Interviewing an agent is just like interviewing a prospective employee. Once you have a list of the agents you want to interview, call each of them and set up an appointment. If you are setting up all the appointments for one day, let them know in advance that you have allowed them a set period of time to tell you their qualifications. One hour is a realistic amount of time to set aside for each agent, although some will go much faster and some may take more time.
The agent will probably bring to you a listing presentation package. A listing presentation package is like a resume with additional information. It explains what the agent will do for you, what his company will do, and statistical information on the marketplace. As you review the listing presentation package together, ask questions to fully understand the process and how the agent will help you with the sale of your home.
Start by giving the agent a tour of your house. As you go through the property, ask him for his opinion. Agents want your business and will usually not say anything to offend you, but you do want to be sure that they notice particular features. Point out things you like about the home and ask if that item will also appeal to the majority of buyers. Welcoming the agent's opinion will gently urge him to tell you what may not appeal to a buyer and suggest any necessary changes.
In order to do her job well, your real estate agent will get to know you personally. She will know about your finances and how neatly you keep your closets. If you connect personally, you will also connect better on a business level. The other questions you may want to pose are:
How long have you been a real estate agent? With new agents, the office will play a big role in their ability to perform. With experienced agents, the office is of little or no significance, as long as they get the support they need.
Do you like your office? Why? If he doesn't like his office environment, you may want to consider a different agent.
Where does your business come from?
What type of marketing do you do?
What sets you apart from the competition? Be wary of an agent who says anything negative about the competition. A true professional will tell you what they can do, not what someone else cannot do.
How many listings do you have?
How many sales have you made this year?
Do you have someone to cover your business when you are not around? Do you have an assistant?
Do you have an attorney or CPA who you can trust to answer questions?
Sellers tend to ask agents about the market and about their house, but it is important to first ask about the agent. This will give you an idea of how she communicates. Agents will often tell you what they think you want to hear about the market—”it's great!”—and about your house—”it's worth a ton!” Don't pick your agent based on the compliments or generalized information she offers.
There are certain questions you might want to ask new agents, in particular: Do you have experience in other fields that translates well to real estate? Do you have a hands-on manager, mentor program, or additional training available through your office? Ask experienced agents: What keeps you in the business? Do you mentor new agents in your office? The answers to these questions will give you an idea of how an agent's experience (or lack thereof) has influenced his outlook and how he handles his clients’ needs.