13 Top Questions to Ask a Realtor Before You Hire Them

Founder, Condoblackbook.com & Owner/Broker, HB Roswell Realty
13 Top Questions to Ask a Realtor Before You Hire Them
Founder, Condoblackbook.com & Owner/Broker, HB Roswell Realty

Oct 01, 2018 October 01, 2018

Hiring a Realtor is just like hiring any other professional: not all are created equal, and you have to interview a few candidates and ask some really smart and probing questions in order to find the best. To avoid wasting time and money, during your initial conversation, your potential realtor should answer some essential questions that will let you know whether you’re working with a top notch professional who will get the job done right, or whether you’re walking into a headache.

In all my years of experience as a professional realtor, I have learned that most people don’t really know what to look for or what to ask because they don’t understand the ins and outs of the real estate industry. If you think that all realtors work the same way, you’re in for a surprise. The industry is full of under-achievers and only a handful of real winners.

It is often said that in general all sales industries operate by means of the 80/20 rule, where 80% of all sales are achieved by 20% of all salespeople. In the Real Estate business, the odds are even lower, with all successful sales being achieved by only 6% of sales staff, while 94% fall behind. This is why so many sellers end up frustrated with their real estate agent, and why so many people feel dissatisfied working with realtors.

While it is very easy to get a Real Estate license by taking a course and passing an exam, being successful in this highly competitive field requires far more skill, as well as an impeccable work ethic. If your goal is to work with the most successful 6% of the sales force, you’ll have to figure out how to find that 6% by asking some pertinent questions that will help you figure out the realtor’s track record.

Typically, while it may cost you as much to pay for a mediocre real estate agent as it will to work with a top performer, you’ll end up making a better sale in the end if you go with someone who’s experienced, skilled, and focused on helping you make the most profit possible in the sale.

Below is a list of questions you should ask when interviewing a potential realtor to sell your property. Be sure to listen intently and take notes so you can compare candidates’ responses.

Below is a list of questions you should ask when interviewing a potential realtor to sell your property. Be sure to listen intently and take notes so you can compare candidates’ responses.


How much will you charge me for selling my property and what are your responsibilities?

An experienced and confident realtor should be able to easily explain their commission rate, and the list of things they will specifically do in order to ensure the most profitable sale of your home.


Can I terminate the listing contract at any time if I am not completely satisfied with your service?

This question reveals a lot and it’s best to get it out of the way early on. Any realtor who is a top performer and is confident that they can successfully sell your property will not be put off by this question, so their response to this particular question will tell you a lot.


How long have you been a real estate agent and how many homes do you typically sell in a year?

While it can happen that one agent may have 20 years’ experience selling an average of 5 homes a year, you may run into someone with only 4 years’ experience who is selling an average of 20 a year. It takes a special kind of gift to sell real estate, and you want to be sure that the realtor you hire has it!


Of the properties you sold in the past year, how long did it take on the average from posting the original list price to securing the accepted offer?

This is one of the most important questions to ask your potential realtor, because this essential question will reveal how well the realtor knew the market when they made the initial recommendation of the list price in the first place. Many agents will propose an inflated list price just to hook sellers, and this trick is known as “buying a listing,” however, it often leads to delayed sales and very rarely secures you a sale at the inflated price.


Among the homes you sold last year, what was the average difference between the list price and selling price?

This question will reveal two key points: whether the realtor’s suggested list price was correct from the start, and also what kind of negotiating skills the agent has. The gap between list price and selling price will tell you how well the agent knows the market, and how much they genuinely care about getting you the highest selling price for your property.


What type of Internet tools will you use to market my property online?

Online marketing is quickly beating out most other means of selling real estate and about 90% of home buyers now say they found their new home through online marketing. It is crucial that any realtor you work with possesses a solid understanding of how to use online and social media marketing to reel in potential buyers and obtain optimal results. Make sure the agent understands the necessary use of all types of online media, including the use of websites and blogs, as well as virtual open houses, photos, and video tours to show off the property. Some realtors may even link their video tours to YouTube, which will increase traffic and attract potential buyers from anywhere in the world. Ask about the quality and quantity of photos and videos typically used per each listing. Find out who shoots those photos and videos, what type of equipment they use to capture those images, and whether they are professionally enhanced for maximum viewing quality on the large-platform real estates sites such as Trulia.com, Zillow.com, and Realtor.com. Ask the agent to show you a typical online listing example so you can get a good idea of how your home will be presented online. Ask about their social media accounts and have a look at sample posts on their accounts such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. In order to be a top performer in the real estate industry, agents must have a good grasp of this. Your listing should appear everywhere, and you want to make sure the agent you’re working with knows how to make this happen.


Do you have a website or blog? How well does it rank in search engines at the Local, State, National, and International level? How will your site be used to drive traffic to my listing?

