The Importance of At Least 3 Interviews for a Real Estate Agent
Interviewing Multiple Agents is an Industrywide Highly Regarded Best Practice
In fact, I think it would be difficult to find an article advising that you only interview 1 agent. I haven't found one yet. Let me know if you find one. If your brother or your maid of honor/best man is your agent, it may be different, but typically, I would advise interviewing more than one agent. You'll find numerous articles on the importance of interviewing at least a few agents. The Balance states, "Smart consumers will interview several potential real estate agents before they settle on which one they want to work with." According to this article on Bankrate, you should "interview at least three real estate agents." Upnest has a whole article devoted to "Why You Should Always Interview More than One Agent." While I don't agree with everything in those articles, I hope that these reputable sources have been able to demonstrate this industry-wide best practice.
Why So Many Buyers & Sellers Only Interview One Agent
In cases like this one, it's popular for people to do what's easy & to misunderstand the significant difference in the outcome of your sale from using an agent that is "good enough" vs one that is fantastic. It's easier to interview only one agent than it is to interview 3 agents. I don't know of anyone who found some article saying it was a good idea. It's just the easy thing to do, not realizing that another 3 hours could mean a $10,000 price tag difference & a month less of market time. I don't know about you, but I don't typically make $3,333 per hour, so if I was a buyer or seller, it would absolutely be worth my time if an extra 3-hour interview for a 2nd or 3rd opinion resulted in a $10k positive net for me. It's not just a matter of the final price tag either, but a matter of time itself. What agent you use really matters.
Why Interview More than One Agent:
Purchasing or selling a home or piece of land is one of the biggest decisions of most buyers' lives, & what each agent offers can differ vastly. It is critical to go about the process carefully, choosing the agent that will best serve your needs, rather than whoever happened to speak to you first or the agent who bothered you the most with their frequent contact attempts. Agents that are constantly reaching out to perspective buyers and sellers often get higher sales volume, but you can have high sales volume without being very good at what you do. How much time have they spent seeking to educate their clients on a deeper level? What does their website, video content, email depth, or other writing look like on a variety of subjects? What kind of digital tools and physical tools do they have for the job? What do they really offer buyers and what do they offer sellers? How are their reviews & what are their values as evidenced by reviews?
It's better to know multiple options in order to make the most informed decision. The wrong agent in extreme cases can mean someone who signs a buyer brokerage agreement with you, then is highly unresponsive, knowing that as long as you are under the exclusive buyer brokerage agreement, they are owed commission for whatever house you buy. On the selling side, it's also very easy to inadvertently sign up with an agent who will market your home poorly. It is ideal to interview with multiple agents, just like it's ideal to see more than 1 home before deciding on 1.
Agent Comparison for Seller Example: $40k Lower Sales Price & Listed 1 Year Longer After Using the Wrong Agent
My marketing is so effective that I would like to describe an exemplary listing where I received an offer with a sales price $40,000 higher than the closed price of another agent. On that occasion, a listing of mine had 3 offers while I listed it. The seller went against my advice and rejected the highest offer. Shortly after they listed with another Realtor, convinced that I was not marketing the property enough despite marketing efforts that far exceeded that of a typical listing, likely in the top 5% of active marketing for homes. After multiple price reductions, a year later, it sold through that other agent, one of the top agents in VA, for a $40,000 lower sales price than the offer that they had rejected while I was the listing agent that I recommended that they not reject. Keep in mind that the market had appreciated during that year.
Agent Comparison for Buyer Example: Distant Nightmare Home Ruled Out In Multiple Offer Situation Prior to Showing
Sometimes that home that seems too good to be true really is. Most agents don't have that thorough of a process for weeding out homes prior to a showing, no matter how far the buyer is coming from. For instance, there was one distant showing that a buyer I was working with wanted to do where the listing disclosed that flood insurance was required. I have a set of questions that I ask in this scenario, even though that's not typical of agents to do. One of the questions that I asked was about any flooding history. The agent replied that the home had flooded around 5 years prior and that they had done around $40k in work on the house following that flood damage. It was already a multiple-offer situation, and it's likely that none of the other buyers had asked that question. While flooding history is supposed to be disclosed, it often isn't unless you ask. By asking prior to showing, I was able to save my buyer from ever stepping into their car to go to the property, while another buyer likely closed on the home with no idea about what they would likely face in terms of flooding in the near future.
I've helped buyers to win in situations with as many as 8 offers on 1 property (while not going too high over the next best offer), get up to 4.5% closing cost assistance, and have helped buyers get as much as $49,000 below asking price.
Is it too late for you?
If you have already signed an exclusive buyer brokerage agreement with a buyer's agent or a listing agreement with a listing agent that won't expire for a while, it is too late for more interviews, so this article assumes that you have not signed anything with your prospective agent yet.
Why So Many Buyers & Sellers Only Interview One Agent
In cases like this one, it's popular for people to do what's easy & to misunderstand the significant difference in the outcome of your sale from using an agent that is "good enough" vs one that is fantastic. It's easier to interview only one agent than it is to interview 3 agents. I don't know of anyone who found some article saying it was a good idea. It's just the easy thing to do, not realizing that another 3 hours could mean a $10,000 price tag difference & a month less of market time. I don't know about you, but I don't typically make $3,333 per hour, so if I was a buyer or seller, it would absolutely be worth my time an extra 3 hours resulted in a $10k positive net for me. It's not just a matter of the final price tag either, but a matter of time itself. What agent you use really matters.