Get Educated Hiring a Buyers Agent? Here’s How to Avoid Making a Mistake

Do you really need to interview your buyers agent?

The answer to that is always a big fat YES! Always interview. We meet our prospective buyer clients in a 2 hour meeting, and during this meeting we ask a ton of questions to figure out a few things:

  • A general sense of where their heads are at
  • What they feel like they’d love to accomplish
  • What they’ve observed so far
  • How they plan to purchase and is that good or is there a better way

During the conversation, we will throw scenarios at them. We know in our heads while talking to them what they are likely going to say given what they share, so we will try to test assumptions to figure out how they’re thinking about the home search. Then we offer them options, advice, and if they choose to work with us, a plan that gets implemented.The reason I share all of this is because it’s structured, effective, and offers the buyer a taste of how we work. Plus, it helps all of us make sure we will work well together as a team. There are many great agents in Seattle and no doubt they all have their process, but I suspect their first meeting is some variation on ours.

From the buyers perspective, this is your opportunity to see how an agent works, how they can help you, and it’s also a time to test their knowledge. You should do your homework before you meet each agent, too—look them up, read their reviews, and if you know someone that used the agent, really talk to them about their experience.

A buyers agent’s job can be boiled down to one main purpose: To make sure you don’t make a costly mistake. But this entails quite a bit of knowledge. A good agent will understand trends, the housing stock, and what you can expect to happen in both the short-term and long-term in the areas you’re interested in possibly buying in. They should also understand how a home is put together and what to watch out for. And lastly, they should keep you from buying anything that will be hard for you to sell later, no matter the market dynamic at that time. We talk people out of 99% of homes, and we won’t fully get behind a home until we know that it meets out clients’ needs and fits our future proofing criteria. You should also never feel rushed, and you should always feel confident that you’re receiving honest advice. 

If you don’t feel that the information you’re getting is good or the agent can’t back up their claims, move along to the next agent. Although keep in mind that I don’t mean keep interviewing until you find an agent that will tell you what you want to hear. You should expect that a good agent will tell you what’s up, even if the news is not what you’d want to hear. That can also keep you from making bad decisions or futile attempts at home ownership.

Here are a few questions you can ask as you interview different buyers agents:

  • How many buyers do you work with annually?
  • Why do you think you provide value over, say, a discount broker?
  • What does the buying process with you look like from start to finish?
  • What are you most proud of in terms of helping buyers effectively?
  • Given my situation, what do you think is the best process?
  • Have you made mistakes, and how where they handled?
  • How do you make sure our offer is successful when competitive offers are present?
  • How many offers do your clients typically make before seeing success?
  • Do you have a strategy for winning against cash offers?

And of course, you should also come up with other questions based on your research you do prior to meeting them. 🙂

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  • Matt Miner

    Real estate guru and Seattle know-it-all

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  • In everything that I do as your REALTOR®, I have one guiding principle in mind: To make certain that your home-buying experience is a happy, successful, wonderful life experience!