1. Can I see your references?

Ideally, ask for the names and phone numbers of three of the most recent clients. You want to know whether people are happy with the real estate agent's work now, not five or 10 years ago. When you talk to former clients, ask how easy it was to reach the agent when they had questions, and whether they felt well supported and advised throughout the process.

2. What selling price do you think I can achieve?

Prospective agents will give you a sale price they think they can achieve for your property. The most important question to ask is "What are you basing that on?" They should then support this with recent sales in your area of similar properties - both from their agency and others.

Make sure they can support the suggested sale price with evidence - you don't want to fall for the trap of securing the agent who simply says they can get the best price for you!

3. Do you attend inspections?

Inspections are a very common contingency in contracts when buying a home. A great question to ask a potential buyers agent is whether or not they attend their inspections. There are some buyers agents who will attend and some who will not. Most top producing agents will agree that attending inspections is important, for many reasons.

4. Are you a broker or a sales agent?

This is a minor concern, but you want to know the answer so that you can make sure a broker has sufficient time to represent you effectively. If he is too busy managing the office or keeping tabs on associates, he might be too much of an administrator to meet your day-to-day demands.

5. What is your standard commission?

You MUST ask. Enough said.

6. What haven't I asked you that I need to know?

This is the best way to ask for references. You may even be lucky enough to actually know the homeowner. Be sure to ask the homeowner lots of questions related to likes, dislikes, and the agent's performance compared to what he/she promised.

7. Do I need a "reality check"?

A reality check is where an agent puts you in the car and drives you around to look at other properties. As a seller, she is showing you that your expectations are unreasonable compared to similar homes in similar neighborhoods. For buyers, a reality check may be to prove that you have too little money to afford the neighborhood and that perhaps you need to adjust your hopes and dreams down to the size of your wallet.

8. What can I do to make myself a better buyer?

If you are buying a home, there are ways to make bids more attractive, such as being preapproved for a mortgage so that the deal can be written without a mortgage contingency. This question will give you insight into the kinds of strategies a buyer broker thinks will work, both with lenders and sellers.

9. Have any of your showings or sales included homes in my neighborhood?

Just because someone is the top agent at his firm does not make him the best for you. If he is not familiar with your neighborhood, if he can't describe it knowledgeably to a seller, you may be better off with someone else.

10. Do you have a personal website?

You maybe asking yourself, Why is a website important for a buyers agent to have? Simple. A website is hopefully a great place to learn about not only the potential buyers agent but also about the local neighborhoods, schools, and also find some helpful testimonials.

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