It goes without saying that when it comes to selling your home, the magic happens when the right people are involved. This includes, of course, knowledgeable sellers, eager and open buyers, and the perfect realtor for the job. In searching for your real estate agent, a list of desirable qualities might include: a passion for people, a keen aptness for identifying a client's top desires, and a knack for creating clarity in the midst of important decision-making.
However, in a sea of appealing internet bios and a myriad of seemingly capable brokers, the overwhelm can be paralyzing. How can you be certain you’ve found the most compatible match for you and your home?
The answer… lies in the questions you ask.
When searching for the perfect broker-client match, it is important to remember that we don’t know what we don’t know! Conversations with potential brokers should feel similar to an informal interview, where you are uncovering important information about a realtor’s approach, structure, sales history, and personality type. Beyond the more typical inquiries about an agent’s fees, these questions are key:
- What is your communication style and how often will you connect with me?
Ensure your realtor values timeliness and transparency. He or she should be readily available for questions, and easily accessible to you as the sales process progresses.
- Tell me about your marketing strategies.
As a seller, you will want to know how your home will be photographed, where it will be listed – both online and in print – and the typical frequency of open houses. Advertising your house should feel like a first priority; you should feel both connected to and comfortable with your agent’s approach to marketing.
- How well do you know my city/neighborhood?
Even the most talented of agents could find an unfamiliar neighborhood a hindrance to the selling process. When it comes to experience, practice makes perfect – and that includes a sharp understanding of the area surrounding your home. Sales history and current sales trends are a must!
- What is your team structure, and will you be personally showing my home?
Not every brokerage or agent curates their service for clients. Some teams utilize assistants for day-to-day tasks -- and in many cases this includes showing your home to sell. If you desire a more personal home-selling experience where your agent has subjective knowledge about the intricacies of your home, you will want to clarify that in your initial search.
- What separates you from your competition?
You want to feel like the agent who represents you and your home has an edge above the rest. Does the agency have a unique marketing methodology? Do they have particular connections to your city? How about incredible communication and negotiation skills? Once you can pinpoint what sets him or her apart, you can make a more informed step toward your successful sale.
- How will you help me find other vendors and professionals?
Here, your agent’s knowledge base is your advantage. The more connected they are, the more likely that they can help with all aspects of the sale. Bonus points if your prospective realtor can hand you a list of preferred mortgage lenders, title companies, and home inspectors!
- Who is the buyer for a house like mine?
Ask your potential agent to give you a description of an ideal match for your home. What do they see as the home’s biggest barriers or greatest selling points? This gives you direct insight into his or her experience with sellers like you, who live in homes like yours. It also gives you a sneak peek into the types of buyers that he or she has worked with in the past.
- Can you share references with me?
Do the due diligence of connecting with others who have personal experience with the agent. Those references will be the truest insight and predictor of how you’ll feel after your home is sold.
Selling a home can feel like a marathon, but the advantage of a head start stems from knowing who to hire. Once you decipher which characteristics, qualifications, and attributes you value most, a partnership feels easier to find.
Research, Reviews, References, Oh, My!
After all the right questions have been asked and answered, the last thing to consult is your own intuition. In the end, the right realtor will embody and encourage a transparent, inspiring, and fun home-hunting experience — where a search for the perfect fit leaves no stone unturned.
Ready to start your search? Contact us here!
Catch us back here bi-weekly as we bring you curated and Chicago-based real estate content (with a life coach’s twist). Next up: How late is too late to prepare your home for a spring listing? We answer that - and more - in Spring Listing? Get Your Autumnal Head Start!
A KlopasStratton blog by: Bridget Chambers, Life Coach, Writer