Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 29, 2016

Questions to ask when choosing a Realtor

REALTOR Association President's Message

Nathan Walldorf

You’re ready to make an investment in real estate, or you have property to sell. With approximately 1,600 Realtors in the Greater Chattanooga market, how do you pick one that’s right for you? Even if you’re armed with recommendations from family, friends, or coworkers, we recommend interviewing Realtors to ensure they can best serve your unique real estate needs. To aide in the interview process, Realtor Magazine Online suggests asking these questions when interviewing potential Realtors:

How long have you been in residential or commercial real estate sales? Is it your full-time job?

Like most professions, experience is no guarantee of skill. But much of real estate is learned on the job. If the Realtor is relatively new on the scene, ask them what type of support and supervision their brokerage firm provides. Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, or assistance with technology can help a transaction go more quickly and smoothly for all parties.

Do you hold any designations or certifications?

In order to obtain these distinctions, real estate professionals have to take additional specialized training. Designations and certifications help define the special skills that an agent can apply to your particular real estate needs. Currently, only one quarter of real estate practitioners hold designations and certifications. So go ahead, ask about the “alphabet soup” listed after their name so they can expound upon their experience and expertise in various real estate sectors.

What’s your business philosophy? 

While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the real estate professional – fast sales, service, marketing – and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.

What’s the average variation between your initial offers and final sales prices? 

This is one indication of a Realtor’s pricing and negotiating skills. Also, be sure to discuss with the Realtor GCAR’s market reports, which contain trends related to percent of original list price received.

On average, how many days does it take for your listings to sell or lease? 

Compare their answer to GCAR’s current market report. While a Realtor is not of control market demands, they should have a good knowledge base for guiding your expectation in this regard. Also, they can help you weigh the options and strategies for getting close to list price versus a shorter or prolonged time on the market.

Will you represent me exclusively, or might you choose to represent the other side as well? 

While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, your Realtor should be able to explain his or her philosophy on client obligations and agency relationships. It’s important to understand where the Realtor’s obligations lie. A good practitioner will explain the agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party. Also, it’s possible to include in the agency agreement that the Realtor represents you exclusively.

Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and so on? 

Practitioners should be able to recommend more than one provider, and let you know if they have any special relationship with any of the providers. You’ll need assistance obtaining financing and making repairs on your next home or office space. In addition to recommending possible service providers, the Realtor should tell you if they receive any compensation from the provider.

What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my property? 

Look for someone who has aggressive, innovative approaches, not just someone who’s going to put a sign in the ground and hope for the best.

How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? 

The best answer here is a question. A real estate agent who pays close attention to the way you prefer to communicate and responds accordingly will make for the smoothest transaction. Convey to the Realtor your desires for how frequently and with what media you wish to communicate. Let the Realtor know if you want updates twice a week or don’t want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect. Let the Realtor know if you prefer to communicate via phone, text, email, or in person.

Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients? 

Ask their former customers if they would use the agent again in the future.

Realtors entered this profession out of a passion for guiding consumers through the complicated process of buying and selling property – commercial and residential. Find a Realtor today at www.gcar.net/consumer-tools/find-a-member.


The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,700 members, and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net.