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Interviewing a Real Estate Agent

Before making a final decision on a real estate agent, you need to interview your short list of favourites and get a better feel for who they are, what they are like and where their loyalties and priorities lie.  You will need to ask your agent a series of questions and really listen to the answers that you are given, make sure that they actually answer your questions with clear responses rather than ‘dancing around the subject’.Here is a thorough list of questions that you need to ask your real estate agent during the interview:•    How long have you been in the estate agent business for?  This is not to say that more experienced estate agents are always better, this isn’t the case, often newer estate agent have more time to dedicate to you.  However, experience is always valuable and so is more desirable. Feel free to ask what qualifications they have. •    How many properties did you sell last year? •    What are your final sale prices like when compared to the initial listing price?•    How long does it usually take you to sell a home?•    How often can I expect communications with updates? •    Do you represent the buyer or the buyer and the seller? To avoid conflict of interest issues being raised you should try to avoid using an agent that will be working for both parties.•    What is your marketing strategy? You want to understand how they are currently advertising houses and what impact this will make on how many viewings you can expect to get.

•    Will you give me time to read documentation before signing, and consider my options before having to make a decision? A good estate agent will never rush or push you into making a decision or signing something before you are ready.•    Are you able to help me find other services that I may need, such as a house inspector?  There may be a number of other professionals and services that you need to get involved to help finalise the sale of your house (or the buying of a property), having to research and source all these yourself is time consuming.  Moving home is stressful enough so if the estate agent can get these services and professionals in place for you, this will save you a lot of time and a lot of stress.

•    Can you provide me with references?  It is always advisable to do your own research on the internet and read reviews people have written.  Your estate agent is likely to only want to provide you with a good reference, so reading the ones provided to you aren’t always a true and accurate reflection.•    What are your charges?  Understand all charges you will and potentially could be charged.  Will you get these charges in writing so that you have something to fall back on should you be charged extra.•    What insurance or guarantees do I have? Am I able to cancel my agreement? Have you ever had anyone cancel an agreement with you before?•    Why should I choose you over other agents? See what they say, it will most likely be a mash of words like professional, friendly, reliable, experienced.  While you listen to this pay attention to their paralanguage and body language, are they being completely truthful? Do they believe they have these qualities to offer?•    Is there anything that I haven’t already asked, but I should be aware of?While you’re interviewing the estate agent get a feel of what they are like, do they know what you want? Do they care what you want? Are they likely to be professional and available to you?  Do they have the skills to sell your home, do they see your properties selling points? Or does the agent seem primarily focused on the commission they could earn from you? 

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