9 Important Questions to Ask Your Realtor Before Shopping for a Home

Having the right agent in your corner is crucial to getting a good deal.
Last updated Feb. 23, 2023 | By Jenny Cohen Edited By Chris Kissell
woman meeting with realtor

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Home prices are slowly falling in many U.S. markets, which could be a good sign if you’re ready to buy a home.

Before searching for your new place, however, ask any potential real estate agent to answer the following questions.

What you learn in this conversation can reveal whether you've found the right agent to help you avoid wasting money on the wrong home and guide you to the perfect place to live.

Do you know the neighborhoods I’m interested in?

Jacob Lund/Adobe realtor sharing property details with clients

If you have focused your search on specific areas, it is important to work with a real estate agent who knows that area well.

For example, an agent with the right background can direct you to a home in a neighborhood that has good schools, or that is known for its walkability.

Do you have references?

Srdjan/Adobe real estate agents have business meeting in cafeteria

Ask your real estate agent to provide references from previous buyers who can give you insight into what it is like to work with the agent.

It's also a good idea to do a general internet search for online reviews of the realtor. This can help you access opinions from folks the real estate agent hasn't selected for you to talk to.

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How much are the commission and fees?

Wasan/Adobe real estate agent counting cash

Remember, saving for a down payment is just the first financial step to getting a home. You also need money to cover closing costs and other fees in order to complete the transaction.

Ask your real estate agent to detail such fees. Here, you're looking for a good agent and reasonable costs. Remember, the less you pay in commission and fees, the more you can boost your bank account with the money you save.

What's your availability?

Kurhan/Adobe realtor woman with key

Some real estate agents work part-time or only take prospective buyers out on weekends. They also may limit availability to specific hours during the week.

A full-time real estate agent generally has more availability, allowing you to look for homes during most days of the week. That can be important if a new home suddenly appears on the market that you're interested in.

It’s your choice whether to choose a part-time real estate agent or one who's available more often to help you find and look at homes. Either way, you and your real estate agent should be on the same page when it comes to shopping for a new house.

What issues do you see with our home search?

sebra/Adobe financial advisor talking to customer

A good real estate agent should be honest about whether it will be difficult to find a home that meets your wants and needs in the area where you want to live.

For example, a real estate agent should be frank about whether you have the budget to afford the home you want in a specific neighborhood. The agent also should be clear about whether you might need to compromise on certain features.

Overall, a good real estate agent should keep you on the right track to find a home that meets your expectations and fits your budget.

What strategies do you recommend?

laddawan/Adobe real estate broker agent presenting

A real estate agent can employ several strategies when finding the best house for you. So be sure to understand the strategy they have in mind before you start the search.

For example, ask how aggressive they like to be when putting in an offer or counter offer. Also, ask how they find homes before they hit the market or what techniques they will use to get the best deal for you.

Can you recommend lenders and inspectors?

godshutter/Adobe foreman officer inspector

It’s important that your agent has a good network to help you through the homebuying process.

Ask if your agent knows good home inspectors who can assess the state of a house before you buy the home. Your agent should also have some recommendations for local mortgage lenders who can help you get the best deal on a loan.

How many clients do you have right now?

deagreez/Adobe lady boss

A good agent is likely working with other clients besides you. Make sure you feel comfortable that the agent will have enough time to give your search the attention it deserves.

For example, an agent with too many clients might have a difficult time working with you at times that make sense for your schedule.

What’s the best way to contact you?

fizkes/Adobe businessman talking on phone and using laptop

It’s important to know the best way to reach your agent, whether through calls, texts, or emails.

A good agent is one who can stay in touch with you on a regular basis and help you find homes as soon as they hit the market.

Bottom line

Drazen /Adobe real estate agent with a happy couple

It’s important to find a great real estate agent who can help you find the perfect home. Try and interview different agents so you get a better idea of which agent can best help.

Remember that a good partnership with your agent can lead to a successful buying experience. So pay down your debt, make sure your credit report looks good, and find an agent who can help you discover a great place where you can live for years to come.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.