Updated: Oct 14, 2019

By Scott Meservey

After almost 15 years of being a full time licensed Realtor, it still amazes me that so many people give more thought to what television to buy or what shoes to wear than who will

represent and protect them in what will likely be one of the largest financial transactions of their lives. Whether you are going to be buying, selling or both, it is my opinion that you should do your research and ask qualifying questions to ensure you hire the right person for you!

Many agents represent both buyers and sellers depending on what the client needs. This is not something you should shy away from as long as the agent is skilled and a good fit for you. Some of the most important qualifying questions apply to both buyers and sellers.

Some of these questions are:

Are you a full time agent or do you have an additional job? The real estate market does not adhere to your agent's schedule so your agent better be able to be flexible. There are always agents that look to real estate as a supplemental income. Should something as important as your sale or new home purchase be of secondary importance to the agent you work with?

How long have you been a full time agent? There are always new agents coming to the market that often will not disclose their experience unless asked. The experience of a seasoned professional doesn't cost any more money but the lack of it can cost you the home of your dreams!

Google your prospective agent. I know this isn't a question, but it is important. They should be easily found on the web along with past client reviews. See if people have been satisfied with the level of care, communication and results!

Some specific questions to ask a prospective listing agent when selling your home are:

How many homes have you sold in the last two years? This will tell you if they are active and up to date on the current real estate market. This is very important as the market is always changing!

At what price do you suggest we list my home and what do you expect it to sell for? These are often not the same numbers and the agent should be readily able to explain their strategy and why it makes sense in the current market environment.

How much will it cost me to sell my home? The real estate transaction should be a totally transparent process. A professional Realtor should be able to get you the most money, explain any pitfalls and protect you from liability before, during and after the sale. You should avoid anybody that appears to have something to hide!

A few key questions when looking for a buyer's agent are:

Are you a full time agent? I know I touched on this one earlier, but it is important enough to stress again here. The inability to handle issues as they come up can have devastating financial implications. Also, in a competitive market like we have here in the valley, an agent that can only show homes on weekends or in the evenings can often cost you the home you truly want. The good ones go fast!

What aspects of the transaction will you personally handle? Many agents are part of a team these days so you may get all the right answers from the agent you interview only to find that you are immediately transferred to somebody else that you may not have as much faith in or may not be solely responsible for the successful closing!

Do you use a buyer's brokerage agreement? This is a contract obligating a buyer to a specific agent regardless of performance. If an agent is not performing, the buyer should retain the right to find someone who can satisfy their needs without threat of penalty. If the best possible effort is being put into fulfilling the buyer's needs, then the buyer will have no reason to look for a different agent!

One final word of caution is to not feel pressure from a friend, acquaintance or family member to represent and guide you through a transaction of this magnitude unless they have the experience to answer any questions you have to your satisfaction. They may cost you a whole lot more than just some hard feelings!

These are just a few simple questions you can use to help make sure that your home buying or selling experience is successful, rewarding and doesn't turn into a nightmare that was totally preventable! If you have any further questions, feel free to Google me!

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