17 questions to find the best agent for you

Jul 16, 2019 8:14:00 PM / by Brett O'Daniell

Interviewing potential real estate agents before deciding on whom to hire is a good idea. It’s in your best interest to ask them some or all of the following questions to gauge their knowledge and fit with your needs. Take a look below, and let us know if there are any other questions you’ve found valuable when interviewing agents.


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1. What are the top three things that separate you from your competition?

A good agent won't hesitate to to answer this question and should be ready to fire off several reasons as to why he or she is best suited for the job. Everyone has their own standards, but most consumers say they're looking for agents who say they're honest, trustworthy, assertive, and excellent negotiators.

They might tell you that they are always available by phone or email or that they are a good communicator. They might indicate that they are friendly and able to maintain a sense of humor under trying circumstances.  It all comes down to the characteristics and qualifications that you value the most.

2. Are you mostly a buyer's agent or a listing agent?

While an agent can do both, each side of the transaction require and demand a very different expertise.

3. Do you work as an agent full-time?

You don’t want someone doing this as a hobby. Ask which MLS and Realtor Associations he or she belongs to.  Ask if he or she has received any special designations.

4. How long have you been in residential real estate sales?

There’s no right or wrong to this question, but a good guideline is to select an agent with at least five years of experience selling in your area.


5. When is your availability to show me homes?

In a hot market, waiting a day or two to see a new listing can be the kiss of death. New properties go quickly, especially if they are a good deal.  When you find a home you might like, you need to book a showing and see it very quickly. Click here to meet an agent at the property and start asking some of these questions. 

6. How many buyers have you worked with in the past year? Are you knowledgeable about my area?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question either, but you probably don’t want someone who hasn’t done any transactions in an area that has hundreds of sales each year. There’s no issue with people learning, but probably not at your expense.

7. Do you typically work in my price range?

Most agents can work across a wide variety of prices, but if they typically sell $1 million-plus homes and you are buying a $200k home, then they might not make you a top priority.  Similarly, if you want to buy a luxury condo in an urban area but they typically sell single-family homes in the suburbs, then they might not know how to navigate the transaction as effectively.

8. What other professionals do you typically partner with?

A good agent will not be doing everything on their own. They are well-connected, and have a team of other professionals, like a preferred lender, home inspector, or insurance agent but you should never feel pressured to use their recommendation. On top of that, it’s illegal for an agent to force you to use their lender or other service provider.

9. How will you keep me informed? What method and how frequently?

There’s no right answer, and this all comes down to personal preference. However, if you prefer to communicate via text or email in a timely manner, but they prefer to call you or are not responsive, then they will not be a good fit for you. 

10. How many clients (both sellers and buyers) are you currently representing?

While there’s no magic number for how many clients an agent can effectively handle, a number that’s staggeringly high, like 40 listings or 15 buyer clients, could indicate that their time will be divided and you won’t get much one-on-one attention.

11. How much time will I have to review documents before I have to sign them?

A good agent will work with you and provide you with ample time to review important documents. Some agents are genuinely busy and don’t have time during business hours to prep documents. However, there are others who purposely show you documents at the last minute to try and minimize the number of questions they have to answer. Buying a home is a big endeavor and can be stressful. A good agent will minimize any stress related to reviewing and updating documents by doing it ahead of time, rather than at the eleventh hour.

12. Do you use e-signature?

An electronic signature, or e-signature, is an electronic indication of intent to agree to or approve the contents of a document. In asking this question, you can gauge how tech-savvy an agent is. Time and money are saved because you eliminate the need to print, fax, scan, and ship documents. On top of that, you’ll get faster results and create a complete audit trail and tamper-proof virtual seal of the signed documents.

13. Do you have your own website or app? Why or why not?

This question can additionally be used to help assess how tech-savvy an agent is. This answer could include anything from home finding MLS search apps to their own website.  Being listed on popular sites like Zillow and Trulia makes it easier to gauge  their online presence.  It is also a great way to view an agent’s past reviews from buyers and sellers. 

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14. Will you provide me with at least three references?

Three is a good guideline, but you may not want to talk to three references (or feel three is not enough). A good agent has nothing to hide, and if they have a good track record, then they should have more than enough previous clients to vouch for them.


15. What makes you different from other agents?

A lot can be gleaned from an agent’s answer to this question. Their answer to this question can truly set them apart. It’s a great way to see what they specialize in. 

16. What are the drawbacks of the area and homes that I am interested in?

This is a great question to ask.  Not only does the answer assess if the agent has experience and a pulse on the area & homes you are interest in, but also whether or not they are honest. A good agent will be able to pick out credible flaws in the area and homes you are looking at, which you will have to overcome to find a suitable property.  They may provide you great tips on remodeling or other general home-buying tips to maximize your subject property.  On the other hand, a bad agent may not point out any flaws with the homes and/or locations that you know yourself to be there, putting in question both their judgement and their dedication to navigating you through the home buying process.

17. How do you typically structure your Buyer's Agency Agreement and when do you expect me to sign it?

A Buyer's Agency Agreement gives an agent the exclusive right to earn their pay (i.e., their commission) by representing you (the buyer).  It also prevents you from buying a property on your own, using a different agent and/or not paying the agent a commission during the agreement phase.


Topics: Home tour, home shopping, real estate, house hunting, touring homes, home search, real estate agents, agents, real estate agent, professional, buyer's agent, commission, listing, realtor, home purchase, sales contract, home inspection, homes for sale, listing agent, selling agent, home showings, home for sale, hometraq, home ownership, buying a home

Brett O'Daniell

Written by Brett O'Daniell

Co-Founder of HomeTraq. 18+ years real estate and mortgage experience.

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