10 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent Before Using Their Services

Are you getting ready to buy a home? If yes, then you'll most likely want to use real estate agent to assist you. Real estate can be an overwheming process for most, so using an expert to make your home buying drean come true can be a great decision.

But not all real estate agents are created equal, and that's way it's to your advantage to find a good recommendation, and interview at least three agents before deciding who you want by your side during this important process. Here are 10 questions to ask a real estate agent to find out which one is berst for you.


1. How long have they been a real estate agent?

You want a professional and knowledgable person who knows the ins and outs of the realalty business, and that level of knowledge comes only with experience. Look for someone with at least a few years in the business. If the agent is a new in the industry, ask him or her if he will receive hands-on guidance from a real estate broker in his office (a broker is someone who has taken real estate education courses that go beyond the agent level and often manages a team of agents).


2. Ask them what neighborhoods do they specialize in?

The agent you choose should be knowledgable with the areas you're interested in, so search for someone who knows the area well about about your desired neighborhood, including home prices, schools, safety, public transportation, and other cultural amenities.


3. What is their schedule and availability?

Many real estate agents work only part time, which may present some issues: For example, what if a bidding war has just begun on the home you just have to have, or you encounter last-minute closing issues? Ideally you want an agent who works full time or, if not, the agent should make it abundantly clear that urgent matters will be made priority if necessary.


4. Will your agent work independently or with a team?

Many agents work on a real estate team with other agents, an administrative assistant, and a team leader. There are benefits to working with an agent who's part of a team. For example, if your agent is tied up and you need to see a property right away, someone else on the team can step in and show you the home, or handle last-minute problems in lieu of your agent. Laws prohibit unlicensed individuals showing a property, so you will need to have one of their team members handle the showing.


5. Find out what percentage of their business is working with home buyers?

While most agents help both home buyers and sellers, the very best tend to specialize in one or the other. If your planning on buying a home, you should team up with a buyer’s agent.

Someone who specializes in working with home buyers. A listing agent, by comparison, focuses on working with home sellers. Look for an agent with a buyer-to-seller client ratio of at least 7 to 3, or ideally higher.


6. How many homes did the agent close in the past year?

There’s a big difference between ‘working’ with home buyers and actually selling people homes, You will want someone who has successfully helped others buy homes.


7. Find out how long it has taken them in the past to find and purchase a home for a client?

Buying a house takes time, an average of 30 to 60 days to shop around for a house, and then 14 to 60 days to go from contract to closing. However, this number varies widely from reagion to reagion and it's crucial that you have an idea of how long it takes to complete the process. You also want to avoid agents who drag their feet unnecessarily. If an agent suggests that it typically takes six months to a year to buy a house, that’s a red flag.


8. How will the agent determine what homes match your wants and needs?

A good real estate agent will provide his or her clients with a comprehensive questionnaire to help them pinpoint their home-buying criteria. Your agent should be able to tell you whether your list of "needs" is realistically affordable in your area or interest.


9. How many clients is your agent currently working with?

You want an agent who's busy, but not too busy. If their juggling to many clients then they might be too busy to provide you with a high-quality, one-on-one service.


10. How will the agent keep in contact with you during the buying process, and how often?

Does your agent prefer to stay in touch by phone, email, or text? Generally it's best if your agent's preferred method of communication aligns with your own. If your agent like texting but you perfer to talk on the phone (or vice versa), that might be an inconvience for one or the other.

You should also ask how often the two fo you will be in touch. The home-buying process requires good communication between you and your agent, so you want to be sure the agent will stay in touch and check in with you, we recommend at on a weekly basis. In a fast-moving market, it's common to be in touch daily, otherwise you miss out.