Eleven Questions to Ask Your Buyer's Broker

Interview Questions for a Buyer’s Broker

You know you’re going to need a professional to help you locate and purchase your new home, but how do you find that person? How do you know that person is going to be a “good fit” with you? A real estate professional will be responsible for locating appropriate homes and showing them to you and your family. They need to be able to listen to your needs, and ask good questions. Most importantly, they need negotiate a good price on your behalf, coordinate and manage inspections, and communicate effectively with the seller’s agent, your lender, and the title company.  Treat this process like you would a job interview first by getting recommendations from your family and trusted friends, and then by asking a lot of smart questions. Here are 11 questions you should ask when interviewing a buyer’s broker:

  1. What is your experience and education? Though a new real estate broker can certainly be motivated and eager to please, a pro with years of experience will have the knowledge and skill to face unexpected challenges. Taking continuing education courses also shows a commitment to keeping up with changes.

  2. Is this your full-time job? Having another job shouldn’t necessarily cut a potential real estate broker out of the running, but you need to be aware if this is a part-time gig before committing. Someone who also works somewhere else may be harder to reach and you could miss out on opportunities to see your dream home.  

  3. Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors? Membership in this professional organization is what allows a real estate broker to use the title Realtor. Being a Realtor means that the broker has agreed to follow the organization’s ethical guidelines and to keep up with continuing education.

  4. What’s the price range of most of the homes you have helped to purchase? You probably already have a ballpark figure in mind for your home’s price. Does the broker have experience with negotiating sales in that price range?

  5. How many homes did you sell last year? This will give you an idea of the volume of work a real estate broker is used to taking on. This number alone is not enough to base a decision on, but keep in mind that a very high number may mean the broker is not able to give each client as much personal attention.

  6. Is there a particular area that you specialize in? It helps if the broker is well-versed in the area you are interested in, especially if there are particular specialties like wells or septic involved. Keep in mind that a buyer’s broker should be able to find you a home anywhere that you would like as long as they are licensed in that region.

  7. Do you work on your own or as part of a team? If the broker you are interviewing heads up a large office, it may be that he or she will not be the one doing business with you the entire time. If that’s the case, you should know up front exactly how the broker will be involved, and you should be able to meet the other brokers who will be working with you.

  8. How many clients are you currently representing? There is no magic number to look for here; just use your common sense. If the number is very high or very low consider that a red flag — you are looking for someone with a thriving business who still has time to devote to your home search.

  9. What type of support staff or resources do you have? This could include anything from home-search technology, transaction management software, immediate access to a peer knowledge-base, or an in-house real estate attorney.  Good tools used effectively will make the home buying process that much easier for you.

  10. How will you keep me informed about progress? Find out how frequently you can expect your broker to check in with you, and when he or she is available for you to call with questions or for updates.

  11. Can I see your references? Ideally, ask for the names and phone numbers of three of the most recent clients. You want to know whether people are happy with the real estate broker’s work now, not five or 10 years ago. When you talk to former clients, ask how easy it was to reach the broker when they had questions, and whether they felt well supported and advised throughout the process.

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