Buying a home is not an easy task, which is why most home buyers hire a real estate agent to help them make the home buying experience smooth and memorable. If you choose to work with an agent, you’ll be spending a lot of time with them, so you’ll need to be able to trust them and be confident in their skills.

Hiring a real estate professional is an important decision in the home-buying process. There are so many great real estate professionals out there willing to work hard for you, but how can you determine if he/she is the right fit for you?

Here at KWSafeHarborteam, we would like to help you with your homeownership journey by determining the right team or agent for you. Once you’ve started to interview a few real estate agents to work for you, their answers to the following questions below will help you choose the right agent. Through their answers, you can reveal their potential, experience and knowledge as your future agent or partner.

Here are 6 questions to ask a potential real estate agent or broker during an interview:

1. Will I be working with you directly?

Will your agent handle all aspects of the transaction or will they delegate some tasks to a sales associate or administrative assistant? A knowledgeable assistant can be invaluable, but you want to make sure you can connect regularly with your agent.

2.Do you work full time or part time as a real estate agent?

Many agents work part time and that’s fine. But if you expect them to respond to your inquiries in a timely manner, it’s worth asking how available they can be when you have questions or want to tour a property. This is especially important if your schedule isn’t very flexible.

3.How many home sales have you closed in my desired area?

You should be looking for someone who has a proven track record of closing deals, particularly in locations where you’re looking to buy. This ensures that they know the area, current trends and selling prices for homes similar to ones you’re looking at.

Part of the process of buying a home involves evaluating neighborhoods or communities, and your real estate agent should be the quarterback in that process. Experienced agents can tell you how a neighborhood is changing, comment on the quality of the schools and know where to find the closest grocery store and park. In your initial meeting, they should ask questions about the type of lifestyle you want to live and suggest neighborhoods you haven’t yet considered that reflect your wants and needs.

4.How many years of education and experience do you have?

Experience and continuing education typically make for better agents.

Most real estate agents who have years of experience, great reviews and proper education will have the skills to properly and successfully help you find your dream your home. Ask your potential real estate agents what designations or certifications they have to ensure your potential agent is well educated and properly trained.

Buying a home often happens during a period of transition and it’s important to understand if the agent you’re thinking of hiring has worked with people like you before. Are you a single, first-time buyer? Investor? Going through a divorce? Downsizing? Or moving to the city?

There are unique considerations for every kind of buyer and it’s critical that your agent understands who you are

5.Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to be references?

Insights from past customers can help you learn more about an agent and give you a greater comfort level. Hopefully, you’ve already sought reviews for the agents you’re meeting with online or otherwise. But what would those past buyers say about their experience now?

One of the best ways to get to know a potential real estate agent is to ask former or recent clients about their experience working with the real estate agent or team. Ask to see their reviews and customer testimonials and even contact the previous clients to ask specific questions about their work with the agent. Trusting your real estate agent will be key, so be sure to ask the most recent clients whether they were satisfied with the real estate agent’s work or what disappointed them.

Even if you don’t want to call references, how an agent handles this question during the interview can tell you a lot.

6.Can you tell me about your negotiation style and experience?

Studies show that one of the most important things buyers want in their real estate agent is negotiation skills.

Agents should know what ‘BATNA’ is – it’s the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement and it’s the foundation of almost all negotiations. Think of it as knowing everybody’s Plan B and how that affects a negotiation.

You might also want to ask your agent about their approach to winning a bidding war. The best agents understand what’s required to win a bidding war and we often see buyers at a disadvantage on offer night because their agent doesn’t know the basics.

Choose your agent wisely. Your agent’s personality should also be compatible with yours, so recognize what you’re looking for and do not settle with someone whose values and personality clash with yours. You have to choose the most qualified person for the job, but also someone who you think will make a good partner on every step of the journey. Remember, you’ll need someone you feel comfortable disagreeing with and that you can trust, as this person will become quite intimate with your home and finances.

The ideal person for you is an experienced professional who knows your market, acts in an ethical manner, answers all of your questions, addresses your concerns and, most importantly, will listen to you and be your teammate throughout the entire process. The KWSafeHarborteam team of highly-seasoned real estate professionals is dedicated to providing exceptional, personalized service for all of our clients. We take great pride in the relationships we build and always work relentlessly on the client’s behalf to help them achieve their real estate goals.

If you’re looking for a home in Greater Cleveland Ohio, we’d love to be considered. Get in touch to see if one of us is the right agent for you!