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9 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent Before You Hire Them
Real Estate

9 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent Before You Hire Them

Buying a home is likely the single largest financial investment you’ll ever make, so choosing the right professional is critical.


5 min read

January 30, 2021

Choosing the right real estate agent is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact your finances, so feel free to take the necessary time to ensure you've found the perfect match. There are undoubtedly many aspects you'd like to understand about the process of buying or selling a property, and asking your agent pointed questions can be instrumental in securing the finest service tailored to your requirements.

While some agents welcome thorough questioning, others might be less enthusiastic, as your insights from their transparent responses can set clear expectations for their performance. Remember, the world of real estate, much like life itself, offers a variety of experiences, making it crucial to conduct interviews with potential realtors to find one that aligns with your goals. This effort will certainly be time well spent.

Questions to Ask a Realtor Before Agreeing to a Deal

The hiring procedure for a real estate agent is similar to that of any other job, except you get to choose who you collaborate with. Selecting the appropriate expert is essential since buying real estate is perhaps the single biggest financial investment you will ever make.

Before you settle on a real estate agent, ask these nine critical questions to ensure you find the best one for your needs.

1. What is your differentiator and why should I list my home with you?

Navigating the real estate landscape of today is undeniably more challenging than it was ten years back, making it essential to distinguish oneself. As you engage with a real estate agent, ponder over the distinct marketing strategies and initiatives they utilize to position your property as a top choice against others on the market. It's also beneficial to consider the unique advantages this agent brings to the table—especially in terms of facilitating a swift, smooth sale of your property at the best possible price.

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2. What is the track record and standing of your business in the industry?

It's common to hear real estate agents tout their superiority in one aspect or another. However, with such widespread claims, distinguishing between them can become a challenge. As someone looking to sell their home, your primary interest likely lies in finding an agent who can secure a quick sale at a premium price.

To gauge whether an agent meets your criteria, inquire about their sales track record. In the real estate world, the number of properties an agent has successfully sold is often a key indicator of their effectiveness. Understanding why some agents achieve better results than others and the strategies they employ differently is essential.

You might be surprised to learn that many agents complete fewer than 10 transactions annually. This relatively small number of sales can limit their ability to launch comprehensive marketing campaigns for your property due to budget constraints. Consequently, agents with a lower volume of sales may not have the resources for extensive advertising, unique programs, or support staff to lighten their load. This scarcity of resources means they might have to manage all aspects of the sale independently, potentially affecting the quality of service you receive.

Get to know an agent and their unique skills, offerings, and listings before you sign a contract.

3. Who controls your advertising and what are your marketing plans for my home?

Marketing can play a large role in how quickly your property sells, so how much each professional spends on advertising should be a deciding factor when interviewing real estate agents. Whether they advertise in newspapers, on TV, or in magazines—and if they know how effective each medium is—also matters, so don’t shy away from these questions. 

It's crucial to find out who is in charge of their advertising in addition to where they intend to advertise your house. You have a better chance of being in a favorable position if the agent handles it independently. When considering your alternatives, bear in mind that if the agent's broker handles marketing, your house will be in competition for advertising space with all of the agents' properties in the brokerage.

4. What has your business sold locally?

Asking each professional about their sales in your region is a good idea, even if it may seem like a no-brainer to inquire about real estate agents. A full accounting of the agent's sales as well as other sales in the region should be provided. You should probably go elsewhere if they can't provide you with such a comprehensive list.

Make sure to ask how often and how quickly an agent sells homes so you can get a frame of reference.


The Real Estate Board provides the average for all agents, thus you should compare the average of each agent to the board average. Your ability to forecast how much money you will get from the sale of your house will be aided by their success on this measurement.

6. what is the typical selling time of your listings?

This statistic is also captured by the Real Estate Board. Understanding how long it typically takes each agent to sell a home will help you determine if they sell faster or slower than the board average and, more importantly, estimate how long your home will be on the market before it sells.

7. How many buyers do you work with?

While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind, this ought to be included in your real estate agent interview questions. Whether they are working with several buyers or just a few, it’s also worth finding out the system each agent has for attracting buyers—but keep in mind that the more buyers your agent is working with, the better your chances are of selling your home quickly. This also impacts the price your home will sell for because an agent with multiple clients can set up an auction-like atmosphere in which many buyers bid on your home at the same time. 

Ask agents for a list of previous clients you can call, then contact them to inquire about their experience.

8. Is there a list of customer recommendations I might contact?

Your potential agent’s previous clients have already gone through the process and likely know the answers to your questions, making them a great resource. Ask each real estate agent you’re seriously considering working with for a list of references, and contact a few of them to see what the transaction was like. 


Make sure you get the answers to all of your questions from the real estate brokers, including this crucial one, before you sign a contract. If an agent tries to force you into a long-term listing deal that they can get out of but you can't, you should know in advance if you can terminate the listing agreement. In most cases, the agent's interests are protected by fines and broker protection periods; yours are not. Therefore, even if the agent is certain they will surpass your expectations, when you are ready to commit, find out whether you can terminate your contract with them without incurring any fees if you're not happy with the service.

Evaluate each agent's responses to these questions carefully and objectively to determine who best fits your needs.

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