Don't Pick Dud: 10 Crucial Questions to Ask Your Realtor Before Hiring

Don't Pick Dud: 10 Crucial Questions to Ask Your Realtor Before Hiring

  • Liz Kroft
  • 07/9/24

While hiring your mom's best friend Betty might seem convenient, choosing the wrong realtor can turn your home buying or selling experience into a nightmare. This could lead to missed opportunities, prolonged selling times, and potential financial loss.

Working with the wrong realtor can lead to several pitfalls for a homebuyer:

  1. Missed Opportunities: A poor realtor might lack awareness of new listings or fail to act quickly on promising properties, causing you to miss out on potential dream homes.
  2. Poor Negotiation: Ineffective negotiation skills can result in paying more than necessary or not securing favorable terms, impacting your financial future and satisfaction with the purchase.
  3. Lack of Local Knowledge: Without in-depth knowledge of the local market, a bad realtor might not be able to provide insights into neighborhood trends, school districts, or future developments that could affect your home's value​. 
  4. Inadequate Guidance: They may offer poor advice on offers, contingencies, and inspections, leading to costly mistakes or unforeseen problems down the road.
  5. Stress and Frustration: Poor communication and unresponsiveness can increase stress and frustration, making the buying process more difficult and less enjoyable.

The same could be said for those selling their homes: 

  • Mispricing the Home: A bad realtor may incorrectly price your home, either too high or too low. Overpricing can lead to the home sitting on the market too long, while underpricing can result in leaving money on the table.

  • Poor Marketing: Ineffective marketing strategies mean your home won't reach the right buyers. Without professional photos, engaging listings, or strategic advertising, your property may struggle to attract interest​.

  • Limited Exposure: A bad realtor might not have a broad network or use multiple channels to market your home. This limited exposure can reduce the number of potential buyers, slowing down the sale process.

  • Ineffective Negotiation: A poor negotiator might fail to secure the best terms and price for your home. This could result in accepting lower offers or unfavorable contract terms​.

  • Legal and Contractual Issues: Inadequate knowledge of real estate laws and contracts can lead to legal problems or contract issues, potentially costing you time and money to resolve.

  • Stress and Frustration: Poor communication and unresponsiveness can increase stress and frustration, making the selling process more difficult and less efficient.

Given these potential pitfalls, it's crucial to choose your realtor wisely. Here are the questions you should ask a realtor before hiring.

For Sellers

Selling your home in Santa Cruz requires more than just putting up a "For Sale" sign. It demands a strategic approach to stand out in a competitive market. Here are some essential questions to ask:

  1. What is your experience in selling homes in my area?

    • Why It’s Important: Local expertise ensures the realtor understands the market trends, pricing strategies, and buyer preferences in your neighborhood, leading to a quicker and more profitable sale.
  2. How do you determine the listing price?

    • Why It’s Important: A well-researched listing price attracts serious buyers without undervaluing your property, balancing competitiveness with profitability.
  3. What is your marketing strategy?

    • Why It’s Important: Effective marketing, including online listings, social media, and open houses, maximizes your home’s visibility and attracts more potential buyers.
  4. Can you provide references from past clients?

    • Why It’s Important: References offer insight into the realtor’s track record, communication skills, and overall client satisfaction.
  5. What are your fees and commission rates?

    • Why It’s Important: Understanding the costs upfront helps you plan financially and avoid any surprises at closing.


For Buyers

Buying a home in Santa Cruz is an exciting journey, but it can also be complex. The right realtor will guide you through the process smoothly, ensuring you make informed decisions. Here are some critical questions to ask:

  1. How long have you been working in real estate?

    • Why It’s Important: Experience translates to better negotiation skills, knowledge of the market, and the ability to anticipate and solve potential issues.
  2. What areas do you specialize in?

    • Why It’s Important: A realtor who specializes in your desired area can provide valuable insights into neighborhoods, schools, amenities, and future developments.
  3. How do you handle multiple offers and bidding wars?

    • Why It’s Important: A skilled negotiator can help you navigate competitive situations to secure your desired property without overpaying.
  4. What is your availability for showings and meetings?

    • Why It’s Important: Flexible availability ensures you can view homes and discuss options at convenient times, expediting the buying process.
  5. Can you explain the home buying process?

    • Why It’s Important: A clear understanding of the process, from pre-approval to closing, helps you prepare for each step and avoid common pitfalls.



Hiring the right realtor is crucial for a successful home buying or selling experience. By asking these essential questions, you can ensure you’re making an informed decision and partnering with a professional who meets your needs. Don’t wait—start your real estate journey with confidence today! For expert advice and personalized assistance, contact Liz Kroft.



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With over nine years of full-time experience and more than $114 million in sales across the greater Bay Area, I work tirelessly to be a well-regarded agent, industry innovator, and ambassador for my clients.

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