Getting ready to sell your home? Build Your Team Part 2- Find a great Realtor

Anchorage home staging with Northern Lights Home Staging and Design
Anchorage vacant home staging---Fairweather Drive- After
Previously, I wrote about getting ready for the spring market and gathering the key members of your team to help you prepare for a successful home sale. That team includes a professional home stager, a great realtor with your best interests as their number one priority and real estate photographer!

We talked about how to find a great home stager.  See my blog article if you missed it!

Now let’s talk about finding the next key member of your home selling team, your Realtor!

Here are some tips from home stagers,  realtors and home sellers on things to look for and things to watch out for!

Mary Ann Benoit- President of Northern Lights Home Staging and Design

Mary Ann Benoit

President of Northern Lights Home Staging and Design

Tips for Selecting a Great Realtor from a Home Stager- Mary Ann Benoit

As a home stager, I have worked with numerous realtors to help clients sell their homes. Sometimes the realtor hires me, sometimes the home seller does. In seeing the process from the perspective of a “team member”, I have gathered my own insights on what qualities are important to look for in a good realtor.

1. They  believe in the power of quality home staging to get you the best price and fastest sale on your home. I think a great realtor will recommend a staging consultation and potentially even pay for one for you.  They are not willing to cut corners by offering to stage it for you (unless they are a trained stager) or if they are paying for the staging, by selecting the cheapest stager or asking for  “light staging”.  While these tactics may save the realtor money, they are not in the best interest of you,  the home seller. There is an art and a science to staging. If it is not done right, it will not have the desired effect to make an emotional connection with the buyer so they fall in love with the home and pay your asking price!
2. They put your interests first above making a fast commission!
3. They are good communicators and collaborators which is key to being a good team member!
4. They recommend having professional photos taken of your property.

Tips for Selecting a Great Realtor from Three Realtors

Lora Nordstrom- Tips to find a great realtor
Lora Nordstrom
1. What are tips to help a home seller find the best realtor for their team ( stager, realtor and photograher). 

A good Realtor is one who can see the vision of how to best market and sell your home…all with a positive “can do” attitude that brings team members together. One who takes the time to fully listen to your needs and concerns, comes up with solutions to any problems and keeps you informed at all times.

Knowing the market is key to fully understanding how to position your property effectively. Price, position and presentation is the trifecta to a successful sale!

Having a Realtor who understands the value of home staging, professional photography, contractor repairs/updates, pricing and advertising/marketing is crucial to being able to sell well, and to have a positive experience in the process.

Talk with your friends, neighbors, co-workers, family and find out who they’ve worked with and what their experience was like. Check with local Real Estate Photographers and Home Stagers and ask them who they’ve worked with and can recommend.

2. What qualities are most important to look for?

Sellers should look for a proven expert in their field who not only knows the home selling process as a licensed Real Estate Professional, but also one who is a “Marketing Expert.”

Anyone can take the class, pass the test and get their real estate license…just because you have a gym membership, doesn’t automatically make you an athlete.

And marketing is much more than plugging in property details in the MLS and pushing a button. It’s about having a leader who knows the process to get your home marketable and “show ready”, then have the knowledge to also manage the sale by keeping you protected and getting you safely and smoothly to closing. This takes time…so, you want to make sure your Realtor has time for you and doesn’t pass you off to someone else on their team or to an assistant.

Your Realtor needs go be a very good listener and have the ability to adapt to your specific needs and ways of communication. Selling a home and moving can be very stressful and you need to have someone on your side that you can talk to, trust, lean on and ultimately like!

They need to follow through with their promises and clearly communicate the process so you are well-informed and prepared for a successful sales process. You are a team with the same goal in mind and you need to have someone who you know has got your back and is there with you every step of the way.

Kris Bohman- Tips to find a great realtor
Kris Bohman
Kris Bohman
Value Driven Realty / C:907-250-6238/ / Real Estate Brokers Of Alaska
Author Of “The Value Driven Approach To Sell Real Estate”
Host of Anchorage Advice Givers podcast.
Co-founder of Anchorage Entreprenuers Networking Group
Kris Bohman is the author of ‘The Value-Driven Approach to Sell Real Estate, a free book in which he outlines how home sellers can protect themselves from real estate greed and profit an extra $30,000 on their home sale.  He is a licensed agent with Real Estate Brokers of Alaska and a local entrepreneur.

“Real estate agents, politicians, lawyers, insurance agents – are among the least respected professions on earth” For and insider’s look at why that is true, check out his article, Mastering Your Craft.

