Your realtor can make or break your home buying or selling experience. So, if you’re looking to buy or sell a home, do your homework before hiring your realtor.
Even if an agent comes highly recommended by family or friends, they may not be the right fit for you.
So, how do you know if they’ll give you the best real estate experience possible? Keep reading to learn 18 questions you should ask when interviewing a new realtor.
Question #1: How many years of experience do you have?
- Anticipating problems before they occur
- Negotiating using fine-tuned strategies they’ve learned over the years
- Having valuable contacts and relationships in the industry.
Question #2: Are you licensed and in good standing with RECO?
RECO stands for the Real Estate Council of Ontario. It’s hard to trust people these days with so many scams happening everywhere, so this is a fair question to ask — trusted agents won’t be offended by having to prove that they’re a licensed professional.
Question #3: Is real estate a full-time job for you?
If the agent only does real estate part-time, it’s safe to assume they won’t have the necessary time and attention you deserve. Remember, this is a life-changing event that requires your agent’s best and the process of buying or selling a home is a lengthy one requiring commitment, dedication, and presence.
Question #4: How quickly do you respond to your clients?
This is an important one to ask — time is of the essence when you want to put an offer in on your dream home. Short delays of even one hour can mean losing that potential home. Most people today rely on text messaging because it’s easier and more convenient, but a phone call gets you a quicker response. Ensure you and your realtor are always available for both.
Question #5: What’s your availability — daytime, evenings, weekends?
Ensure the agent is available on your schedule. This is a major red flag if they say they’re unavailable on weekends. Most open houses happen on the weekends, which is likely when you have the freest time to dedicate to the process.
Question #6: How many clients do you currently have?
The answer to this question can be tricky to rate, but having this information in your back pocket is still beneficial when deciding on the right realtor for your situation. Too few clients can be a red flag and cause for concern. On the other hand, too many can mean you won’t get enough of their time and attention.
Question #7: Do you specialize in either buying or selling?
Many agents like to focus their talents on one side of the real estate process and become specialists. But being a specialist at one end leaves an opening for inadequacies on the other. Having experience in both buying and selling gives unique insights into both that specialists just can’t offer.
Question #8: What’s your current ratio of sellers to buyers?
The perfect answer to this question would be an equal number of each to indicate proficiency and expertise in both buying and selling. But, the answer may be a bit construed depending on what the real estate market is trending like. In a seller’s market, it wouldn’t be odd for most agents to have a higher seller-to-buyer ratio and the opposite in a buyer’s market.
Question #9: How do you get paid?
Understanding how your agent gets paid before you enter a relationship with them is just smart business. Normally, upon the sale of a house, the seller’s broker splits the commission (usually 6% but can vary) between the buyer’s and the seller’s agent.
Question #10: How long does it take your clients to find a home and close the deal?
Some buyers are fortunate enough to find their dream home in just days, but this usually isn’t the way it goes. Your agent is responsible for finding your perfect home, and many factors determine how long it typically takes them. If they regularly take six months or longer to find a home and close the deal, this may be a red flag.
Question #11: How does the entire home buying process work?
- How do house showings work?
- What does a home inspector look at?
- How do we make an offer?
- What are concessions?
- What do we do after my offer is accepted?
- What happens during the closing process?
- How long does the process take from start to finish?
Question #12: Can I contact some of your references?
Do your due diligence and speak to their references just as you would if you hired an employee for a job at your business. Use the info you get from the realtor’s previous clients and compare it to their online reviews to see if they’re the right fit for you.
Question #13: What’s your typical marketing strategy?
- Home staging service
- Online and social media presence
Question #14: How do you help me compete in a buyer’s market?
You must stand out from the crowd in a competitive buyer’s market. So what strategy does the agent use to get your offer to the top of the seller’s list? This is another red flag if they can’t give you a straightforward answer.
Question #15: How well do you know the area I’m looking to buy in?
An agent must have buying or selling experience in the area you’re interested in. Neighbourhoods can differ from one another just as entire cities do. Factors like home prices, neighbourhood upkeep, social groups, and even the cost of living can be different. An agent who knows the area should have a plan that fits your needs.
Question #16: Do you have experience selling or buying homes in this price range?
Marketing strategies differ according to the price range of properties, and so do the talents of real estate agents. For example, agents specializing in multimillion-dollar homes won’t be a good fit if your budget is $500,000 — they won’t be familiar with the area you’re interested in or the neighbourhood’s demographics.
Question #17: Will I deal strictly with you, or do you have a team?
It’s never fun establishing what you think is a good relationship with a realtor, only for them to pass you on to their support staff. Ask the agent to be clear on what they take care of personally and what gets handed off if support staff is involved. The agent should always be your primary contact and source of information.
Question #18: How’s your network of contacts?
- Home inspectors
- Mortgage brokers
- Moving companies
- Home stagers
- Real estate lawyers
- Contractors in various trades
Whatever your needs are regarding real estate, your agent should have a trusted solution for you. And yes, you can trust their recommendations because your agent trusts them—their reputation depends on it.
Looking to Buy or Sell a Home in Toronto or the GTA?
Smart decisions and successful outcomes begin with a trusted realtor.
Joel Cooper has partnered with buyers and sellers in Toronto and the GTA for over 14 years. He has provided countless home buyers and sellers meaningful lifelong results through his extensive knowledge and trusted expertise. Open communication and complete transparency is the driving force behind Joel’s success.
Have questions for Joel? Reach out to him directly today to get started.
Hi, I’m Joel, a real estate professional based in Toronto.
My approach is simple—I put you first. I believe in open communication, total transparency, and meaningful results. I’ll guide you through the real estate process, market values, and always keep the focus on you—and your needs.