As of April 2017, there were over 400K Real Estate Agents and Real Estate Brokers in the State of California (California Bureau of Real Estate). This figure is considerably large in allowing you to have many people to choose from when you decide to sell or buy your next home. However, as massive as this figure is, no two individuals are alike in his/her professional practices. Majority of people who work in the real estate industry come from various industries, level of experience, education, and mixed professional and personal objectives. The Realtor® that you ultimately decide to choose will determine the outcome of how much money you will be able to gain or save when you sell or buy your home, respectively. When you decide to choose your next Realtor®, we have a compiled a list of questions (not exhaustive) for you to consider to ask during your interview with him or her. We want to make sure that who(m)ever you decide to have professionally represent you, is the best candidate for you and your home needs.
Full-time vs. Part-time vs. No-time
How many hours does he/she spend in their role per week? Is the interviewee working in real estate as a profession, part-time/on the side when they are free from their other primary employer, or have they sold/bought a home for their family or friend only one time? Depending on his/her response, their hourly commitment will inform you about how much they are involved in expanding their professional network, educating themselves to different strategies, understanding the market, and having current information on Local, State, and Federal laws and any relevant real estate market updates.
A successful Realtor® should be able to provide you with a calendar of their daily/weekly activities detailing the process they will pursue to sell your home. Their objective should be to get your home the most exposure in the shortest time period possible. Time is money - the longer your home sits on the market, the price of your home starts to devalue proportionately. A great question to ask during your interview would be, "How are you planning to sell my home for top market value?" Based on his/her response, you will be able to find out if he or she has nailed down the sale of your home to a science or if their response is general, it might be because they have no clue about what really works for you and your home.
Old School vs. New School
In the real estate industry, when you select a Realtor® to represent you, they should be able to provide you the demand or supply depending on if you are selling or buying your home, respectively. A question you can ask your candidate is, "How will you attract business or get the best value for my home?" While Realtors® are searching for business they should be building a robust network than what Multiple Listing Service (MLS) can provide. By building a personal network, they can connect people to your needs and make your deal more effortless. Do they network at Realtor® meetings and open-houses weekly and/or are they big on various social media platforms? The larger the Realtors® network, the higher the probability of selling or buying your home more effortlessly.
Length of Experience
A Realtor® who has worked in the real estate industry for many years is more knowledgeable to know what needs to be done to get your home sold or purchased than someone who is novice to the industry. With knowledge comes power, and your Realtor® can use that power to make a deal occur and to also ensure that the process is seamless for you. A question you can ask your interviewee would be, "How many years have you worked in the real estate industry?" Based upon his or her response, their years of experience can indicate how much power he/she holds.
What is the highest educational degree your interviewee has accomplished in the field of real estate or the equivalence? What further education has he/she pursued and obtained? A Realtor® whom has chosen to understand and grow intellectually in the field of real estate, or the equivalence, is someone who is enhancing his/her skill to become more proficient; which, most of the time, they can provide more value to you and your home needs. A better candidate will be someone who is or has mastered his/her skill in this field.
As much as education shows commitment and determination towards pursuing and accomplishing a goal, a Realtors® experience is more valuable than solely looking at education alone. When deciding to choose your next best Realtor®, we recommend to view all of your candidates’ educational accomplishments and experience combined. Ideally, the best candidate would be someone who has accomplished a higher degree in the field of real estate, or equivalent, as well as having more years of experience in the industry too.
The more specialized the candidate is to your home needs, the more informed they are regarding the specifics of your situation. There are numerous certifications that a Realtor® can pursue, and depending on what your needs are, you should ask each interviewee which certifications they hold, if any. For example, if you are looking for a Realtor® to manage properties for you, you might want to consider a Realtor® with a Certified Property Manager certification, CPM®. A list of certifications that are recognized on a National level can be found by going to: https://www.nar.realtor/designations-and-certifications.
The more your Realtor® is exposed to various groups and associations, the better the network he/she may have. In return, the higher the probability of selling your home for more value in a shorter period of time or the higher the likelihood of your offer getting accepted. Some questions you can ask your interviewee are: “How active or involved are you in local organizations? If so, what role do you play in such an organization? Which associations are you connected to?” Depending on their response, you can notice his/her level of commitment to that organization. – Are they someone who only donates money, are on the board, or activists? Lastly, a question to ask yourself: are those the same beliefs that you may hold value to?
How many deals has your candidate completed in the previous 12 months? How many deals has your candidate completed in his/her entire career in real estate? What types of transactions were they? How recent was his/her most recent deal? By asking these questions, one may find out how much "real-time" experience the interviewee has. In turn, this will help you reinforce your previous question in his/her background experience.
Communication Style/Follow Up
What is your preference in communication and follow up? Does your preference align with your interviewee's? You should set the expectation in how you would like to be communicated to and followed up with regarding sensitive vs. non-sensitive items so you both can be on the same page. Some of the options of communication choices are: phone calls, face-to-face, multimedia messages, text messages, emails, or video chat. In setting up and following through with your expected form of communication, it will help you feel comfortable in your working relationship.
What accomplishments has your candidate achieved? Has he/she pursued and accomplished exceptional results both professionally and personally? Sense of urgency cannot be taught. This trait is built within an individual. As much as someone can speak about their goals and values, their accomplishments are imperative to be able to evaluate him/her. You should ask your interviewee about previous awards and accolades they have achieved, if any, to be able to truly understand how much sense of urgency they have in pursuing higher heights.
Unfortunately, nowadays, honesty and integrity are hard to find. Someone who continuously acts with integrity will limit your (and his/her's) liability. A question you can ask to gauge your candidate's level of integrity is, "From your past experiences, give me an example when you were at a disagreement with your peers, supervisor, or clients, and how did you handle such a situation?" Pay attention to your interviewee's authenticity, the details of what occurred, and any non-verbal cues. Depending on their response, it should portray how the individual may handle any disagreements with you and help you understand what you can anticipate in dealing with him/her for your home needs.
Finally, you can look up reviews of your candidate choices to see what other people have said about his/her professional work. Some websites you can go to see reviews about your interviewee are: Zillow.com, Realtor.com, Yelp.com, and if they have a Facebook Professional Page. We recommend that you do not seek a Realtor® solely based on their reviews as these reviews are subjective to that writer's opinion. Instead, we recommend to view their reviews as a validity to your candidates overall candidacy. We also recommend to put in the time to interview your candidates equally, as each interviewee will bring something more or less value to your home needs than another candidate would. You would only find out what value he/she may bring to you by interviewing him/her.
In conclusion, we hope that our list of questions above will help guide you in successfully determining the best professional Realtor® for your home needs. We would be honored to be considered one of your interviewee's when you decide to sell or buy your home. Please contact us at (949) 424-7282 so we may schedule an appointment to discuss what the best strategy will be to save or earn the most money for you, respectively.