By Richard Montgomery
Reader Question: I read the interview questions to ask real estate agents on the DearMonty website. It would be helpful to understand what answers to look for when agents respond. I am not comfortable I know enough about real estate to know a good answer. Can you help? Mark B.
Monty’s Answer: Your question is insightful. Here are the responses (R) to listen for (in italics) to these website questions:
- What sets you apart from other agents that benefit your customers? R: The expectation they have of themselves for their clients and their perception of how the industry works.
- What kinds of real estate training and continuing education do you receive? R: Their general level of education and education geared toward helping the consumer, such as an appraisal course. Is the company behind them?
- Why is company support you receive beneficial to your customers? R: Do they understand the value of company support and how it helps you.
- What is your position on home inspections and home warranties? R: Inspections are valuable in all transactions, and a home warranty depends on the home’s age, condition, and the coverage.
- What backup support is available when you are out of the office or on vacation? R: How are your interests protected if you cannot reach them, and their reaction to your question. “ I’m here 24-7 ” is not the answer you are seeking.
- Can you provide the name and telephone number of three references? R: Not a good sign if you cannot talk with their former customers.
- What is your company’s track record for average market time and rate of listings expiring unsold? R: This question creates work for them. Will they respond, and with a MLS generated answer?
- What services, if any, does your company offer that is not provided by your competitors? R: Can they articulate some reason their company stands out? No real answer is a red flag.
- How do you establish your opinion of value for a home? R: Knowledge check. Do they adjust for differences between features of the comparables? Do they find the same style of home, such as a ranch if the subject property is a ranch?
- How do you find your customers? R: Sources they name that require effort on their part are an indicator. Referrals from other customers are good. A poor answer is, “ People just come.”
- Does your company have a satisfaction guarantee? R: You are looking to see how hassle free it will be to remove yourself if the relationship sours.
- How quickly can you email us recent “sold” comparables? R: How well does the organization communicate with you? The best answer is “We can put you on autopilot.”
- Why should we choose you to represent us? R: You are looking for depth, sincerity, and insightfulness. “ I’ll work my hardest.” is not as good as, “ I’ll hold an open house every other weekend.”
- What is your policy on returning customers telephone calls? R: You are setting an expectation. Is the response reasonable?
- If a homebuyer asks what a home is worth, what do you say? R: You are looking for their familiarity with agency law.
- Do you have price range preferences or particular areas you work in which you are most proficient? R: You are testing for consistency. Check against their references.
- Do you have an assistant or assistants? R: You are seeking to understand how they work.
- Can you add anything you feel would help assure your selection? R: Most will have other information to add, and you get a sense about them as a person.
- What is your favorite customer service “Wow” story? R: How did the client benefit from it? An answer like “ I have too many to count ” is not a real answer.
- Will you share your credentials for a violation check? R: If there is hesitancy or you do not receive the information, it is not a good sign.
- What is your direct supervisor’s contact information? R: You are testing their adeptness, and it is useful information to have.
The variety, depth and the reaction of the different contenders will help your make the best choice on an individual. These questions are designed to draw out the differences between candidates. Industry experts hold a common belief that your choice of agents will make a difference in your outcomes.
“Richard Montgomery gives no nonsense real estate advice to readers most pressing questions. He is a real estate industry veteran who has championed industry reform for over a quarter century. Send him questions at DearMonty.com.”