Essential Questions To Ask When Vetting Your Realtor (For Buyers And Sellers)

Essential Questions To Ask When Vetting Your Realtor (For Buyers And Sellers)

Peter Kim
March 8, 2024

If you're planning on buying or selling a home, you'll want the best agent you can find to maximize your chances of an advantageous transaction. You'd benefit from knowing all the essential questions to ask when vetting your realtor. Odigo Real Estate Club can help you understand the key inquiries for real estate agents so you'll find the one that can generate the best results when you're buying or selling your home.

Always Ask These Questions

The following realtor vetting questions provide valuable insight for both buyers and sellers. A realtor who can answer all these questions to your satisfaction should provide a high level of service and increase your chances of finding a favorable deal.

How Do You Stay Informed?

The real estate market constantly changes based on interest rates, government regulations, and area demographics. What worked well to buy or sell a house last week may not work this week. Ask your realtor how they stay informed about market trends and how they adjust their strategy accordingly.

Why Should I Choose You?

You'll have an abundant choice of realtors in any city, and even in small towns you likely have two or three options. Once you narrow it down, ask each realtor what sets them apart from their competition.

They might mention anything from a high rate of satisfied customers, a strong network they can tap into, or specialization in a certain area. All of these unique selling points can benefit you, but you should choose the ones that matter to you most.

What's Your Availability for Showings?

You won't have success buying or selling a house if your realtor is rarely available for showings. Ask what their client list looks like, whether they're available at unusual hours, and how far in advance you must schedule with them. The best realtors can work within your schedule and won't overload themselves with clients so they can provide the highest level of service to the few they have.

What's Your Communication Procedure?

Buying and selling often requires fast communication as you receive offers and counter offers or you rush to get tasks accomplished before your closing date. Consistent and clear communication is an essential quality in a good realtor, so establish what methods your realtor uses to keep you updated and how frequently you can expect messages.

Do You Have References From Recent Clients?

As with any service provider, screening real estate agents hinges on obtaining references and reviews. No matter what your realtor says about their performance, actions and results speak louder than words. Ask them for references from previous clients and also peruse third-party sites like 

For extra accuracy, make sure the references correspond to the service you're asking your realtor to provide. For example, if you're selling your home, prioritize references from previous sellers, rather than buyers.

How Do You Handle Delays or Complications?

While not every transaction experiences complications or unforeseen delays, they happen frequently enough that your realtor should know how to deal with them. Before you sign a contract with them, your realtor should have answers for how they'd handle the most common challenges, such as:

  • Appraisals that come in lower than the purchase price
  • Inspections that identify required repairs
  • Problems with the home's title
  • Issues securing homeowners insurance
  • Contingent sales
  • Undisclosed damage revealed at final walkthrough
  • Delayed paperwork for closing

What Fees and Pricing Structure Do You Use?

Among the most essential questions to ask when vetting your realtor is what you'll pay them. A realtor makes money by charging a certain percentage (usually around 5.5%) of the home's price at closing. If they provide additional services, such as staging your home, they may have additional fees.

You should clearly establish what fees you'll pay, and read the contract closely. You should always feel free to negotiate the fee with your realtor if you find a different option with a lower percentage, but remember you usually get what you pay for.

Will I Have Access to a Team?

While plenty of realtors provide a high level of service working on their own, having access to a wider team, such as staging experts and supporting realtors if your agent is busy, increases the chances you'll receive the service you need.

How Do You Approach Negotiation?

Whether you're buying or selling, you'll likely need a shrewd negotiator to receive an advantageous deal. Your agent should mention at least some of the following negotiation tactics:

  • Helping clients keep emotion out of the process
  • Leveraging market value over the asking price
  • Including an escalation clause
  • Using data to strengthen an offer
  • Approaching the deal with a win-win mindset

Will I Receive a Comparative Market Analysis?

One effective way of evaluating realtor qualifications is by asking them to provide a comparative market analysis. A CMA accurately assesses your property's value in the current market. While it's more useful for sellers, buyers will benefit from it because it shows your realtor has the minimum required skill set to meet your needs.

What Post-Transaction Support Do You Provide?

While realtors aren't obligated to provide support after closing, many go above and beyond their duties to provide top-level support. Ask your realtor whether they can connect you with contractors for repair or tap into other experts in their extensive network that can make your transition easier.

Can You Provide a Detailed Explanation of the Process?

Even if you know how the process works, asking for a detailed step-by-step explanation of the process can help you gauge the agent's knowledge and communication capabilities.

Ask These Questions When Buying a House

The questions you'll ask should differ slightly based on your goals. If you're buying a house rather than selling, add the following inquiries to your list.

Are You Familiar With This Neighborhood?

If you've narrowed down the areas in which you're looking for a house, prioritize hiring a realtor familiar with the neighborhood, so they can offer the best support and leverage their knowledge during negotiations. They should also feel confident giving you advice on local schools, amenities, and even the crime rate.

How Will You Personalize the Search?

When choosing a competent real estate agent, ensure they tailor their search to your particular home ownership goals. They should consider the neighborhood you want, your budget, and the features you want to create a customized list of options to show you.

What Additional Costs Should I Plan For?

After you've established the realtor's commission, ask about additional costs such as inspection fees, additional closing fees, and the likelihood you'll pay for repairs on your new home.

Ask These Questions When Selling a Home

If you're wondering about essential questions to ask when vetting your realtor, consider the following ones if you're selling.

What's Your Strategy for Selling Homes in this Market?

Every house is unique, so your realtor should slightly alter the selling approach depending on your situation. The strategy will also change depending on the current state of the market.

What Marketing Approaches Do You Utilize?

The best realtors can use multiple marketing approaches to sell your home quickly and for a fair price. Effective marketing techniques include:

  • An online presence
  • Professional photography
  • Staging the home
  • Tapping into a network of realtors with interested buyers
  • Targeting advertising

How Will You Price the House?

As a necessary aspect of your realtor selection criteria, prioritize a professional who can set a competitive price for your home. They should be comfortable telling you if you're expectations aren't realistic and should help you mitigate your emotions throughout the process. The right price is neither too high nor too low.

Do You Offer Additional Services To Help Sell the House?

Prioritize realtors that go the extra mile to sell your home by using staging, finding contractors, and offering additional advice.

What Do You Do for Showings and Open Houses?

Many realtors don't schedule open houses because they're not as popular or well-attended in contemporary times. However, they still have their place. Ask about your realtor's approach, as well as how much notice you'll have for showings and how frequently they plan on scheduling them.

Odigo Real Estate Club Can Answer All Your Questions

Now that you know the essential questions to ask when vetting your realtor, you have a better chance of receiving an outcome that exceeds your expectations. At Odigo Real Estate Club, we're confident our agents can generate incredible results. Whether you're buying or selling, our experts can help when you call (425) 409 3823 or schedule a free consultation with us.

About the Author

Peter Kim

Peter Kim is the owner of Odigo Real Estate Club, a leading real estate agency in the Greater Seattle area that specializes in residential, commercial, and luxury properties. With over 10 years of experience and a team of highly skilled agents, Peter brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the real estate space.

facebook iconinstagram iconlinkedin icon

Come Out on Top of Your Real Estate Ventures
With Odigo Real Estate Club

Do you need a top real estate agency serving Snohomish, Pierce, Skagit, and King Counties?
Odigo Real Estate Club prioritizes your interests and satisfaction, from listing homes for sale to financial consulting.
Call (425) 409-3823 or schedule a free consultation!

Schedule a free consultation