How many clients are you currently representing?

When In Doubt, Ask!

The agent's current client numbers aren't always 100 percent indicative of how good an agent she is. Lots of other factors can come into play, too, including a personal choice to take on fewer clients. So if you have doubts it never hurts to raise your concerns with the agent directly.

This is a tricky question, so you'll have to know ahead of time what you consider to be an appropriate figure. While there's no magic number for how many clients an agent can effectively handle, a number that's staggeringly high, like 40 listings or 15 buyer clients, could indicate that her time will be divided and you won't get much one-on-one attention. Working with an agent who's difficult to reach or who's constantly with other clients could lead to a frustrating experience for you, or even a negative impact on the sale of your home. An agent whose attention is too thinly spread might not take the time to ensure all of your needs are met and could even rush the process by listing your home at too low a price.

On the other hand, too few clients could signal an agent who doesn't have much experience or who hasn't been well recommended by previous buyers and sellers. Or, this could be a side gig for her which may or may not command much of her attention. Since word of mouth is key in the real estate business, the best agents are likely to have a full workload.

You'll need to weigh the pros and cons to find out if a busy agent can meet your needs, or whether you're willing to compromise experience for more personalized attention.

You can't sell a house until buyers know it's there. On the next page, we'll learn how to ask about what the agent will do to get the word out.