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10 Essential Questions to Ask When Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Published on October 19, 2022
Couple on an open house tour.

Buying or selling property is more than a serious transaction, it’s an investment in your future. Choosing the correct real estate agent is the single most important decision you’ll make during this process. You’ll want to look for someone who has multiple years of experience, great communication and availability, and unrivaled attention to detail.

Choosing a knowledgeable agent can make all the difference in the world. For example, did you know that the typical home purchased is 1,900 square feet in size, was built in 1993, and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms? Your agent does. If you’re currently searching for a real estate agent, be sure to keep the following questions in mind.

What Are Real Estate Agents?

Real estate agents are the keystones of the real estate universe; they’re the glue that holds everything together. Transacting a real estate deal without a real estate agent would be like setting sail in the ocean without a captain. Even though real estate agents are technically optional, you’ll absolutely want one to help guide you through the process and give you every advantage you can.

Excited couple receiving keys to their new place.
Excited couple receiving keys to their new place.

Real estate agents are responsible for either the buyer, the seller, or both during a real estate deal. They are there to consult you through every step of the process, answering any questions you may have, offering years of experience to put your mind at ease. They’re usually clever deal makers and great communicators. Any agent’s number one priority is making your transaction as simple and easy as possible. Real estate agents typically get a commission for sales they took part in, meaning the more they can sell your property for, the more they earn.

Understanding the Distinctive Types of Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents vary by license, experience, and specialties. You may be familiar with some of these terms and unfamiliar with others. Here’s the breakdown of the most common types of real estate agents and what they mean.


A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent that is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). In America more than half of active real estate agents are REALTORS®; that’s over 1.5 million! Because REALTOR® and REALTORS® are registered trademarks, they are always accompanied by the notice of registered trademark ownership (®) block “R” logo.

The REALTOR® marks let people know that you are more than just a real estate agent. They must abide by a strict Code of Ethics to protect clients, the public, and other real estate agents.

• Accredited Land Consultants (ALC)

Accredited Land Consultants are the most trustworthy and informed experts when it comes to land. This prestigious designation is awarded only to REALTORS® who successfully complete a rigorous LANDU education program.

• Certified Buyer Representative (CBR)

Most of the time, REALTORS® are hired by the seller and acted in the seller’s interest. A Certified Buyer Representative (CBR®) is specially trained to represent the buyer, assisting them in getting the best possible price for the home they desire.

Questions to ask a real estate agent.
Questions to ask a real estate agent.

10 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent

1. Can you explain how the entire process works from beginning to end?

Buying or selling a property can be lengthy and intricate. Ask any potential agent to explain the timeline and go through each step. Write things down so you don’t forget. Generally speaking, the processes you’ll want to speak about are open houses, offers, home inspections, offer acceptance, and then finally closing.

2. Do you have references I can speak with?

It’s important to make sure you are working with a licensed real estate professional who are who they claim to be. Be weary to not fall for any scams!

3. Do you work with buyers and sellers?

You’ll want to know this as most agents are professionals in either buying or selling. Alternatively, an agent who does both could be beneficial due to having ability on both sides.

4. Do you work with first time home buyers?

This one is always good to know quickly because some agents don’t work with first time buyers while others specialize in it.

5. Have you worked in this area before?

The best agents will be familiar with the area you are looking for. They’ll know everything about the local ordinances, utilities, and even how the neighborhood is.

6. How do you plan to give me a competitive advantage?

Whether it be a marketing campaign or just constant communication, you’ll want to know what makes your agent special and how it will help you.

7. How does your commission work?

This is an important question. As with any financial deal, it’s important to get a good understanding of how and how much your agent will be compensated BEFORE you get too far into any deal. Usually buyers do not pay commissions as fees are paid by the seller and then split between buyer and seller agents.

8. How many years of experience do you have?

The more experienced an agent is the more likely they’ll be able to foresee problems before they occur. An experienced agent will be battle tested in negotiation strategies and will have forged relationships that only time can build.

9. What are the best ways to contact you?

93% of REALTORS® prefer to communicate with their clients through text messaging. While 90% prefer either telephone or email.

10. What times are you available?

You’ll want to know which hours you can contact your agent. While many agents are available for calls any time, open houses are usually held only on weekends. 

At the End of the Day, Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent Is Essential

Regardless of your experience with real estate, knowing the correct questions to ask an agent makes the most significant impact on having a smooth, successful transaction. A simple mistake could cost you your dream home or a deal of a lifetime.

Michael L. Durkin, Realtor® ALC, CBR. at LAER Realty Partners helps you avoid all of that by delivering over 40 years of award-winning experience to the table. Michael has sold hundreds of properties so he’s seen nearly everything there is to see in real estate and land usage. Michael is well-versed in the ever-changing marketplace and stays current on the growing trends. His sales rank in the top 1% in Massachusetts. Now take this newfound knowledge with you and find the right real estate agent for your needs!

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