18 Questions That Annoy Every Real Estate Agent

Buying and selling your home can be an exciting and anxiety-ridden time. Finding the right real estate agent to help you through the process can help make it go as smoothly as possible. But don’t make these common mistakes by asking your potential agent the wrong questions.

How Long Have You Been in the Business?

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Asking about an agent’s tenure may not reflect their effectiveness. An agent’s experience is better measured by the number of transactions they’ve handled than by their years in the industry. Focus on their track record and client satisfaction instead of their years of service.

Can You Handle Everything for Me?

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Your listing agent will advise you on how to price your property correctly, add it to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), show the property, conduct open houses, and negotiate with buyers. Your buying agent will show you homes on the market, negotiate offers, assist you through inspection processes, and work with your lender. While agents facilitate many aspects of buying or selling, client involvement is crucial.

Can You Lower Your Commission?

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Discussing commissions upfront can be off-putting and may undermine the value an agent brings to the table. Instead, understand the services provided and the market standard for commissions before negotiating any reductions. Remember, this is how your agent makes a living, so they may be willing to negotiate on luxury homes because 3% of $1 million is more than 3% of $350,000 with about the same amount of work.

What Company Do You Work For?

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Real estate professional Mike Cuevas writes on his LinkedIn that “Prior to the evolution of the MLS and most of the online real estate search sites, the company a realtor worked for used to matter.” Today, all real estate agents have access to the same information on homes for sale, with very few exceptions. This means the company an agent works for doesn’t limit their access and doesn’t necessarily indicate their competence.

What’s Your Rate for Selling a House?

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Agents don’t set the selling price; the market does. Asking this implies they control the market value, which isn’t the case. Focus on their strategy for pricing and marketing your property effectively.

Where Is Your Office Located?

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An agent’s office location is less relevant in the digital age. It’s more important to ask about their area of expertise and where they actively sell homes. Their physical office location doesn’t necessarily correlate with their effectiveness as an agent, and often, you’ll meet your agent at homes or places that are convenient for you.

Will You Attend All Showings?

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Expecting an agent to attend every showing isn’t always realistic or necessary. Many listing agents will have junior agents at their brokerage host open houses to avoid conflicts of interest if a buyer walks in needing an agent to make an offer. Clarify expectations about showings and open houses, and understand how the agent plans to manage them.

Can You Guarantee a Sale or Specific Outcome?

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No agent can guarantee a sale or a particular outcome due to the unpredictable nature of the real estate market. Instead, ask about their strategies to maximize the chances of a successful transaction.

How Many Homes Did You Sell Last Year?

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While this question aims to gauge success, it doesn’t account for market conditions or the agent’s client focus. Quality over quantity should be the priority; ask about client satisfaction and case studies of their work.

Do You Have Other Clients Right Now?

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An agent’s current client load doesn’t necessarily indicate their availability or dedication to your needs. It’s better to discuss how they manage their workload and ensure each client receives adequate attention.

Will You Be Available 24/7?

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Expecting round-the-clock availability is unreasonable; your real estate agent is human and needs downtime, sleep, and time to work with other clients. Discuss communication preferences and establish reasonable boundaries for contact. If you don’t want them calling you at 3 a.m., you shouldn’t do it to them; plus, nothing can get done at those hours anyway.

Can You Show Me Homes Below My Budget Only?

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Limiting viewings to below-budget homes may cause you to miss out on potential homes that offer better value. Bankrate says to find your sweet spot. “You’ll need to start by weighing how much money you have coming in—your monthly earnings from your job, investments and any other streams of income versus how much you have going out to cover costs like student loans, credit card balances and car payments.” Then discuss your financial comfort zone and allow the agent to guide you to the best options.

Can You Only Show Me Foreclosures?

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After the market crash of 2008, people became incredibly focused on the “deals” they could get buying foreclosures. Focusing solely on foreclosures can limit your options. An agent can help you explore a range of properties that meet your criteria and offer good value.

Can You Tell Me About the Neighbors?

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Agents must adhere to privacy and anti-discrimination laws, so they cannot provide details about neighbors. According to Forbes, the “Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination and real estate agents from answering questions about crime, religion, neighborhood economic status and local school district.” Instead, ask about neighborhood amenities and characteristics.

Can You Help Me With Legal/Financial Advice?

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Agents are not lawyers or financial advisors. For legal or financial advice, consult with a qualified professional in the respective field. Most real estate agents have a Rolodex full of professionals they have worked with previously and can recommend for questions outside their wheelhouse.

Can You Attend the Home Inspection?

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Agents typically don’t attend home inspections, as it’s the inspector’s role to evaluate the property. Ask the agent about the inspection process and how they will assist with any issues that arise.

Can You Guarantee My Home Will Appreciate?

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No one can predict future market conditions with certainty. Focus on current market analysis and trends rather than guarantees of appreciation.

Can You Show Me Homes Anywhere?

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Agents are licensed in individual states and usually specialize in certain areas. Ask about their expertise in specific neighborhoods to ensure they can provide the best guidance.

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