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tips-for-hiring-an-agentI attend a lot of real estate conferences, seminars, and trainings. And sometimes what I hear makes me shudder.

Some of it aimed at deceiving you.

Let me give you an example. A new agent dreads the question “How long have you been in real estate?”  Trainers tell them to respond, “seems like forever!” and then tell the new licensee to change the subject.

But how do you KNOW? One way is to do a licensee lookup. Every state in the US has a state run website that includes every type of licensee, whether to sell insurance, practice law, practice medicine, sell real estate, etc.

The hard part is just locating that website lookup.

Let me help you out. For real estate, you can see how long someone has been licensed to sell by going to the California Department of Real Estate’s site and looking up folks here:

But let me add a caveat: the fact that someone has HAD a license doesn’t mean that he or she has sold a lot of real estate in that time. I have met many agents who “have” their license but only sell one home every few years.

But back to the premise of this post: there are some trainers who will teach new agents to give glib answers (“objection handling”) to get you offtrack and make sure you do not find out the information you seek.

Please allow me to make a suggestion: when you interview agents: use a written list of questions that require solid answers.  Sample questions would include things like these: (1) how long have you been licensed? (2) how many homes do you sell each year? (3) what percentage of your sales are buyers/sellers?

Do not accept vague answers, but insist on concrete numbers. If the agent doesn’ know them when asked, they should be discoverable within a day or two.

There are many more questions that you might include, too, but these are certainly a good starting point. If you cannot get straight answers here – run!