Too often, buyers hire the wrong type of real estate agent or incompetent agents. They hire someone they like or relate to, which is important but only the first step. You should interview prospective real estate agents before hiring them. You will be working closely with this person for months and if you find he or she is incompetent, it can be difficult to switch agents.

Here are some questions you should ask any potential real estate agent.

What Geographic Area Does the Agent Most Often Work In?

A real estate agent outside your target area may not understand the nuances of your target market well, or a more practical concern is heavy traffic may mean he is consistently late for showings. Ask how many buyers the agent has assisted in your target area and their opinion of the market. The agent should be able to quickly provide some insight on your target area, through personal experience and statistics.

Is the Agent Full or Part Time?

60% of Illinois licensees did not complete one real estate transaction in 2009, meaning most agents are part-time. A full-time agent
is more committed to the business and will be more flexible and available when it comes to showings and negotiations. Obviously, a full-time agent has more experience than a part-timer who dabbles in real estate.

How Experienced is the Agent?

Ask how many years of experience the real estate agent has under his or
her belt. How many buyers per year does she represent? What percentage of buyers versus sellers does he represent? Does the agent have any special designations such as Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) or other licenses that may be helpful such as attorney or mortgage banker? Does the agent belong to local real estate groups such as the Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR) or national groups such as the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA)?

What Type of Real Estate Agent is He or She?

There are many different types of agents that assist buyers, depending on whether they work for smaller independent firms or larger more traditional firms. A smaller firm tends to use a hands-on consultative approach, often accompanying you to each showing. A larger firm may employ a team approach, where you are handed off to less experienced agents or assistants during the process. Make sure to ask how involved the agent will be in the process. Brokerages and the agents employed by them act as your agent
in different capacities.

Click here to learn more about the different types of real estate agents.