Buy A House Out Of State While Trying To Sell Your Home

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent When Buying and Selling in Different States

The thought alone of buying out of state and selling in your home state can seem a bit stressful. Heck, buying and selling simultaneously regardless of where you are can be a stressful situation. But it can be more stressful if you choose the wrong agent. Communication, timelines, response times, knowledge, and insight from your agent can all affect how a deal goes down. This is why it is crucial when choosing the right real estate agent for buying and selling real estate.

There are so many parties involved in buying and selling real estate. Not only do you have the basic buyer and seller, but you have escrow, lenders, title agencies, appraisers, inspectors, and then the agents and that’s just on one side of the deal. When buying and selling, you can double that number. Having everyone work together can be a bit challenging but having an agent that keeps it all together is key.

What to look for when selling your home.

Did you know that buyer’s agents and seller’s agents are two different people? Maybe you did but, in most transactions, there is a listing agent that works for the seller and the selling agent or buyer’s agent that works for the buyer. Both of these agents are the go-between from the seller to the buyer and vice versa. These two parties represent the buyer and seller and facilitate the transaction and communication between the two parties.

Can this be the same person? Yes, but that can get a little tricky. The same agent can help the seller sell a home and then buy a new one if they are licensed in the same area in which the buyer is buying, but if the same agent is representing both the buyer and the seller in a transaction, it’s considered dual agency and that can get a little tricky. When the same agent is representing both buyer and the seller it’s similar to a lawyer representing both the defendant and the plaintiff… You can see how that can get tricky.

Maggee Miggins of Summit Real Estate says, “When selling your home, you want an agent that is well-versed in listings, marketing, communication, and of course, selling. Here are some basic questions to ask a listing agent when interviewing.”

How many properties have you listed and sold over the last 12 months?

If your agent has listed 10 properties but only actually sold five of them, how good of a listing agent are they? If they’ve listed 30 properties and sold all within a short period, chances are you’ve got yourself a good listing agent. If they’ve only been the buyer’s agent on less than a dozen properties, this may not be their forte.

Do you work alone or with a team?

Working with a team when selling your property means there’s probably always somebody to get a hold of when necessary, there are different people that do different things within the team such as an open house buyer’s agent and an assistant, and you’re more likely to get a well-rounded service when choosing an agent that has a team behind him or her. This is not always a make-or-break decision, but it can be a great perk.

How fast do your listings sell?

This is a little bit of a trick question. If the agent says that their listings sell within a week, it could be the market or it could be that they are underpricing their homes. If their homes do go under contract within 30 days, again, it could be the market, or they could be overpricing their homes. Listen carefully for the response to this question as it can make you even more apprehensive or give you more confidence.

How will you communicate with me and how fast?

Sellers tend to be way more anxious and nervous during the selling process than most buyers, generally speaking. Sellers need constant updates and reminders. One of the worst things is for an agent to go silent during the selling process. You want an agent that is honest, upfront, and responsive. Ask how they will respond to your questions and inquiries and if they respond in a way that you like i.e., text, phone call, email, etc.

How well do they know the market?

Micro markets are a thing. This means that what’s working in one neighborhood might not work for the neighborhood just a mile or two away. How well do they know the neighborhoods around you? Do they consistently work in your market? If they are from out of town or are you choosing them simply because they are a friend of a friend and don’t really know your market, you could sit on the market for longer than you want or leave money on the table by selling for less than its value.

Are you full-time?

Pam Pester, Tampa Commercial Real Estate Agent says, “Not being able to get a hold of your agent because they’re working a 9-to-5 job is extremely frustrating. This should be their full-time position. You don’t want a listing agent that does this for a hobby.”

Do time and experience matter?

This question may or may not sway your decision. Asking them how long they’ve been in the business doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be bad at being your listing agent. Yes, experience matters way more than book knowledge because every real estate transaction is different so having that experience on how to problem solve through any situation can be vital to the process but that doesn’t mean they’re not a good listing agent. Ask what they’ve done in a previous job? Do they have drive, motivation, ambition, and creativity? You might be surprised at how well an agent that’s only been in the business for a couple of years could well surpass someone with a good two decades of seasoned experience under their belt.

What do you do differently?

This truly is the end-all question. Why should I choose you over anyone else? What do you bring to the table that you think no one else can? Why are you the agent we should go with? And there is no right or wrong answer to this. It comes down to how satisfied you are with their answer. Are they simply charming you to upsell themselves or do you truly believe they’re working for your best interest? Do you get along with them? Do you connect and feel comfortable with them? Do you feel confident in their services?

What to look for when buying a home?

