The realtor you choose to help you buy or sell a house can make a huge difference in the process. A good realtor will teach you what you need to know about the process, represent your best interest throughout negotiations, and give you peace of mind if things get stressful. Since a realtor can make such a big difference in the process, it is important that you choose carefully. Take some time to interview the realtor you are considering and ask a lot of questions. As you make your list of questions, be sure and include the three essential questions listed below.

How often do you work in this area?

As you try and choose a realtor make sure to ask them about their familiarity with the area. This question is an important one to ask for a number of reasons. First, a realtor who works and/or lives in your area is better equipped to help you find a property if you are looking to buy. They go in and out of the neighborhoods you’re considering all the time and will be familiar with what is on the market. If you are looking to sell, a local realtor will have connections with other agents and possibly buyers in your area. They can use their network in your area to get you a buyer as quickly as possible. A realtor who works locally on a regular basis will also be more available to you than one who spends most of their time out of town. This makes looking at houses or scheduling showings much easier because your realtor does not have to constantly commute into town.

How many transactions did you complete last year?

It is essential to ask any realtor you are considering about their transactions for the previous year. For some people, this type of question may be uncomfortable to ask. It may feel like you are questioning the realtor’s ability or doubting their success. You need to put those concerns aside and remember that high producing realtors are accustomed to answering this type of question. At the end of the day, you want to find a realtor who is knowledgeable and motivated to help you with your real estate transaction. Do you really want a realtor who only closed one deal over the past twelve months? Of course not! You want someone who is out there working for their clients day in and day out to make things happen. One of the ways to measure whether the realtor you are considering has this attitude is to ask about their previous transactions.

What experience do you have with this type of transaction?

If you are looking to buy a single family home in a residential neighborhood then you will be able to find plenty of realtors with experience in that area. But, what if you are trying to sell a house with land on the outskirts of town? There are a number of situations that require specialized knowledge of the property type and/or area. Ask your realtor about their experience with the type of property you are looking to buy or sell. Try and find someone with experience that is relevant to your situation. It will help the transaction go more smoothly when you have a realtor who knows what to expect from your type of property.

It will not take long to ask these questions of any realtor you are considering. The answers you receive will help you choose between the options. Remember, a high quality realtor will have no problem answering these and other questions you ask.

Jameel Batshon, Broker/Co-Founder of Century 21 Cornerstone Realtors has 15 Years of Real Estate Experience with a background in Lending that started in 2002 at Household Finance Company. Jameel was Born in San Francisco, Ca and moved to the East Bay at a young age. Jameel has been a licensed Realtor since 2004.