"If you're going to be working with a real estate agent on the purchase of a new home, you want to make sure that you choose the right person. After all, a home is an investment that's valuable to both your pocketbook and your personal life and you want to be sure that the professional who is helping you to find that home knows the best way to do that. You also want to make sure that your real estate agent is someone that you get along well with and feel comfortable asking questions of so you shouldn't be afraid to interview your real estate agent before agreeing to work with him or her.
Here are the basic interview questions that you should ask of your real estate agent to determine whether he or she is a person that you want to work with on the purchase of your new home:
o How long have you been working as a real estate agent?
o How long have you been working for this real estate agency (or how long have you had your own real estate practice)?
o Do you work part-time or full-time as a real estate agent? If this is a part-time job, do you maintain another full-time job?
o How long have you been a real estate agent in this city? Which neighborhoods or areas of town do your primarily work in?
o What level of involvement should I expect in working with you? Will you be available for calls and questions? Will you take me to see a number of different houses or will you just tell me where to pick up the keys and have me go on my own?
o How many clients do you currently have? Would you say that you are overworked?
o Do you have a specialty? (If you are looking at a certain kind of home purchase such as a bad credit home loan purchase or a new home construction purchase, ask specifically about the real estate agent's experience with that specialty.)
o What can you tell me about the neighborhood, community activities and schools in the area that interests me?
o May I have references such as clients who have been satisfied with you as their real estate agent?
o What would you identify as your strengths and weaknesses in terms of this business?
o What else can you tell me about the experience of working with you?
You shouldn't be afraid to ask a lot of questions of your real estate agent and even to conduct a semi-formal interview. This initial conversation will tell you a lot about the experience, enthusiasm and ability of the real estate agent. More importantly, it will tell you how willing he or she is to answer your questions and to make sure that you understand what is going on when working with him or her. This interview will set the tone for future interactions and can be a great indicator of what your real estate purchase will look like. So, ask away! Your home is on the line."