Interviewing an Agent: Tips and Advice
Most agents all have one key trait: they are charismatic (and know they know how to work it).
That being said, there is a way potential clients can really check to make sure they are getting the best possible service from an agent—ask them the right questions and put them on the spot with the hard, meaty, and necessary questions.
- Seniority Factor: How long have you been in business is an important questions but the exact time the agents tells you does not matter per say, but knowing they are seasoned is different than knowing how long they have worked. Ask them about the frequency of their yearly transactions. Ask them about some of their most difficult lessons they have learned and then about some flawless transactions they have had. This is and interview in which you are hiring them for a job. Making sure they are ready to come on board to the capacity you need in the first and most essential question you ought to ask.
- List-Price-to-Sale: For most statistically driven minds, a good and telling set of data you can ask for is the price:sell ratio. Even if you are looking for a buyer’s agent, knowing the negotiation skills of your agent is a testament that can be used on both sides of the transaction. Listing agents should be close to 100% and buyers’ agents should be less than 99%.
- For My Needs: Every agency will have a standard marketing plan. Look for the fine detail in how the presentation has been specialized to your situation. CMA’s are a standard touch, but look at their marketing and see if each place they demonstrate marketing to is a fit to the listing you are bringing them. If there are irrelevant factors, that is a good clue that this is a form marketing plan and not specialized to your needs.
- References: As stated above, this is a job interview. Ask them for references which you can call after the meeting to hear directly from the experience of others. Call as ask what the agent did above and beyond and what they just did ‘okay’ on.
- Top Three: Put the agent on the spot by asking them up-front what are the three things that set them apart from anyone else—even other agents in the same office. Many offices have structures in place so the agents offer an equal experience. What does this agent do outside of that template business model? Listen for creative and effective answers. See if they have even thought of why they are a special and unique agent.
- Networking: Finally, what other professional assistance can the agent introduce you to? What other professionals will you be in contact with throughout the home buying or selling process: lenders, bankers, appraisers, title companies, ect… The quality of their professional network will impact your transaction so ask about it.
Hope this helps. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to add your comments below.