Online representation is an extremely important consideration when selecting a real estate agent to sell your property. A top performer will invest in an attractive and effective website that attracts the right kind of buyers and wows them with fantastic presentations. Online marketing is an essential tool in the arsenal of today’s most successful realtors, so any agent you consider should have a basic understanding of the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) ratings and have a site that turns up at the top of Google and other search engine rankings for they keyword searches that are most often used by potential buyers. Real estate blogs are another great tool to market properties. A good real estate blog should provide enough quality information to attract intelligent buyers and engage them to stay on the site. Ask to see the agent’s website and blog and have them show you how they market their properties online.


Are you the person that any potential buyer will always be in communication with or are you a member of a rotating sales team?

Make sure that you hire a real estate agent who has direct communication with any potential buyer whenever any inquiry arises. In many real estate office, agents may rotate and whoever answers the phone on a particular day will address the inquiry. The downside of this is that, for obvious reasons, you don’t want an agent who has never seen your home to be the one talking to any potential buyer. This is basically time and money going down the drain, because only someone who is genuinely familiar and enthusiastic about your home will be able to describe it to a buyer in a manner that will genuinely pique their interest.


Do you have a cell phone number where I, or any potential buyer, can reach you easily at any time? Do you have email access on your mobile phone, and can you be reached easily via WhatsApp?

One of the most important things that frustrates people when working with real estate agents is the nasty habit many agents have of disappearing and being out of touch until they have some kind of news to present. A top performer will always remain available to do business, whether to answer a seller’s question, or to respond to a potential buyer. Flexibility is key, and there should be multiple ways to communicate in order to accommodate the preferences of both buyers and sellers. A realtor who refuses to optimize all forms of communication simply isn’t interested enough in making a proper sale, as far as I’m concerned. Ease of communication is one of the most distinguishing factors that lets you know that you’re working with a top performer in this industry.


What advice can you provide to make my property more marketable?

A top performer with a powerful track record can look at a property and instantly evaluate what it will take to elevate its marketing profile and make it more appealing to potential buyers. A top performing sales agent should be able to easily provide simple tips on how to make your home more presentable and more marketable, and can advise on what types of improvements you should consider making and not making. Typically the only improvements you should consider making to the property are those that will truly enhance the home’s market value or provide a significant return on the investment.


How do you screen potential buyers to make sure they are qualified to buy?

A top performing real estate agent will make sure that any potential buyer is qualified to make the purchase by ensuring that the offer comes with a legitimate pre-approval letter, and by speaking directly with the buyer’s financial lender. Never, under any circumstances, is it ok to accept a pre-qualification letter in lieu of a legitimate pre-approval letter, because these two are not the same thing. A pre-qualification letter reveals almost nothing about the buyer’s capacity to get a loan, while a pre-approval letter confirms that they’ve been approved for financing.


Do your responsibilities include attending all home inspections once an offer is accepted on my listing?

A good, full-service real estate agent will show up at meetings such as home inspections, bank appraisal, and other important events leading up to the completion of the sale. If your agent tries to back-pedal out of this important responsibility, you're not dealing with a top performer. In this business, making good money means being available and showing up whenever necessary, and a top performer should be happy and willing to do that.


Can you provide recent references?

As with any reputable professional, checking references is an important step in the selection process. A top notch realtor will happily provide you with references that you can contact, and you should by all means contact them. Naturally, most agents will offer to share a list of references that they know will speak positively about them. To get around this, ask the agent for a listing of the last three homes they sold, and take the time to look up the buyer and seller yourself so you can contact them on your own. This will ensure that you talk to average clients to gauge their level of satisfaction with this realtor. Some realtors also have a client feedback system that an be accessed on their website, on which prior clients report on their experiences with the agent. Ask to see the feedback system and look through the opinions and commentaries left by prior clients.

It may seem like a lot of work to interview several real estate agents in search of the perfect realtor to sell your home. But trust me, in the end, doing your due diligence will be well worth it by saving you wasted time, energy, and money. You only get one chance to sell this property: make sure you’re giving it your best shot by hiring the right realtor


Sep Niakan - H.B. Roswell RealtyThis information for potential sellers seeking to hire a realtor is provided by Sepehr Niakan, a top performing real estate agent working in the South Florida real estate market, including Midtown, Edgewater, Design District, Downtown Miami, Brickell, Coconut Grove, Upper East Side, Miami Beach, Miami Shores and other areas in the greater Miami area.

