Are you ready to sell your home or look for your dream home but not sure where to turn for a qualified real estate professional? We have some suggestions for finding the right real estate agent or broker to represent you on your home selling or buying journey. A little up-front research can make a world of difference in your overall experience and can also have a big impact on your wallet, ultimately saving or costing you thousands of dollars!
Understanding Terminology – Agents, Brokers or REALTORS®
You may have heard different terms for people in the business of buying and selling homes. A real estate agent has earned a license to sell property and has completed a set number of hours of training and passed a state exam. A broker has continued studies beyond the agent level and has passed the state broker exam. She can sell real estate without affiliating with a company and can hire other agents to work under her. A REALTOR is a broker or agent who has a paid membership with the National Association of REALTORS and must adhere to the Association’s strict code of ethics. All Illinois licensed REALTORS are brokers.
Finding Real Estate Professionals
Referrals are a great way to find real estate professionals to consider. Check with your builder, mortgage loan officer, friends, business associates, community members and neighbors who have recently bought or sold a home. If you don’t have a referral resource to tap, a couple of good resources are the local association of REALTORS® or the Chamber of Commerce. Ask them for a list of agents who are selling property in your particular neighborhood or area of interest.
For the referrals you receive, examine the listings the agents currently have. How do they approach the listing to make it enticing? How long has their listing been on the market? Do they use professional photography or staging? In addition, check their credentials – do they have any certifications, awards or accolades that make them stand out?
Interviewing Prospective Real Estate Professionals
It’s a good idea to personally interview at least three prospects before selecting a real estate professional to represent you. Have a prepared list of questions to get more information about experience, specialties, availability, schedule constraints and communication style. Here are a few to start.
- How long have you been in real estate?
- Do you specialize in working with buyers, sellers, or both?
- On average, how many clients do you have at any given time?
- How long have you sold homes in the area?
- Do you have a team or do you work alone?
- What is your marketing plan to sell our home? What makes it unique?
- Do you have a vendor list for lenders, title companies, contractors and inspectors?
- What type of communication should we expect? And how often?
- Can I have contact information for three recent clients?
Following-Up and Making a Selection
Eliminate any agents based on your interview experiences. Follow-up with recent clients and ask open-ended candid questions. Bottom line – select a qualified real estate professional you feel you can trust with a communication style you prefer. Make sure you feel comfortable this person can best understand and represent your interests and complete your real estate transaction fairly.
We wish you the best on your home buying or selling journey!
If you’re considering purchasing or building a new home, we would love the opportunity to discuss options available in our new construction homes! Please give us a call at 331.229.1140 or complete our online contact form. You can also join our e-list to get the latest information about our community and new home designs.