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What Questions Should I Ask a Prospective Real Estate Agent Before Hiring Him?

by Elle Di Jensen, studioD

When you're hiring someone to help you sell your home, it's pleasant to find a real estate agent you genuinely like, but it isn't necessary. Instead of seeking a friend, look for an experienced agent who's likely to find a buyer and get the best price for your house. Conduct interviews of three or four agents and ask specific questions about their backgrounds and business practices. The answers you get will help you find is the right agent for you.


Before you hire someone to list and sell your home, determine that she's qualified to do so. Ask prospective real estate agents what professional credentials they hold, what organizations they belong to and, if you don't already know, what brokerage firm they work with. The minimum qualification should be licensing from your state, but agents who hold membership with the National Association of Realtors have additional training and follow ethics policies. Have the potential agents tell you how you will benefit from the credentials they hold.


Keeping up with the progress of your home sale is vital, something that depends heavily on solid communication between the real estate agent and you. Find out how often you can expect potential agents to contact you, and whether they're typically available on evenings and weekends. Ask if you can contact them by phone, email or text, and how promptly you can expect an answer. Tell prospective agents your schedule and determine if you can work in synch.

Marketing Plan

Find out how prospective real estate agents plan to sell your house. Effective agents have a basic plan they follow that is flexible enough to allow for individual differences between properties. Ask to see the written plan for selling your home, and look for elements such as how the agent will help you get your home ready to sell, sample ads with a list of where the ads will be placed, and recommendations on open house events.


You want to know what you're paying for, but know what amount you're paying, too. The amount that is charged for a real estate agent's services may depend on your local market. Typically real estate agents charge around 5 to 6 percent of the sales price of your home, and that fee will be split if you end up using both a buyer's and a seller's agent. Ask if prospective agents' commissions are open to negotiations.

Personal Experience

Ask potential agents if they've ever sold property of their own, how many houses in your neighborhood or the surrounding area they've listed and sold, the average price of homes they sell, if their expertise is primarily in home properties or if they specialize in commercial properties or land. Ask how long it typically takes them to sell a home from listing to closing and request a printout of the homes they've listed in the past 6 months, along with their addresses. Don't hesitate to ask any real estate agent what makes her the best agent to list your home.


About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

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