Home Buying in San Francisco>Question Details

Mike Stevens,  in 94121

What is the best question to ask a prospective real estate agent?

Asked by Mike Stevens, 94121 Wed Jun 11, 2008

Help the community by answering this question:


Dear Mike,

I would say the first question is "Why should I work with you" and the second question is "Will you give me a list of referrals I can call."

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
I'm not a big fan of references. An agent is only going to give you the names of people who would say wonderful things about them. They're not going to give you the names of the people who called their managing brokers to complain about them.

The questions will vary depending on whether you're seeking a buyer's agent, or a listing agent. In either case, asking them to produce their MLS statistics may be helpful.

For a buyer's agent:

* How many houses of the type I am looking helped to purchase in the last 6 months / year?
* What was the list/sale ratio of those sales (that'll help identify their negotiation skills)?
* Will you help me strategize when it comes to negotiations?
* How many homes do you think it will take to find what I'm looking for... how long should it take?
* What is the average list/sale ratio in our area?

For a listing agent:
* How many homes of my type have you listed in the last 6 months/year?
* What was the list/sale ratio of those homes
* What was the average days on market for those homes
* Please describe your marketing strategy for my home
* Describe your strategy for price reductions, and timeframe
* What is your recommendation for price, for a quick sale, moderate sale, squeezing-every-dollar-outta-the-house sale... and which do you recommend and why?

That should start the conversation.

Get a good feel for the agent... leave some "silence" in the room, and allow them to fill it (we agents love to talk about ourselves)... ask them to describe the overall experience of a recent purchase or sale.

Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 12, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Overall, just get a sense if you connect. you want to be comfortable to be open and feel like your agent is going to share information with you. Communication is key.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 14, 2008
Give me some references !!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
You would be well served to ask for the contact information for the last 10 buyers/sellers that the agent represented including those properties the agent listed but did not sell; additionally, the contact information of the agents on the other side of the transactions for their opinion of their experience with the prospective agent. Scovell+Sabatini Team
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
There are 21. Check out my website to find out. All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
Hey Mike,

WOW, did you get some great responses. Some here in The City and others from a great distance. They all put out some perfect questions but the common theme is one of "comfortability and trust". The best way to get this in a short period of time is to interview a couple/few and ask for a list of people that you can talk to. Be careful with this list because any agent should be able to pick people to give them positive referrals.

I liked the Grenier groups answer coupled with Deborah's answer. However, I'd also include some questions surrounding the ideas of Tenants Rights, TIC/Condo, Mulitple Offers and basic neighborhood knowledge of the areas your interested in.

All in all, a very good question/response session.

Take care

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
Hi Mike, Really, there isn't just one question to ask a prospective real estate agent. Our suggestion to you is to find out if he/she is working full time in the real estate business ( because if they are not full time agents, they will not be able to meet your needs effectively); are they experts in the towns/communities you are interested in; how long have they been in the real estate market; will they provide you with several references of people who they have worked with in the past, either selling them a home or listing their home to sell; does their brokerage have international exposure (especially if you are listing a home with them); inquire about their skills, knowledge and education, as well as their background. Talk to a couple of agents and make your decision based on a majority of the above suggestions. Good luck, and remember, you are hiring a "negotiator" whether you are buying or selling you want that agent to get you the very best price. Be honest with your agent and keep them in the know. They should also keep you apprised as you move through the process. We are big on communication...it is so important.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
I would interview 2 or more agents before considering anyone. Find out their track record, sales records, advertising, check out their web site and see how they present themselves. You will find that you feel comfortable with one more then the others. That would be the agent for the job!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
What makes you different??? Why should I .......with you??
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
I agree with Deborah that you need ask them WHY they are the best person for you to hire. Every agent should understand their value proposition and what sets them apart. The other thing is to make sure you feel comfortable with that person. Buying and/or selling a home can be a VERY emotional time. You have to be feel that you can be open with your agent and trust that they are working for your best interests.
Web Reference: http://www.yourSFhome.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
Why are you the best agent to represent me in the sale of this property? (Seller)

Why are you the best agent to represent me in the search and purchase of my next property? (Buyer)

The agent needs to know a little bit about you and your goals in order to provide a meaningful answer. An agent who is able to ask about your needs, listen to your feedback and direct and advise accordingly will use their knowledge and skills and be focused on you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
What is their experience and knowledge of the market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
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