Monday, October 17, 2011

Buying a house. What questions do I ask before hiring an agent?

Many people are unsure what questions to ask when they first look to hire an agent, but choosing a good agent is paramount. You can interview your agent with questions to help you find the professional that fits your buying style.

Dear Sunnyview,
I want to buy a house, but I have heard so many horror stories about their experiences with agents from my friends that I am afraid to hire one. Whenever I call an agent about a house I like, I feel I have no way to find a good agent without walking into the Twilight Zone. How can I know if I am getting a good agent and what questions can I ask them to find out if they are good or not?
-Sitting out

Dear Sitting,
There is no reason to be afraid to call an agent. Most agents are happy to provide information about their qualifications and experience especially if you know what to ask. As first time buyer, it can be hard to know where to start. I would suggest that you decide what type of agent you are looking for. Agents are like any other professional you hire. Your friends idea of a great agent may not be your dream agent, but there are areas that you should focus on to find the right agent for you. Here are 10 questions to get you started.

1.  How did you get into the real estate business and how long have you been an agent?
2.  What services do you provide to your client?
3.  What do you feel the most important role of an agent in representing a buyer like me?
4.  How accessible are you by email, phone, text and when do you usually work with clients?
5.  How many houses do your clients typically look at with you before they make an offer?
6.  Will I have the opportunity to review all contracts or addendums before I sign them?
7.  Will you help me find other professionals like inspectors, lenders, contractors etc?
8.  How do you get paid? Are there other fees that I will have to pay to you or the agency?
9.  Can I terminate our business relationship if I am not happy as a client? How and when?
10. What personal and professional qualities do you think makes you a good agent?

You need to be very careful to listen to what the agent says and what they don't say. If an agent seems pushy, evasive or just gives you an answer that hits you wrong, listen to your gut. You need to find an agent that is willing to give you as much or as little support as you need to feel comfortable as a buyer.

A good agent should by your personal real estate support in any transaction. They get paid to make it easy for you to find the house that you want and to negotiate items as they come up. There are good agents out there that are honest, professional, competent and knowledgeable. It is worth taking the time to find one before you move down the road toward homeownership.

Take care and choose wisely,


  1. I am agreed that a home buyer should interview or ask some questions to the agent before working with them because they are the one who will assist you in making one of the biggest purchases of your life, a home to live in.
    homes for sale in philippines

  2. This is the best list I've seen. It covers all contingencies, sets up the basic expectations, and heads off what the two things that lead to the most misunderstandings: how do I end the relationship if it doesn't work out, and how do agents get paid.