6 Questions to ask BEFORE hiring a Realtor

When you are ready to sell or purchase property, you’ll want a Realtor to help with the process.  But how do you know which Realtor will be best to work with?  To help you select the best Realtor for your needs, here’s a few questions to ask:

 

  1. What top 3 things separate you from your competition?  Most Realtors are pretty good at selling themselves on how many transactions they’ve completed and how much volume they’ve sold, but what truly separates them from their competition?  Ask what they do to help you buy or sell vs what other agents in the market do.  If you’re selling, you want someone who has a unique and solid market strategy.  If you are buying, you want someone who listens well and can help guide you through from start to finish.
  2. Can you provide me with references from previous clients?  A Realtor should be more than willing to provide you with solid references.  Take some time to give the clients a call and find out how their experience went.  A great Realtor will have no trouble getting this information for you.
  3. How often will I hear from you? How do you like to communicate?  One of the biggest complaints that clients have about working with a Realtor is the lack of communication. To avoid disappointment or frustration, ask your Realtor these questions so you have a better understanding of when and how you will hear from them.  Also let them know the best way to contact you.  With all of the technology available to us today, there are many ways to reach out.  What works best for you?  Text? Email? Or, a good old fashioned phone call.  Set those expectations upfront. 
  4. Who is on your team?  Will I be hearing from people other than you?  Not all Realtor’s have a team, but some do have office help.  It is nice to know if you will be hearing from other people in addition to your Realtor.  At Edge of the Wilderness Realty, we have an AWESOME Office Manager that will reach out to clients to assist with gathering paperwork, setting up showings, and such.  We have a very TEAM focused office so if your Realtor has an emergency or has to go out of town for a few days, rest assured that we have back-up.  It is nice to know that your sale or purchase is handled by a team of folks.  
  5. How long have you been in business?  What’s been your most satisfying sale?  Experience is important but so is success.  A newer Realtor can be a great asset to your real estate transactions because of the energy and enthusiasm.  If you “click” with a new agent, ask about their support network?  Do they have a broker that is available for questions and able to assist if needed?  I’ve been very fortunate during my first year at Edge of the Wilderness Realty to have not one, but three brokers that are available.  Not to mention, a wonderful team of Realtors that brainstorms together, assist each other, and celebrate each other’s success.  Don’t discount the newer agent; they can bring a lot to the table for you.
  6. How can we best work together? Let’s face it, Real Estate transactions are a Team Effort.  A Realtor should be willing to express that by not only telling you what they are going to do for you, but also how you can help.  For sellers it might be better staging your home or improving curb appeal.  For a buyer it will be mean working your lender so you are pre-approved for a mortgage and putting together your list of “must-have’s” in your new home.  

 

About all, when you are choosing a Realtor, you should feel comfortable with them.  You’ll be spending time with this person so that connection is important.  

 

 

Adventures in Real Estate: Flat Tire Help

     Living way up North where we do, we have to learn to be a little more self sufficient when it comes to some things that we take for granted.  Ladies, this is especially true for us.  Being in a more remote area certainly has its benefits; peace, quiet, no traffic, and many miles of backroads.  If you’re not prepared thought, you can find yourself quite literally in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire, no cell coverage to call for help, and it could be hours before someone drives by.  Ask me how I know this!!!  I wish I had walked through these simple steps before I found myself 7 miles down a forest road with a nice flat tire and absolutely no kind folks passing by.  

 

Now, talking about making major repairs by yourself, but knowing ahead of time how to change a tire safely gives you a huge advantage.  Follow these few tips BEFORE you actually need them:

 

