Real Estate agents like many people don’t always like being drilled with performance related questions and may try to sidestep or avoid such questions. Nevertheless, when they are being paid thousands of dollars to buy and/or sell a home it is justified to interview them ahead of time.
Commission and Fees
What percentage commission is charged and what other agent related fees may apply can make a difference on the bottom line. Most commissions are negotiable and a 1-2% difference on a $150K house is $1500-$3000.
Buying and Selling History
Real Estate Agents aren’t perfect but if they try at their jobs they might be worth a second look. What’s more, if an agent can prove they’re good at their job that’s a good indication they can help one buy or sell a home. If selling a home, time on the market and selling prices in relation to market are good metrics to use. If buying, the percentage of clients retained without being fired, is a good indicator of client satisfaction.
How available a Real Estate agent is can be very important. If they can’t answer your calls within a few hours to a day, be willing to show one as many houses as one wants to see and/or are generally unhelpful, they may not be worth one’s time. If an agent creates the impression they care about the whole deal as much as the buyer or seller and continue creating this impression, it might be a good idea to stick with them.
What services an agent is able to provide either individually or through the Real Estate company he/she with can be useful in the home buying and selling process. The more services available the better; services such as network listings, negotiating, obtaining home disclosures and neighborhood and housing background information are almost indispensable.
Some real estate agents are high powered and don’t waste their time with little houses. Finding out what kind of home or neighborhood a agent is accustomed to can be an advantage because they may already have networks, grapevine information and/or other know how and connections that can be leveraged in the buying and selling process.
Let’s face it, buying or selling a home is often a big deal requiring a lot of time and effort. If the financing isn’t enough of a hassle, finding the right home or buyer willing to pay a fair price can be challenging. A good real estate agent is paid to help this process go a little smoother and to assist the buyer and/or seller achieve their housing goals. Asking the right questions of an agent in advance of signing a contract can help avoid a bad choice and make life easier for the client and the agent.