Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent before House-Hunting

So, you’ve decided to buy a home, huh?  Well, now you need to select a real estate agent to help you in the process.  Perhaps you are a first-time home buyer and don’t really know what questions to ask when selecting an agent.  There are specific interview questions you should ask an agent before making a selection:

1) How long have you been in the business? 

While new agents shouldn’t be completely discounted, it’s always good to get an idea of their experience and level of skill.  One advantage of an agent who is new to the game, is that they may have more time to devote to you and your search.

2) Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors?

To be a member of the National Association of Realtors, one has to follow certain standards and meet specific qualifications.

3) What is your standard ratio of list prices to sale prices?

This is a very important question to ask because it allows you to get a feel for their skill in negotiating.  A great buyer’s agent should be a skilled negotiator and have the ability to get a sales price below the list price for buyers.  Try to select someone with a high ratio.

4) Can I have a list of your references?

Don’t be afraid to ask for references.  You need to interview them for the job and asking for references is a standard practice in that regard.  If your agent is new to real estate, simply ask for references from their past employers.  When you call the references, make sure to ask important questions to help in deciphering their level of skill and general character.

5) What sets you apart from the competition?

Just as in any job interview, this is an opportunity for your agent to sell you on why you should choose them for a job.  The real estate market can be competitive and you want to make sure that you have a competent and confident person representing you.