When it’s time to select a real estate agent, do you know exactly how to do that? I’ve heard many reasons that explain why people select a real estate agent the way they do. Here are some of the most common reasons:
“I hired the first agent I talked to. Yea, I called a phone number off a sign, and some agent answered the phone, and that’s who I hired.”
“I was searching the MLS, and I saw an agent’s photo in the right margin on Zillow. They returned my call, and I hired her.”
“I got a call from a FSBO ad I ran on Craigslist, and it was an agent who wanted to list my home, so I listed my home with him.”
“My brother’s wife’s brother is a real estate agent, so I hired him.”
Select a Real Estate Intelligently
Notice what is missing in how each of these people decided to select a real estate agent. Not one did any due diligence on their agent before their hired them. They did not use relevant interview questions. They just hired any Tom, Jane, or Susan.
If you were going to invest $300,000 with an investment adviser, you wouldn’t just hire the first guy you called and give him your life savings. Neither should you trust any Tom, Jane, or Susan with your life savings when you buy a house. When it’s time to select a real estate agent, you have some research to do.
I want to share some steps you can take to make sure you do hire the right agent, but first I think you deserve to know my credentials for being qualified to share this information. I started in real estate 40 years ago, and I practiced real estate law for 20 years. In between I served as a JAG in the USAF for four years. I retired from law practice in 2005, and I built the largest virtual brokerage of any individual agent in the Northwest outside of Seattle.
I’ve written thousands of articles to help buyers. I’ve built an online marketing system to help buyers find their perfect home. I’ve written many real estate books for buyers, one for sellers, and one for Realtors. I definitely know what to look for in a Realtor. I wish all buyers and all sellers knew, but since they do not, my effort to help includes articles like this one.
Select a Real Estate Agent with Interview Checklist
You can download a copy of my Real Estate Agent Interview Checklist. It includes 22 questions to ask your prospective agent. The questions will get you thinking about the kinds of issues you want covered in your agent.
Why pay so much attention to how you select a real estate agent? Lawyers make a living off of other people’s mistakes and by suing Realtors. The last thing you need when you buy a home is a major legal nightmare. But even if you don’t get into litigation, if you hire an inexperienced agent, you could overpay for a home, and I’ve seen that. A buyer paid $825,000 for a home that was only worth $650,000. I personally watched that happen, although I did not represent either the buyer or seller. There was nothing I could legally or ethically do to save the buyer.
An inexperienced agent may not keep you out of trouble during the due diligence. There are many inspections, and there are many traps for the unwary. There are addendums, and special legal phrases you may need to protect yourself. I cannot overemphasize the importance of hiring the right agent.