For home buyers, I think that questions related to how this agent is going to work for you are the most important.
As you probably know, a buyer's agent gets paid her/his commission at the close of the transaction. This commission comes from the seller, not from the buyer.
That being said, you want to know how this commission based agent is going to find you the best property that fits your criteria. Here are some of the questions that I've been asked or that I've talked to previous buyer clients about in order that they got some of the vital information about the realtor/client working relationship. For me it is important that clients what my business philosophy is and that it meets their needs.
Are you in this with me for the long haul? If I it takes me 6 months to a year to find the right place, will you still work with me? (KEY: Look for commitment)
How much contact (i.e., frequency) and in what format of communications (e.g., email, text msg, and/or phone) should I expect from you. (KEY: Look for what fits you the best and how you like to get communications. Also, it tells you a lot about how they communicate too and their flexibility)
Give me some examples of your negotiation skills or past client negotiations that you've undertaken on their behalf and what was the outcome? (KEY: This should give you an idea of how they think and how they work for their clients)
What has your client base been like? What types of people have you worked with in the past? (KEY: This will provide you with an understanding of what people have gravitated to working with them in the past, also the calibre of people that have been attracted to working with this realtor)
What's your experience/work background? How has that helped you in the past with your clients? (KEY: This should give you an idea of their professionalism)
Alejandro, I hope these help to some degree. Best wishes in your interviewing process!
1. Why you?
2. Why now?
3. Name 3 reasons I would never want to hire you.
If they keep it real or can give an intellegent answer on #3 then you can at least begin to trust them.
Melanie's article below is a good start. Bottom line is you need to meet face to face and get all expectations out on the table. This can be a very stressful transaction but it should also be an exciting time, so choose someone you are comfortable with, trust, and who can guide you through honestly, professionally, and represents your interests first. Good luck.
If this matters to you, you may want to find out what kind of car they have if they are going to be driving you around to look at properties...
What made you get in to real estate?
If you were to list my property, what price would you recommend?
Would you be willing to list my property for 5%, giving 3% to the buying agent and taking only 2% for yourself and your broker? (Buying agents are discouraged from showing a home that offers them less than 3% but often times 2% is still worth listing the property for the listing agent). Or offer to pay 6% but ask that a certain amount of money is spent on advertising.
Many good questions are suggested below. I would skip things like "Do you hold open houses and why?" because you are a Buyer and not a Seller so you really should not care about that. The key questions are:
How long have you been in business?
Full time Realtor?
Are you a Top Producer?
Do you work with first-time buyers? If yes, why do you give to these Buyers? (A buyer's booklet, realtor's map, descriptions of the different areas of the city.....??)
Do you work with Buyers and Sellers?
Do you help Buyers get pre-approved (and recommend lenders to call?)
Do you cover all areas of the City? (If not, ask which areas he/she covers and why.)
Do you take clients on tours where you set up appointments and drive them? Or do you make them meet you?
Do you take clients out on Sundays to open houses? If you do not take them, do you plan their tours for them?
Do you take a client through the whole process or do you give the escrow/paperwork to an assistant or escrow coordinator?
Do you have references? Can I call or email your references?
You want to know how your agent will assist you through every step of the process of Buying real estate. Does he/she have good listening skills? Is she/he a great negotiator? Does he/she understand your true wants and needs? Do you get along with that agent? Personality plays an important part. If you do not get along with your agent, it does not matter how good he/she is! I welcome further discussion.
â€¢ How many homes, of my type, have you sold? (recently, 6 mos, 1 year, 5 years)
â€¢ What is your list / sale ratio?
â€¢ What is your average "days on market"
â€¢ What is your marketing plan for my home?
does it include internet (where?), do you offer multiple photos, virtual tours, color brochures
â€¢ Do you do open houses (why / why not / how often?)
â€¢ What is your price recommendation (why / how did you arrive at that / do you have comps to back that up?... do you have a "quick sale" price, and a normal sale price")
â€¢ What is your plan if I'm not under contract in 30 days / 60 days / 90 days ...etc....
â€¢ Why should I hire you? What do you bring to the table that's different than the myriad of other agents out there who want my listing.
â€¢ Will you offer a reduced commission (why / why not?)
â€¢ Are you a full-time agent?
â€¢ Do you practice dual-agency? (why / why not?)
â€¢ What do you think of Agent A and Agent B (the two other agents you're interviewing)
â€¢ Are you planning any upcoming vacations or are you going to be unavaible, and who is your back-up when you're gone?
â€¢ Is there anything I haven't asked you, that you think I should have?
There, that should get a good interview going.
1) Get references from the Agent of past clients
2) Ask about not only wins but losses and why
3) What type of education they have, how they took those classes; in person or on line, related and not related to real estate
4) What kind of support do they have in their Broker and the network of other agents, how are they viewed by their broker and other agents?
5) Will the Buyer agent send you automatic emails on new listings
6) Will the agent preview the properties for you
7) Does the agent participate in Broker Tours
8) Will the agent market for you as a Buyer and seek out other homes not on the market
9) Question their knowledge on the different Real Estate Contracts and which one they recommend for you.
10) Do they work as a team, do they have an assistant, an escrow coordinator? If so how much will they rely on their support staff vs hands on
11) When it is time to write an offer how do they normally present it to the other agent? Via Fax? Or will they personally present and sell them face to face on your offer?
12) Ask open ended questions and judge your decission based on how comfortable you are with their integrity, professionalsm, knowledge and ethics.
Since this is a buyers agent you are talking about expect to have a lot of contact with them and you will want someone who is in your corner and one you trust and like. Congratulations on your decission to buy!
One of the most often heard complaints I have heard from people, is that they never heard from their last agent. Once they signed the listing contract, the agent put up the sign and waited for something to happen. Ask the agent how often they will communicate with you. I would expect that they should give you an activity report at least once each week, plus feedback from any showings.
With the market condtions changing- it would be important for the agent to keep monitoring the market conditons and inform you of your competition, and review your pricing at least every 3-4 weeks.
I would find out what the Agent''s marketing plan is for your home ( Real Estate is Not one-size-fits-all)
I'm sure other agents will provide you with some more gems. Good luck to you. Make sure you feel comfortable with the agent and your personalities match