- Why are you in the real estate business?
Real estate is a relationship business and it’s important to foster a strong connection to the professional who is going to help you through this very important financial, and often emotional, transaction. By asking “why?” you will be able to see if their values align with yours and if it is a good fit. If an agent’s reply is that real estate is a great way to make money, as opposed to being an agent because they enjoy helping people find the perfect home, that may be telling.
- How many other buyer clients are you currently working with?
This question is very important because it tells you how much time your agent will be able to devote to you as a client. If you feel like an agent’s plate may be too full upon initially talking to them, it may be wise to find someone else. Their available time will affect how quickly they can call you back and how long it takes them to turn around an offer, which can have a huge impact on whether or not you end up with your dream home.
- How are you going to provide better service than other agents?
Two common themes that come up for real estate agents are engagement and motivation. Asking a question like this one forces your prospective agent to get into specifics and outline their plan for how they will help you find the perfect home. A great agent will be happy to share the tricks they’ve got up their sleeve and have their finger on the pulse of the neighbourhood you are considering. They may know about off-market homes or potential listings before they hit the market. They should also have a proven track record of great negotiating. This will ensure you not only find the perfect home but also that you get it for the price and terms that work best for you.
- Can you show me a list of homes you have sold in the last two years?
Think of this as asking to view your agent’s resume. Before you hire someone for a job, you want to make sure they’ve successfully done that job in the past. A majority of the agent’s sales should ideally be in and around the neighbourhood you are considering. Another great way to find out about past successes is by reading online reviews on the agent. Knowing that others have had a positive experience with your agent of choice will help you feel more secure in your own process.
- Where do you live?
Agents who live in the area they are selling in offer a unique perspective that someone from a different town or region might not know. That’s why it’s so important to find out where your agent lives and spends time — they’ll have a better idea of school quality, local fun places to hang out and an insider’s perspective on the neighbourhood’s intricate details that will give you a sense of community that others can’t offer.