  1. Study your car’s owner manual:  If you never cracked open the owners manual, when you’re in the middle of a situation like a flat tire, is not the time.  So, go ahead and open your glove box and pull that book out.  Find the section on changing your tire.  Read it through first.  Then, go back and read it again.
  2. Locate the Necessary Tools:  Refer to your owners manual and find where they have hidden the jack, spare tire, and other tools you’ll need to change your tire.  Again, its better to check out off of this BEFORE you need it.  I found out when I was almost 7 miles down a forest road that in order to put part of my jack together I need a screwdriver.  Did the manufacturer include one of those in my kit?  Absolutely not.....and believe me, its hard to dig through your purse to find something that may or may not be a decent substitution for a real screwdriver.  
  3. Practice setting up your Jack:  Figure out NOW, in your driveway or garage, where you should place the Jack.  Don’t forget to set the parking brake on your vehicle. (This is a great safety tip!). I don’t know about you, but the pictures in my owner’s manual just don’t work for me.  I get my husband, son, friend, to show me exactly where that darn jack needs to be placed.  While you’re at it, make sure you know how to operate the jack.  My Toyota has some weird jack; well, at least to me it was.  Once I saw how it was supposed to operate, I thought “well, I can do that”
  4. Practice removing your spare:  Do you know where your spare tire is?  Do you know how to remove it?  Some spares are easily accessible inside the trunk of your care.  Others, like mine, require using a tool to lower the tire from underneath the vehicle and unhooking it.  Know where it is and how to get to it.
  5. Practice Removing and Replacing a Tire:  Once you know how where all of the tools are, how to operate and place your jack, and how to access your spare, try changing a tire.  Do this at home where you have “back-up” in case you run into an issue.  You might be thinking “oh this will be easy” or “I know how to do that”.  But wouldn’t you rather figure it all out in a new environment and not in an emergency situation?  

 

 

How I Market Your Property

If you’re ready to list your home, vacation property, or land for sale, it’s important to find a Realtor that has a solid marketing plan in place.  If your Realtor’s plan is to stick a sign in the yard and list your property on the MLS; then sit back and wait for potential buyers, that’s NOT a marketing plan.  There’s so much more involved in marketing!  

 

When I list a property, I follow several steps to ensure that I design a marketing plan that is unique to your property.  Yes, there is a sign involved (usually more than one sign) and yes, I do list your property on the MLS (both local MLS and statewide MLS), but there’s more:

 

  • Social Media:  I heavily employ Social Media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.  Let’s face it, people are all over Social Media these days and its a great way to have your property shared throughout a network.  
  • Aerial Drone Photos/Videos:  At Edge of the Wilderness Realty, we have a licensed Drone Pilot on staff.  For lake home/cabins and raw land, having Drone photos can really show off the location of your property, the lake view, and make your property stand out from the crowd.  
  • Professional Photographs:  We also have a professional photographer on staff at Edge of the Wilderness.  You’ve seen some listings on the internet where its hard to tell if they home is nice or not because the photos are so bad.  That doesn’t happen here!  I invest in your home, cabin, or land.
  • Employ SEO techniques:  SEO is short for search engine optimization.  I know, its one of those things that a 13 year old knows all about but those of us not of the computer age are pretty clueless.  Basically, I research terms that come up when people search the internet.  Then I incorporate those terms into the description of your property.  So when someone is searching for “lake property in Itasca County”, your property comes up in their search.  
  • Networking:  The first thing I do when I have a new listing is share with all of the agents at Edge of the Wilderness Realty.  Each agent has their own clients and quite often, one of us is already working with someone that would love your property.  
  • Groups/Organizations:  Being active in the community means getting to know a lot of folks.  I sit on the board of the County Extension office and the 318 Endowment Foundation.  While community service is important to me personally, it also allows me to share what is going on in Real Estate.  
  • Unique Advertising:  Gone are the days where we simply list property in the Sunday newspaper.  Research has shown that less than 1% of home buyers find their property in the newspaper.  Rather than wasting money on the Sunday paper, I use other print media like Minnesota Outdoors or The Woods Reader.  These magazines focus on those people who LOVE Northern Minnesota.  
  • Website Advertising:  Your listing will show up on over 80 websites!  The most popular sites include Zillow, Trulia, & realtor.com   We also have agreements with other Real Estate Companies so it would not be unusual for a buyer’s agent at Century 21 or ReMax to find your property during their search.  This is all good news!  More exposure!

 

Each property that I list is unique, so I create a unique marketing plan just for your property.  Give Edge of the Wilderness Realty a chance to show you the difference.  Love Where You Live!