
What types of clients do you work with most often?
Where do you think the best values are right now for what I'm looking for?
Where can I find the best agent?
Your friend's agent: Could be hit or miss, and if it's a miss, it could end awkwardly. Just because they worked for your friend, doesn't mean that you shouldn't do your own research.
The neighborhood agent: Having a long track record is great - as long as it's relevant to you. You always want to make sure that there's a personality fit and the agent will put in the amount of time that you deserve.
The listing agent online: This is a great strategy if you're selling, but you'll have to go through years of historical comps to find out who has the right experience for you. If you're a buyer: Beware! The listing agent works for the seller, not you!
The new approach: Scout. is the quickest and easiest way to skip the heavy lifting, and find the best agents, based on data. Our entirely free platform let's you control the search process to find agents that meet your standards, and ours, in seconds. If you ever have questions, our staff of advisors will always be there to answer any of your questions.