Hiring a real estate agent is a job interview – someone is going to be responsible for one of the largest transactions in your life. Incredibly, studies continue to consistently show that the majority of buyers and sellers fail to treat agent selection seriously. In a field with few to no established performance standards, ridiculous self-aggrandizement and bogus production reporting, how are the qualified and high producing agents found? In about 15 minutes with Google search and seven direct questions.

Before anything, GOOGLE and check Zillow for every agent you are considering. Do the same for their brokerage. Real estate has exploded with the internet, any productive agent understands and embraces this. Examine reviews, their website, articles, social media…they will be your representative. After that, a few simple and very direct questions will narrow the pool. It’s possible Uncle Timmy or Aunt Sally won’t make the cut.

1. Are you a full time agent?

This question must be asked because so many agents are not, real estate is a second, third or fourth job. It is impossible to effectively work part time; the speed of transactions, increased legal requirements and fluid market mandate full attention. Society has been conditioned to expect answers quickly, at all times. Agents that can’t or won’t pay attention cost clients money or opportunity.

2. How long have you been actively selling real estate and for whom?

Two years of full time work or about 20 personal transactions is the absolute minimum. The skills required for contracts, data collection, negotiation etc etc cannot be taught in a class room. Many “boutique” and “discount” firms exist, often housing agents that want to hang their license at a place that doesn’t charge full fees. Research into the firm is as important as that for the agent.

3. What are your personal production levels over the last three years?

If an agent can’t live off their earnings, they are not producers. A full time agent should have at least 12 -15 transactions per year personally completed, not as part of a team, an office or some other entity. Some agents tie into office or team production – focus on their production only and be certain to verify this.

4. Verify the figure you are provided and request a copy of their report.

Personal stats must be for the agent only – not a team or office. Request a copy of their personal production; this can be pulled off the MLS or from their brokerage firm.

There are NO standards for real estate agents. GOOGLE every agent considered and verify everything they say!

5. Is your managing broker on site at your office and responsible for it?

Many discount firms have “broker pools” – not specific managing brokers that guide agents. When things go bad and that agent is clueless, will the broker step up?

6. Please provide five references over the last year that I can call.

This will verify experience with past clients and by keeping the date within a year; it will demonstrate experience in the current market. Call the references and ask questions.

7. Please provide a copy of your resume.

Every agent likely has an alphabet of nonsensical designations; most are obtained by writing a check. Many real estate designations were invented during the crash as a way of generating income for various associations – don’t fall for the nonsense.

These are reasonable, direct questions; others can be added as needed. This type of prescreening should be completed ahead of any listing appointments or before meaningful meetings begin. Obviously there are a plethora of additional, more specific questions depending on the circumstances, but a few minutes spent ahead of time will save time and money down the road.

Selection of a real estate agent is arguably the single most important decision a buyer or seller makes. Until consumers demand high standards, the problem of inept and incompetent real estate agents will remain. 

The Hank Miller Team puts 30+ years of full time sales & appraisal experience to work for you. Act with complete confidence & make sound, decisive real estate decisions. 678-428-8276 and info@hmtatlanta.com