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Why this matters:

Real estate agents serve as fiduciaries to their clients; in other words, they need to act in their client’s best interests, financially speaking. This question gives the candidate a chance to demonstrate how seriously they accept this responsibility, and how well they are aware of the consequences of any breach: to clients, employers, and their own reputations.

What to listen for:

  • Strong recall of the six duties
  • Seriousness toward the topic
  • Examples that may illustrate their adherence to these duties for clients

Why this matters:

To perform well, real estate agents need to know and like the areas they’re representing. Understanding the relevant history, school districts, market value, local businesses, property taxes, and other neighborhood characteristics and amenities pave the way for them to get clients, buyers, and sellers equally excited about ownership.

What to listen for:

  • Local enthusiasm
  • Local stories or trivia
  • A possible local network of contacts

Why this matters:

These days, millions of home buying journeys begin on real estate websites. Agents are making increasing use of video and social media, and even showing some listings virtually. This question tests for the candidate’s prowess with relevant marketing technology, which can be one indicator toward future success.

What to listen for:

  • Understanding of the importance of online tools for marketing
  • Technology savvy, including examples of successful use
  • Familiarity with the platforms and channels most relevant for your market

 

Why this matters:

Nearly every interaction in real estate presents an opportunity for negotiation, from arranging an exclusive viewing before a listing goes public, to encouraging a client to make an offer on a home that might not match their exact criteria, to adjusting a purchase price due to an issue that arose during inspection (thereby rescuing the deal). This question allows the candidate to showcase their favorite success story.

What to listen for:

  • Strong negotiation strategies
  • A good balance between action and inaction
  • A passion for the process, because it is present in every step

Why this matters:

Real estate sales require many skills: intuitive listening, persistent follow-up, a magical sense of timing, a range of negotiation tactics, and more. To master the craft, every good real estate agent must make a few mistakes. This question gives the candidate a chance to share some of their biggest sales lessons.

What to listen for:

  • The recognition that missteps are both inevitable and good
  • The awareness that leads to learning and mastery
  • Complex examples demonstrating an advanced skill set

Why this matters:

Clients come in all shapes and sizes: some have seemingly impossible expectations; others require a lot of hand-holding; still others change their minds or criteria as often as their clothing. The best candidates are resilient and nimble, able to adapt their approach to the client’s needs. They can also draw boundaries, letting the client know what works and what doesn’t — and walking away, if needed.

What to listen for:

  • Resilience and empathy
  • A nimble, solution-oriented approach
  • An emphasis on communication and active listening

Why this matters:

A strong network can serve real estate agents and their clients in multiple ways: from easing the negotiations process, to affording clients special privileges with certain listings, to introducing clients to valuable resources, including a lawyer, lender, architect, and plumber. This question explores the candidate’s attitude toward networking.

What to listen for:

  • An emphasis on networking
  • Evidence of a strong network
  • Anecdotes that showcase how the candidate’s network has helped past and current clients

Why this matters:

Real estate can be a bit of a roller-coaster ride, with sellers getting attached to a purchase price, or buyers becoming enamored with certain properties. It’s important for real estate agents to have a strong EQ (emotional quotient), and be able to aid their clients through the highs and lows of home buying or selling.

What to listen for:

  • The ability to temper expectations and prepare clients for surprises
  • A positive attitude at all times
  • Empathy and compassion

Why this matters:

With multiple transactions moving forward or falling through, it can be easy to view clients in a transactional way. But sustainable success in real estate, over many years or decades, requires planting and cultivating long-term relationships, so that the same clients turn to their go-to agent when upsizing, downsizing, referring friends and family, and through all other phases of life.

What to listen for:

  • Patience
  • A relationship orientation
  • A commitment to the profession
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