On the other side of the spectrum is the buyer’s agent. This is the person who will represent you when buying your new home. While this might seem like a similar job description, a buyer’s agent has a little bit different role they don’t have to worry about selling a property for the right price; they need to worry about finding the right home for their buyer. And when you’re buying and selling in two different states, this agent is usually not the same one. So how do you go about finding a buyer’s agent on the other end?

Many of the questions you can ask a listing agent can apply to a buyer’s agent but one of the best places to start is to simply ask your listing agent who they recommend. You might be surprised. Real estate agents who have worked for decades may know of a great agent that you would mesh with in your new location. In any case, this is usually the best place to start. Ask the listing agent for a referral and then start the process from there.

Most listing agents will find someone within their same brokerage. They might vet them by having a phone conversation, telling them about your situation, and feeling them out over the phone. If they feel comfortable, they will usually give you their contact information. But it is still up to you to decide if this is the best person for the job.

Schedule an interview.

Similar to asking questions to a listing agent, schedule an interview with your buyer’s agent. This could be over the phone or over zoom or even in person if you have a chance to get to where you’re moving to often. While you can ask all of the above questions to a buyer’s agent as well as a listing agent, there are a few others that you’ll need to consider. Here are some great questions to ask a buyer’s agent during that initial interview.

How many buyers do you actively work with?

If you’re talking about a single agent without a team and they’re working with 10 to 15 buyers at one time, that might be a little overkill. While it’s great that they have the experience, you don’t want to be pushed to the bottom of the list either. The more buyers they have the better for them, but too many and you might be put on the back burner. However, if you are the agent’s only buyer, it probably means they don’t have a strong history of sales. The key is getting a great buyer’s agent that even though they’re working with other clients and can juggle several bars at a time, should make you feel like you are their only client.

How many homes do you generally show to your buyers?

If the answer is one or two, there may be something a little off but if it’s 20 to 30 or more, that agent may not understand what their buyer wants. A great agent should only have to show between 5 and 10 properties. This means that they understand what their buyers want, can identify the needs, and showcase what a buyer is looking for without diluting it with properties that will never be on the list or just offering one or two.

Do you have reviews?

This works the same for buyer’s agents and seller’s agents. Reviews and testimonials are key but if you ask for these reviews, chances are you’re only going to find the most pristine 5 – star reviews that the agent wants you to see. Track down some reviews on Google, Zillow, and Facebook to find out what people think of this agent.

How aggressive are you?

This comes down to your level of comfort. Some buyers want an extremely aggressive agent that is a bulldog in the marketplace getting their buyers anything and everything they want. If this agent doesn’t meet your standards, it’s time to move on. However, if they’re so win-win that you feel the agent isn’t working for you but for the deal to just go through, that might not be a great fit either. It all comes down to what you feel comfortable with and the type of agent you want working for you. Remember, this agent is representing you in this transaction.

Amar Realtor in Cupertino advises, “Do you feel that they will go the extra mile without being rude? Do they have a history of problem-solving? You have to determine if this agent is aggressive enough for you and the type of deal you want to do. This is in a straight-up answer; everybody is different, so you have to feel comfortable with how your agent is going to attack the deal.”

Bottom line:

Go with your gut. You can ask all the questions in the world but if your gut tells you this person is just not the right fit, it’s okay to move on. How do you do that? You simply tell them that you appreciate their services but that you’ve decided to go with a different agent. Now, it’s best to figure this out before that agent puts in hours of work that they won’t get paid for. Agents know that they will be interviewed, and they also know that you might not be the right fit for them either. Be honest, upfront, try not to waste people’s time, and feel good about your decision.

Side note: If you’ve already signed contracts and you still don’t like your agent, there are things you can do but it can get a little money. Talk to your agent about any issues you might be having and see if they can be resolved before terminating the relationship. To change agents. So, make sure you feel comfortable from the beginning and don’t feel bad about hurting people’s feelings. This is hundreds of thousands of dollars of your money. You want someone you feel comfortable with and trust handling this major life event.

About the author: This article “Choosing A Real Estate Agent When Buying A Home In One State and Selling in Another” was written by Tammy Emineth who has been blogging and performing SEO on real estate and mortgage websites since 2006. With a background in real estate, Tammy offers expert information in an optimized format for her clients and connections.

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Filed under: Real Estate

Luke Skar

Luke Skar is the web developer and content strategist for Currently working for NRL Mortgage which serves 47 states including Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Florida. Guided by his 20-plus years of various mortgage marketing experience, Luke provides top-quality SEO services, effective social media management, and web development and maintenance. Luke’s career in the mortgage industry began back in 2001, as a loan processor. After becoming a loan officer for a number of years, Luke now runs To ensure that all the information he posts is fresh, accurate, and up-to-date, Luke relies on the knowledge which his years of dedication to keeping up with the constant change that the mortgage industry provides.


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