How to Choose a Realtor

To continue on with the home selling series, I thought it would be beneficial to share our realtor experience. I am a realtor myself (contact me here if you have questions!), but we chose for me not to list our own house. At the time I was 8 months pregnant with two toddlers at home, and I was too emotionally invested.

We ended up firing our first realtor. This was our first home, so obviously the first time we’ve sold a home. When choosing a realtor, I thought it would be smart to just hire the most successful realtor in my office.

I was very wrong.

By choosing the most successful realtor, we also chose the busiest realtor. We did not receive the attention that was needed to sell our home. Promises were not kept, or kept in a timely fashion. Photographs and descriptions were not good. She was way overextended, and we realized that very quickly after listing our home. We figured out that basically the only reason she was as successful as she was, was because she had been doing it for so long and not because she was good. Lesson learned! That sounds really harsh, but when you are dealing with selling a large investment such as your home, professionalism and quality of work is key.

We hired another realtor friend after a few months and it made a WORLD of difference. She hired a professional photographer which made our home look a MILLION times better. The description and marketing of the home was on point. And her attention to our home and our needs was much better.  Because of the improved marketing, showings multiplied exponentially. While the increased amount of showings and open houses was tough on me because I had to keep the house clean and prepped and leave, I was more than willing. More showings=more opportunities for a sale!

I am not saying that by choosing a successful realtor you won’t be pleased, I am just saying you should focus on the motivation of your realtor. The second realtor we chose had only been in the industry for three years, so while she didn’t have as much knowledge as the first realtor, she made up for it in raw determination. Ask around for recommendations to see who had good experiences with their agent. You can learn more from someone else’s experience than an interview with an agent.

You also want to choose a realtor that you feel comfortable with. In this day and age, communication is key. I loved that I could text my realtor and have a quick response. I felt like a valued client, but also that she cared about me personally. I recommend before you hire someone, test out your communication with them. Call/text them at random times. Make sure you vibe well with them before you hire them so you know you are a good fit.

Lastly, be clear about your expectations. What is important to you? Sell price? Timeframe? Visibility? Do you not want a lot of people through your home? Let your realtor know. If their marketing plan isn’t what you were expecting, then maybe you should interview someone else. It is better to take your time hiring someone then to hire and then regret it. Learn from my mistake!

If you have any other realtor or home-related questions, please let me know!

Check out my other posts in my home selling series:

Selling Your Home When You Have Young Children

Prepping for a Showing When You Have Young Children

What to do with Young Children During Showings

 

Selling Your Home When You Have Young Children

Now that our home is under contract (see the post here!), I figured I would share some things that made prepping and selling our home sale a little easier. We have three kids under four and no family near us, so we didn’t have any help when it came to prepping the home or having a place to go during showings. But some points may apply to you, even if you don’t have kids! Here’s what worked for us and helped it go a little easier:

Get Rid of the Clutter

The biggest piece of advice I could give would be to streamline. It is so easy to have the toys and clutter build up. When you are thinking of selling your home, make it easier on yourself and start paring down. We donated, purged, and put in storage anything that cluttered our home. The kids’ kitchenette went into storage. We traded our amazing king size bed for our guest room’s queen size to make our room appear bigger. 80% of the kids’ toys either went into storage or into bins in the basement. This made showing the home SO much easier! AND the kids didn’t even notice. I wasn’t running around like a crazy lady before showings cleaning up toys (have you seen this video? Definition of me. Hilarious.). I mean, I definitely was running around crazy. But toys weren’t the problem! We had a few small baskets of toys in the living room and the rest in the basement (now playroom).

Depersonalize

Most people have a hard time imagining themselves in a new home.  If you have pictures of you and your family all around, it makes it even harder. As sad as it made me to take down all our family photos and snapshots of our kids, it helped the buyer envision entertaining in the living room, not focus on the pictures of our family. We tried to keep our decorating and style very simple. Same as with the family pictures; you don’t want the potential buyer to focus on your decorating sense, you want them to focus on the potential of the room. So if you are a collector or have a very strong sense of decorating, put it in storage. Simplify. It is only for a short time!

Repair Any Issues

If you’ve been putting off repairing a small issue with your home, do yourself a favor and do it before you list. I am talking small things, like repairing a trim piece or ice maker, not a major renovation. Repair little things that may be a distraction for the buyer or make them question the condition of your home. Being a stay at home mom, I was able to schedule contractors to come do repairs during the week. But if you are a home where both of you work, keep in mind it may take longer to organize repairs around your work schedule.

Remove Anything You Aren’t Leaving

Are you obsessed with a certain light fixture? Are you really attached to the curtains you put in your baby’s room? Take them down before you list. Anything that is affixed to the wall is generally included with the sale of your home. To make things easier, take it down before you have pictures taken of your home. They can’t ask for something they haven’t seen! You can replace them with inexpensive versions that will still be appealing. You can specify you aren’t leaving certain items (washer/dryer, kitchen appliances, etc.), but in general replacing them before you list your home makes the process a whole lot easier.

Plan Way Ahead

Every real estate market is different. Your home may be on the market for two days, or nearly a year. It really depends on so many different factors. I would recommend giving yourself an extended timeframe. If you would like to sell your home by a certain date, put your home on the market a couple months earlier than you think necessary. During negotiations you may be able to push your closing date further out if you need more time. It is better to have more time on your hands than to be scrambling and stressed if your home isn’t selling! Thankfully we were in no rush to sell our home and planned to move in with my parents for a bit after we sold. But I know not everyone has that same situation!

Are you planning on moving this year? Or have you purchased recdently? Share your experience below and what you did to prep your home!

Did you miss the first post? Click here to see our moving announcement!