Your home will likely be the most significant investment you make in your lifetime. Of course, buyers and sellers alike want to ensure they get the most return and find the best investments for themselves, their families, and their futures.
Hiring an experienced realtor is one of the most important aspects of making your home search a rousing success. More than 80% of homes are sold through some type of realty agent in the U.S., and for a good reason. Teaming up with the right agent can make all the difference between finding your dream home or walking into a homebuyer's worst nightmare. Read on for a list of the top questions you should ask a potential River North realtor to ensure you’re working with a pro who really knows their stuff.
What is your experience?
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Experience is the number one qualifier for a realty agent. After all, it is what makes them an expert in your local market. If you are interviewing realtors to work with, you should ask them about homes they have sold in your area, what the current market conditions are like, and what you should expect from the buying process. You are paying for their experience, and a seasoned realtor can help match you with the right home faster and save you tons of time and effort, especially when it comes to finding homes for sale in River North.
What are your references or reviews?
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Referrals from past clients can help you understand the buyer or seller experience more thoroughly from a firsthand source of information. Knowing what to expect is an integral part of any real estate journey. References and online reviews can help you screen an agent and see if there is any potential for a match before you get too invested. Be forewarned, however. Some clients may comment on issues common to all realtors and the real estate process in general. Be sure to check multiple references and reviews to get a good picture of your agent’s overall client satisfaction and ratings, rather than relying on just a few voices.
Do you work full-time or part-time?
Understanding your agent's availability helps to set expectations. Do they work full-time or part-time? Full-time agents tend to have more experience and up-to-date market knowledge. Full-time agents are likely to have more flexibility in their schedules and are used to making clients a priority as well. Don’t be shy about asking about your agent's availability so that you will know what to expect later down the road.
Do you work with both buyers and sellers?
Some agents may specialize in buying, selling, or both. While working with a specialist has its perks, sometimes it can be beneficial to have an agent who understands both sides of the market. An agent who only sells homes will have a better understanding of available homes in your area, whereas an agent who has vast experience representing sellers will likely be more familiar with seller concerns and marketing techniques.
What is the difference between agents, realtors, and brokers?
These titles and roles are often mistaken for one another. Your agent may have different certifications or affiliations. In short, a real estate agent is a professional holding a license to practice real estate in your state, while a realtor is an active member of the National Association of Realtors. Brokers have received additional experience, training, and education to pass a broker’s license exam. Thus, they will have more extensive real estate knowledge and may work independently or employ other agents under a brokerage.
No matter which type of professional they choose to work with, buyers should ensure they have a licensed and accredited agent on their side.
What is your client's average closing time?
Working with an agent who has a track record of selling homes fast can be very helpful. After all, your goal as a homeowner is to market your property effectively and receive the highest offers possible in the shortest amount of time. Your agent can inform you of recent home sales in the area and how the market is trending. They will have an innovative marketing approach in place to get your home seen and sold.
Have you sold any homes in my area?
Your agent should be knowledgeable about homes in your area. What types of homes are for sale in River North? Are they all apartments and condos, or are there more spacious homes available? Many agents specialize in specific areas, neighborhoods, or regions. They can serve as an expert resource when it comes to finding the right home and setting the correct expectations about your particular market.
Do you have any professional contacts?
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Buying a new home is a true journey, and there are many steps along the way that require intervention and input from multiple professionals. Having the right connections can be a huge help. Realty agents can be an excellent source for contacting other trusted professionals, such as inspectors, appraisers, contractors, movers, landscapers, and more. Your agent will likely have made these connections from years of working in the industry and your local area. Make sure to take advantage of this resource to save time researching and finding these contacts on your own.
Do I really need a realtor?
Working with a realtor will ensure that your home-buying or selling journey is more streamlined and stress-free. After all, the real estate process can take up quite a bit of time, the market can be challenging to interpret, and the complexity of state and local regulations can be downright confusing. Thankfully, this isn’t a process you have to undertake by yourself. A good realty agent can serve as a partner in your real estate journey and will consult with you to understand your needs and answer any questions you may have.
Finding the right agent
If you are interested in learning more about River North real estate
opportunities, reach out to expert local agent Julie Latsko
. Julie has received numerous industry accolades and has been consistently recognized as a top-performing agent with extensive experience selling River North homes in the greater Chicago area. Get started today!*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock