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Michael Corbett's Blog

By Michael Corbett | Real Estate Pro in Los Angeles, CA

Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent


I recently talked about what a real estate agent can do that you can't and how to pick the perfect one for you. Now, as you begin to identify possible agent candidates, here are a few questions that you should ask to help narrow down the field.


10 Questions to ask:
  1. What percentage of your clients are buyers (vs. sellers)?
  2. In which neighborhoods do you primarily work?
  3. Will I be working with you directly or handed off to anyone else other than you? In other words, will you handle all aspects of my transaction or will you delegate some tasks to a sales associate or administrative assistant? A knowledgeable assistant can be invaluable, but you want to make sure you can connect with your agent regularly. 
  4. Do you work full-time or part-time as a real estate agent?
  5. How many homes have you closed in my neighborhood?
  6. How many other buyers are you representing now? How many sellers? Hint: the busiest agents often are the most efficient.
  7. Is your license in good standing? You should check an agent’s certification yourself with your state’s Department of Real Estate. Many states provide this information online. For example, in California residents may check at http://www2.dre.ca.gov/PublicASP/pplinfo.asp. 
  8. How many years of education and experience do you have? Experience and continuing education typically make for better agents.
  9. Are you also a broker and/or a Realtor or an agent? 
  10. Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to be references? Insights from past customers can help you learn more about an agent and give you a greater comfort level.
Agents/brokers and home buyers/sellers - are there any other great questions that should be asked of a potential agent? Leave them in the comments!

-Michael

For more great tips: check out Michael's 3 Bestselling Books: 
Before You Buy!  Find It, Fix It Flip It! and Ready, Set, Sold!

Comments

By Barbara Grandolfo,  Thu Apr 19 2012, 16:18
Hi Michael,

Great questions to ask when considering which agent to represent you. I especially like #4.

Thanks,

Barbara Grandolfo
By Pat and Steve Pribisko,  Thu Apr 19 2012, 17:25
I like question #3 the best. Clients want to know who will be their Realtor. That relationship is paramount.
By Scott Hulen,  Thu Apr 19 2012, 20:44
Really good advice! Tend to disagree with #8, certifications in the real estate world don’t mean “______”! If consumers would just read this blog many problems would be solved and the word Realtor® would really mean something. I use a similar list with a few twists based on the area of the country I work and issues I see/perceive in my market place. Good job on the blog! My list and blog follow: Picking a Realtor®; you should interview several Realtors® before making a decision. Do not solely rely on a referral! Do the work yourself and interview several. Here’s a short check list of questions to ask & things to consider:
1) The paperwork involved in this process is extremely complicated, having stated this It is important that a Realtor be “practiced at our trade” pick a Realtor® which has completed 15+ transactions the previous year
2) Interview 3-5 full time Realtors® (very few part-time agents have the same skills as a person who works Real Estate on a full time basis)
3) Do not choose a Realtor® who proclaims themselves as “EXPERTS” because they have taken a seminar and have a designation on their business card. (CDPE, ABR, CRS and others) many of these expert classes require less than 16 hours of training and everyone who pays the fee passes. The experts are the ones who run the race not just buy the t-shirt.
4) Do a basic back ground check on your Realtor® use a site like PIPL or just goggle their name, this usually turns up items such as lawsuits, bankruptcies or other items which you feel might interfere or conflict with a Realtor® representing your best interest. Ps: this does not work for a John Smith
5) Once you have interviewed your potential Realtors® and if you are still unsure and want a “trail run” sign an exclusive buyers agency for 48 hours with the Realtor® and explain if all goes well in the beginning then you will be willing to commit for 1- 3 months.
6) Work with a Realtor® which is local to your area. Meaning a 10-20 mile radius, they will know the schools, shopping and the growth potential of the area without having to go look it up!

Before you even start this process consider purchasing the book by Dave Ramsey “The Total Money Makeover” this will provide valuable information in regard to having a successful financial life & make a prudent home purchase!

That’s your list! Good Luck!
By Akil Walker,  Fri Apr 20 2012, 15:34
Good list. I like #3. I try to go take my clients all the way thru
By Miekeba Jones,  Fri Apr 20 2012, 15:46
Nice Michael. I like #4
By Voices Member,  Mon Dec 3 2012, 12:59
Thanks for the advice. My husband and I want to find someone who really knows real estate in Stamford CT. We will take this advice while looking around. Thanks again for posting.

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