Buying a home is most likely the largest financial commitment you will make in your lifetime. This process, especially for first-time homebuyers or sellers, can be very intimidating. That is why it is essential to have an expert real estate agent in your corner. Whether you are buying or selling, knowing how to interview a realtor will make the journey much simpler.
If you are ready to sell or buy a home in the Portland Metro area, the team at Julia Monaghan Real Estate is here to chat. We would love the opportunity to serve you. Let’s connect today and see if we’re a good fit for your needs.
Why You Should Interview a Realtor
To ensure you are making the best choice possible when choosing an agent, you have to interview them. Many people skip this critical step and simply rely on recommendations from friends or family.
Referrals are certainly an excellent starting point when choosing a real estate agent. But it is still important to interview a realtor before agreeing to work with them. No matter who recommended them, you need to be sure they are the right fit for you.
Selling and buying a home requires you to spend a significant amount of time with your agent, so it’s critical that you like them. And you are sure to have plenty of questions as the process unfolds. Feeling comfortable asking your realtor these questions is very important.
If you are planning to buy a house, you need to interview buyer’s agents. And if you’re selling, you will be interviewing seller’s agents.
By asking the following questions, you can determine a particular agent’s suitability and compare realtors as you make your choice.
What Is Your Real Estate Experience?
Realtors are experts in the home buying and selling process. But all agents are not created equal. Ask each potential representative how long they have been in the industry and what ongoing education and training they have.
Ideally, you want someone who has enough experience and expertise to protect your interests. They should help you navigate the inevitable hiccups that come with real estate and understand how to advocate for you.
Some specific questions to ask include:
- How many completed transactions did you have last year?
- How many of those were as a buyer’s agent or a seller’s agent?
If someone is a fairly new agent, that doesn’t mean they can’t represent you well. But it does mean that they need to have backup help. Make sure you know who they will go to with questions that are outside of their experience.
In addition to understanding an agent’s overall real estate knowledge, you also should ask about their experience in your particular location. The real estate world relies heavily on micro-markets, so you need to make sure your realtor knows your neighborhood well. This in-depth information helps them plan and work strategically.
What Hours Are You Available?
Obviously, real estate doesn’t fit neatly into traditional office hours. Buyers and sellers have to work around their own jobs and families. And setting appointments to view or show a home takes time.
But you have a right to know what to expect from a realtor’s schedule, and they have a right to have a life outside of buying and selling houses. Ask prospective agents about their schedule and any hours or days that they are not available.
Along these same scheduling lines, ask how many clients the realtor represents at one time. You want to be sure the agent has time to attend to your needs and questions. Things can change and move quickly in real estate, and your agent should be ready to act when needed.
How Will We Communicate?
Some agents live by text, while others are more of a phone call-type of person. Maybe your ideal agent uses the Marco or Voxer app to keep in touch. Regardless of what it is, find someone whose communication style fits yours.
Ask the agent about their typical response times and how they handle time-sensitive situations that arise. If you have specific times that you cannot take calls or answer texts, be sure to communicate that to any potential realtor during the interview.
What Are Your Fees?
Real estate agents make their money once the sale goes through. When you interview a realtor, ask what percentage they charge and if they require you to sign a contract. In most instances, the seller will be responsible for paying the agent’s fee, but be sure to clarify this during your interview.
How Do You Tackle Marketing?
The modern real estate industry has many more tools in its marketing arsenal than just open houses. If you are the seller, use your interview to ask specifically about how the agent plans to market your home. Ask questions such as:
- Do you help or advise with staging the home?
- What sort of online marketing tools do you use?
- Do you offer virtual home tours?
- Will you use social media to promote the listing?
You want to hear a confident plan from any prospective real estate agent, and the plan must include online marketing. This piece of selling a home is non-negotiable in today’s market.
Who Will I Work With From Your Team?
This question is crucial. Some big agencies will try to do a bait-and-switch on clients. That is, they have you meet with an experienced, highly-successful realtor until you sign on with them. And then your actual representative is someone different with much less expertise.
Clarify with the agent precisely who you will be working with throughout the process. If other team members will play a role, you should know ahead of time. Often, agents have transaction coordinators who assist them, but the agent is still your representative.
What Challenges Do You Anticipate for My Situation?
It is a rare real estate transaction that has no bumps in the road. There are almost always surprises or delays that occur, through no one’s fault.
But an experienced agent will be able to anticipate many problems that could arise. When you interview a realtor, ask if they see issues that could create a more challenging experience for you. Knowing early in the process allows you and your agent to be proactive and realistic during the process.
What Questions Do You Want To Ask Me?
If you are going to agree to work with a realtor, they should have questions for you, too. Just as you are looking for the right fit, they should be doing the same.
For you to enjoy a successful real estate journey, this relationship has to work well for both of you. Taking time to ask and answer questions will help ensure that is the case.
Now that you know just what to ask when you interview a realtor, let’s set a time to talk. With years of experience in Portland, OR, and surrounding areas, I serve buyers and sellers.