1. How many years have you been doing real estate full-time, and is it your primary source of income?
This question will help you determine two important things: Is the agent you’re speaking with new, or experienced. The second determines if the agent is currently spending most of their time in real estate matters. Do not work with a “weekend warrior” real estate agent that treats this career like a “side hustle.” You’ll more than likely get frustrated, and regret it. Always work with a full time professional.
2. How many properties have you sold this year and are you a part of a team, or a single agent?
These questions will help you assess the type of workload your agent has, and the supportive resources at their disposal. My advice would be to not gamble on an agent that is not consistently closing at least 1 transaction a month. Real estate is constantly changing, and you want to work with someone with a firm pulse on current market trends. Working with a single agent is also not ideal. If that agent runs into complications, or gets lucky with too many potential clients at once, or gets really unlucky (like getting sick), your transaction is going to be at a huge disadvantage. This is why so many struggling agents are impossible to reach on the phone: they’re stretched too thin. If possible, always work with a team of licensed agents. You get an army for the same price as one agent, so try to get more bank for your buck.
3. What is your level of education?
This one is very unorthodox, but in today’s modern times, it is very relevant. Contrary to common belief, being a real estate professional does not require a college education. Try to remember your mindset fresh out of high school, and that’s the common realtor you’ll run into 9 out of 10 times. Would you trust one of your most important assets in the hands of a high school educated person? That’s up to you. Studies suggest that real estate professionals with a bachelor’s degree (at reputable and accredited institutions) tend to have a higher customer satisfaction level. Personally, I believe all real estate agents should have a bachelor’s degree (or more if desired), but current licensing authorities are not in agreement. This is the largest reason why I believe most people are unhappy with their first realtor solely for this reason. The real estate profession has become very complex in the last 20 years, so a change to the minimum level of education is much needed.
4. Have you ever been threatened with litigation or are you currently involved in a lawsuit for real estate matters?
Many realtors cannot answer “no” to this question. If they can, I would strongly encourage you to consider them for your project because they’re probably very honest and competent.
5. Have you ever sold a property like this one?
Make sure your agent has some experience working with your type of real estate. Some agents will take on anything and learn a skill at your expense. Protect yourself from that and make sure you ask this question. Not all real estate is the same and there is no cookie-cutter approach that works perfectly in real estate.
At the end of the day who you choose is up to you, but ask these five questions to make an informed decision you can stand behind.