Are You Ready to be Interviewed by a Savvy Buyer?

Marianne Cusato—author, designer, and creator of the critically-acclaimed “Katrina Cottages”—is out with a new book aimed at house hunters. On first glance, Just the Right Home: Buying, Renting, Moving—Or Just Dreaming—Find Your Perfect Match!, to be published April 2013, is aimed directly at your clients. However, there are some things real estate professionals might find useful, especially in the getting-to-know-you part of an agent-client relationship.

Throughout, Cusato engages in a frank discussion with her readers about what they really want in a house and why. You may be thinking, “Easy for her to do; she’s not talking to real people looking for real houses in a real market.” On the other hand, you may wish to adapt some of her probing questions and prioritizing checklists into your routine with buyers. And this book may be especially helpful for newer real estate professionals, to help them get inside the mind of the house hunter.

Credit: Pulpolux !!!

Perhaps the most enlightening part of the book is where Cusato talks about working with a real estate professional. She coaches buyers on how to be savvy in their choice of real estate professionals. She also notes how REALTORS® are different, mentioning the code of ethics and noting that they’re likely to be well connected, have a deep local knowledge, and be up on the latest industry news. But she also prepares readers with a dose of skepticism and a list of questions to ask agents who are looking to secure their business. Can you answer these questions?

  • How do you get paid?
  • How can we get ahold of you?
  • We’re excited by the personalized treatment you offer at your boutique agency, but do you know about all the listings that the big guys do? Do you provide the same services they’re offering?
  • (Or…) Since you’re with a national brokerage franchise, do you really have the local knowledge required to find us the right house in the right neighborhood? Can you deliver the personalized treatment we need?
  • Would you ever represent us in dual agency?
  • How long have you been in real estate? Do you have another job?
  • What qualifies you to find us our new home?
  • How much business do you do, and what kind of property/price range do you most often deal with?

Finally, I would love to get your thoughts on whether real estate professionals should read housing books that are targeted toward consumers. Is it a waste of time, or does it help you connect with your audience? Let me know in the comment section below.

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

  1. Greg Bartell

    I think that Realtors should absolutely read books targeted for consumers, because that is what our clients are reading too. Plus, there is usually a slant in there that we may not have though of.
    Previously I have included relevant books in my buyer packets, perhaps its time to do this again. I look forward to reading this one.

  2. I believe that an informed person makes better decisions and knowing your clients (potential and actual) is critical to success. With the advent of the internet, MLS postings and access to information consumers are extremely aware and, at the prices of homes today they expect, and deserve, more than just opening doors and pointing out the obvious (“This is the kitchen. Here’s the living room”)

    Thanks for making me aware of this book, I am looking forward t reading it so I can increase the value I bring to all my real estate interactions.

  3. I do think Realtors should read books like this. There’s no doubt a solid amount of research done and that can only benefit us and in turn our own clients. So much so, I see a book like this as a decent hand out to any serious buyer lead – it would surely provide reasurance to the potential buyer that they are hiring a pro that’s not affraid to answer the tough questions. Yep. I could see myself passing this out to serious buyer leads, as long as it’s a good read and not to expensive… 🙂

  4. Absolutely we should be reading what both buyers and sellers are reading. It helps keep us informed of not only what they might know but also what they are thinking and why.

  5. Absolutely we should read what buyers and sellers are reading. It keeps us informed of not only what they may know but what they are thinking and why.

  6. On several meetings I have been asked for my ratio of selling price to original and last list price in comparison to the local market, and also Days On Market performance for my listings measured against local averages.

  7. Victoria

    I read articles aimed at buyers and sellers so I know what they are being told. Sometimes I think techie and other types of writers just make hings up so they can justify their paychecks, and I don’t like to be blindsided with weird stuff. This just makes me look ill informed and unprofessional.

  8. Jody Matthews

    I would be interested in reading it and I am a real estate agent. I have only been an agent for about 2 years. It would be nice to know what the consumer is thinking!

  9. As a full time Realtor going on 10 years in the business – I really enjoyed reading your questions and happy I could answer those on the fly without an prep. I look forward to reading you book. Anything I can do to be a better Realtor is worth the time. Thank you!

  10. Meg,
    First of all thank you for reviewing this book; sounds great!
    And yes! By all means . . . Realtors SHOULD read books and articles that are geared towards the consumer! Some of the questions Ms. Cusata asked I would have never thought of. They are good questions that people should know; and as their Realtor, I better know what they are thinking. It can be things that I now address.

  11. Lee

    Hi Meg,

    This will be a book on the top of my reading list. We in Real Estate show read books of all types so we are aware of what is out there and no one can say they know all there is to know about anything. We are always in a learning curve and we should acknowledge that we are and be open to new and different ideas from sources of all types. I remember a trainer I once had told me one of the best things I could learn is to be a “Green Pea” and never forget it; being a Green Pea is someone new to a field and should be open to ideas from all sources. I am an eternal Green Pea!

    Great article!

  12. Meg If you want to truly call your self a professional- you need to be constantly reading up on your industry.And you certainly need to listen to what the consumer is hearing , weather you agree with it or not.Would you go to a doctor that is proud of not reading any medical journals, since he or she finished med school?

  13. I am eager to read this one. I try very hard to keep a balanced portfolio of listing sales to buyer sales each year because I think it is so important to both sides of the transaction to know what the other is thinking and looking for. In the nearly 13 years of my experience, I find that changes.
    We most DEFINITELY need to read anything pitched to our buyer and seller clients because there are great ideas to be shared AND there is some mis-information we need to be equally prepared to professionally clarify.
    Thanks for this review. You just put the author on track for a best seller! I’m ordering my pre-release copy today, if possible. 🙂

  14. As an international broker/realtor, am so eager to learn how to increase the sales of my company and to leave a legacy of good service to both sellers and buyers.