Homebuyers and sellers often work with experienced real estate professionals called brokers during property sale transactions. Some real estate experts recommend that buyers and sellers should develop a list of questions to ask a real estate broker and that they should choose a broker based upon the answers that different brokers provide. Questions to ask a real estate broker typically include questions about the broker's credentials, fees and past sales history.
In many areas, brokers are required to obtain real estate licenses. Those compiling a list of questions to ask a real estate broker should begin by asking if the broker has a license or any other professional credentials. In some areas, lists of licensed brokers are available online or in public directories, so buyers and sellers can verify the information that the brokers provide. People should also find out how long each broker has been in business. Someone with a 20 year career history may have more knowledge of the local market and a better network of contacts that an individual who obtained a broker's license within the last few months.
The real estate market experiences ups and downs over the course of time. Some brokers struggle to make sales during lean times either because they set prices too high, or because they lack negotiation skills. People should ask brokers about their past sales history and ask each broker how many sales they have made in the last year. Ideally, buyers and sellers should try to work with brokers who have a track history of making sales regardless of the state of the housing market.
Some areas have laws limiting a broker's fee but in many instances, brokers are free to set their own; these costs often amount to a fixed percentage of the real estate sales price. Buyers and sellers should both ask questions about the broker's typical fees. Additionally, laws in some areas enable brokers to claim a commission even if the seller agrees a sale without the direct involvement of the broker. Therefore, the standard questions to ask a real estate broker typically cover topics such as the term of the broker's contract with the seller and the protocol used if the seller actually negotiates a sale.
A broker may have impressive sales statistics and a long history in the real estate field. Statistics, however helpful they may be, do not always tell the whole story. In the opinion of some people, the standard questions to ask a real estate broker should include direct questions about the feelings of past clients about the broker's professional conduct. Some people even ask brokers for references to ensure that other people have been satisfied with the services that the broker provides.