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How to choose a real estate agent
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Interviewing prospects
The biggest challenge is to find the agent that will work the hardest for you.

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"The only way to find the agent that's right for you is to sit down with them and ask questions," Brenner says.

You should interview agents just as though you are hiring them for a job, because you are! And remember that you are doing the agent a favor by giving him your business.

If you're selling, ask prospective agents about their marketing plan for your specific home, emphasizes Mitchell Herman, a Florida Realtor and owner of Flat Rate Realty USA, which offers FSBO sellers the ability to list their home on the MLS through a flat-rate plan.

"As a professional salesman, I interviewed agents who wanted to list my home and I asked them how they would earn their fee. They offered an undefined marketing plan and an MLS listing. That was it," he told Bankrate. "If all a listing agent is offering is an MLS listing, he's not worth the commission."

Whether buying or selling, Purcell advocates interviewing three different agents from three different firms.

"Ask all of them questions -- the same questions so you won't be comparing apples to oranges. Ask them to explain the market place and the market conditions -- who is buying, what price range is moving and why. Then ask them to explain who they are and what makes them different from their competitors. Ask why you should choose them. Then ask about their firm and why their firm is different and why you should choose their firm."

What to ask
Here are six more questions, the experts agree, you should ask any agent, whether you are buying or selling:
Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Updated: June 9, 2006
 
 
More stories by Sylvia Booth Hubbard
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