Buying, selling or renting a home will be one of the biggest investment decisions that you are likely to make in your life, so it is of course nothing to be taken lightly.  That's why hiring a real estate agent is a good idea.  There are a lot of tiny details and grunt work to be done in the search for the best real estate deals and, if you find a really good one, they can make the whole experience much, much smoother.  That's if you find a really good one though and, like anything else, you should do some research before choosing an agent to help you.  Baltimore or Boston apartments may seem easy enough to come by but you can often get caught in a bad situation navigating the housing landscape on your own, so don't be afraid to ask questions and “grill” your real estate agent before agreeing to hire them.  They are working for you in an important time and it's imperative that they know what they're doing.  Here are 5 questions that you should ask a real estate broker during your housing search.           

Question 1: Do You Have any References and How Are They?

As is the case with buying a car, getting a new dog, or even just deciding what TV shows to watch, word of mouth and the recommendations of others are of great value.  With a little bit of research, you can find out what people are saying about your potential real estate agent while you're hunting for Boston apartmentsor a new home in Newton.  You can also ask them point blank to see their references.  Hiring an agent is not unlike a job interview, only you are the boss and they're trying to get hired by you.  Call up their references and ask them to give their honest opinion about how easy or successful the agent made their experience.           

Question 2: Are You Very Experienced in Dealing With My Type of Property?

If you're going to hire somebody to help you, you should be certain that they know the lay of the land when it comes to your area of the real estate business.  Your potential real estate broker should know how to close a deal within your ideal range and you can check to see the speed at which their other, similar properties are selling before deciding if they will be a good fit for you.           

Question 3: Is This Area Booming or Busting?

It's especially important to get an idea of the housing trend as all markets seek to head down the road to recovery from the Great Recession.  Real estate agents should be the most capable of telling which way is up since their job is to pay close attention to the canary in the coal mine.  There won't always be such definite signs as abandoned buildings, police stings or disheveled roads to tell you that an area is in trouble and likewise for the signs that an area is on the up.  Your real estate agent should have their finger on the pulse of the trends, paying close attention to the success of small businesses, schools and infrastructure of the area in question.           

Question 4: How Many Clients do You Have?

It's important that you are important to your agent.  If they keep a healthy base of clients and know their limits before being stretched too thin to be able to really give your property or search the time it deserves, you'll want to hire them.  If they're tied up with a host of Boston apartments when you need them to concentrate on your condo in Lowell, then you might have to look elsewhere.           

Question 5: What's the Bad News?

A real estate broker should know your property or the property you're looking for inside and out and be able to realistically and positively address any negatives.  How they deal with giving you unpleasant information is a key feature.