Recent Posts

Miami Beach Vs Fort Lauderdale
Real Estate News Miami Beach Vs Fort Lauderdale
While both Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale are sunny and idyllic South Florida locations, there are some key differences between the two that are reflected in the local lifestyle of each area.  If you’re trying to figure out whether you’ll feel more at home in Miami Beach or Ft. Lauderdale, here are some notes to consider about each location. Miami Beach Miami Beach is an island city that many consider Paradise, with a globally-prized local culture and lifestyle, as well as its own municipal government that ensures that Miami Beach residents enjoy every amenity one would expect in a world-class city. Incorporated as a city in its own right, Miami Beach is a separate land mass from the city of Miami, and is connected to Miami by five convenient causeways that lead to the mainland. Not only is Miami Beach the home of the New World Symphony and the Miami City Ballet, as well as the Bass Museum, it is also a mere 20 minutes from Midtown Miami and its famed Arts and Design District on...
Miami’s New and Pre-Construction Condo Update: February 2019
Real Estate News Miami’s New and Pre-Construction Condo Update: February 2019
We know how much everyone loves to save. That is why, starting this month, we will be featuring a special section talking about all the special deals and offers announced on pre- or latest-construction condos in our monthly reports. So, read on and subscribe to stay tuned on all the latest developments in the pre-construction condo space in Miami, and find some special opportunities while you’re at it! Topped-off Monad Terrace – South Beach Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Jean Nouvel’s first built project in Florida has officially topped off. Each of the 59 condo residences in this "reflective building" are designed to offer ocean views. With completion on track for early next year, amenities include a signature water garden comprising of a central lagoon, reflecting pools, adjacent swimming pools, plus climbing gardens, sun deck with pool service, café and juice bar, residents’ lounge, water sports storage and much more. Prices start at $1.7 million, with a choice of two- to...
Buying Miami Condo Foreclosures for Sale: A How-to Guide
Opinions and Advice Buying Miami Condo Foreclosures for Sale: A How-to Guide
Everyone wants a great deal on Miami area condo, and historically there has never been a better way to get a deal than to purchase a Miami condo foreclosure put for sale by a lender or sold at auction. While buying a foreclosure is not for everyone, you will be surprised to find that it is very accessible to almost anyone if you know how to maneuver. In this blog, we will give you a solid overview of what you need to know to get started on buying your next condo in foreclosure and to be able to jump on the next foreclosure condo that comes up for sale. A Quick Overview of How Most Miami Condos Get Foreclosed When an owner fails to pay their mortgage, the bank or lender can file to foreclose on the property at the courts. After going through various legal steps, the courts deliver a final judgment and set an auction date. In Miami-Dade county, once an auction date is set, you can find the property listed here. Keep reading for tips on what to look out for when buying at the county...
Miami Condos That Allow Airbnb
Real Estate News Miami Condos That Allow Airbnb
Airbnb rental property investments are a hot topic all around the U.S, but it is even more relevant in Miami and Miami Beach for a number of reasons. First, given the constant growth of the Miami area, many see Airbnb condo investments as a way to participate in the growth of Miami by creating cash flow while holding onto a property that is likely to continue increasing in value. Second, given the cultural benefits, quality restaurants and nightlife, and year-round warm weather, everyone wants to have a pie de terre here to come at will. Buying into an Airbnb-approved condo that allows daily rentals allows those folks to subsidize their amazing Miami lifestyle. They get the best of all worlds: enjoy Miami and Miami Beach when they want, and make an income when they are away.   Can You Airbnb a Condo? The short answer is, yes, you can buy a condo and Airbnb it. But you need to understand a few key points, starting with whether the condo allows short-term rentals or not. The last...
Intro to Miami Condos with Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Real Estate News Intro to Miami Condos with Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Photo credit: Porsche There’re tons of savvy people who wish to go green by switching to electric vehicles, but not having an EV charging station closer home can really put a dent in plans. But, all that’s ready to change! Last year’s amendment to Florida’s Condominium Act really opened up a lot of doors for such eco-friendly vehicles in Miami. The new law, which came into effect on July 1, 2018, gives unit owners the right to install and use an electric vehicle charging station within their condominium building.   New Condo Law Regarding Installation of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations According to this new amendment, condo owners can now go ahead and install a charging station for electric vehicles in the designated parking area of their building (i.e. their assigned parking space). But, those opting to install such EV charging stations would have to do so at their own cost, while staying in compliance with all safety and building codes and have a separate meter for...
How and When to Fire a Real Estate Agent
Opinions and Advice How and When to Fire a Real Estate Agent
One of the most important factors to consider when selling your home is the real estate agent that you hire to sell the house for you, as this person needs to be knowledgeable, dependable, easy to work with, and experienced in achieving successful sales that fulfill the seller’s goals. Sadly, many people hire a real estate agent based on factors that aren’t always the smartest. Perhaps the realtor is a friend of your parents, they helped your neighbor buy their home, or they play soccer on weekends with your brother. But the reality is that not all realtors possess the same skill sets. A real estate agent that focuses on representing buyers will certainly possess a different set of skills from one whose primary focus is selling homes and making money for the seller. An agent that works with luxury single-family residences may not have much experience in selling condominium apartments and vice versa. So it’s important to take the time to interview any agent that you plan to work...