“But the reason why certain people in certain industries are not respected is because they have wrongly tried to master a craft that does not serve their audience. Take my industry, real estate, for example, since I see it daily and have an intimate understanding of what takes place. Real estate agents work their tail off to master the craft of self-promotion. They practice and practice and practice scripts and dialogues, to use when cold-calling homeowners. They spend thousands of dollars on websites to market themselves, etc., all self-interest orientated, but when it comes to their customers – where the majority of their time should be spent – why have they not worked equally as hard to master the craft of achieving a superior result?

Kris advises home sellers watch out for Realtors that use some of the typical approaches that have given the industry a bad name. To find out what to watch out for, read his article on “The SuperVillians of Real Estate”.

In his book, he outlines some fundamental mistakes not to make when selling your home and looking for a good Realtor including:

  • Not taking the time to learn how to protect yourself from the biggest threat to your home sale profit and the greatest source of unnecessary risk: Real Estate Greed and Unethical Agents.
  • Don’t fall for gimmicks or bait and switch advertising.
  • Don’t assume an agent is good just because they do  a lot of full color advertising or sells a lot of homes
  • Don’t make pricing decisions based on a “free home evaluation”
  • If it sounds like “hot air”, it probably is
  • Not taking the time to diagnose the proper route of attack

“Here is what I have come to learn: Those who are respected, regardless of industry or person,…, are those who have focused on mastering the craft that will yield their audience a superior result first, not on their own self-interest. Then utilize that mastered craft… to serve only those who can most benefit.”

“To achieve something special for my clients, I want to work with clients who are as committed to the success of their home sale as I am.”

Kris has each client read his short free book and together they work to follow the process outlined to get the most profitable results of their home sale.
Some of the key points outlined in his book on things a great Realtor should be doing for you include:

  • Get an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis to determine the best prescription to maximize the return on your investment.
  • From the diagnosis, make an informed, educated decision about how to prepare your home for sale, not based on hype but on research and common sense.
  • Kris’s approach recommends home staging, super-cleaning, professional photographs, great social media advertising, eliminating negotiations and low ball offers with a pre-listing inspection, and increasing your negotiating power with a home warranty.

Robin Smith- Tips to Find a Great Realtor
Robin Smith
Robin Smith, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Dynamic Properties
3550 Midtown Place, Suite 100
Anchorage, AK 99503
cell: (907) 903-8808
Top Ten Tips for Choosing a Realtor  
  1. While years of experience often equate to increased skills, it is certainly no guarantee that a long-time agent is skilled or, unfortunately, adheres to a Code of Ethics.
    1. An agent with less than five years’ experience can be very skilled if they have had past work experiences that required the same kind of skills as selling real estate.
    2. Less experience often equates to a smaller client base, so the agent will have more time to devote more attention to you, the buyer or seller.
  1. A great Realtor®, regardless of how long in the business, is one that conducts his/her business with the aim of connecting with clients and developing a relationship with them – it’s not just about the immediate transaction.  Important qualities are:
    1. honesty
    2. integrity
    3. concentrates on the client’s needs (above and beyond the minimum)
    4. communicates regularly with the client
  1. Ask the agent what their marketing plan/strategy is and what kind of activities or events can be expected (e.g. Agent and Public Open Houses, Staging Consultation, online & social media marketing).
  1. If you’re interviewing several agents, don’t be swayed by the one that says he can list your home for more than the other agents – this is known in the industry as “buying a listing.” You as seller will pay the price for this as the property will likely sit unsold on the market longer than necessary because it is overpriced.
  1. A good Realtor® will be knowledgeable about the current real estate market and the trends.
    1. Is it a Seller’s or Buyer’s market? Are prices increasing or decreasing?
    2. The agent should be up on community neighborhood areas and the types of homes and price ranges typical in those areas.
  1. If credentials are important to you as buyer or seller, look for designations that are earned through performance and productivity.
    1. CRS (Certified Residential Specialist).  It takes some time to acquire the CRS designation, so agents in the business for less than five years may not yet have accomplished the required components.
    2. GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute)
    3. ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative)
    4. SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist)
    5. There are many more designations out there, but these are the most sought after.
  1. If the agent calls herself a Realtor with a capital “R”, that means she’s a member of NAR (National Association of Realtors).
    1. By hiring a Realtor®, you get an agent who formally pledges to support the NAR’s stringent Code of Ethics – this is very important! Honesty and integrity in a Realtor’s character are the foundation for trust.
  1. Ask the agent to provide a list of properties they have sold for past clients and their contact information so you can verify client satisfaction for this agent.  If the agent won’t do that, then move on to one who will.
  1. Ask business associates, friends, co-workers, or family members (i.e. someone you trust) to refer a Realtor® or real estate licensee to you and ask the person referring what their experience was like working with that agent.
  1. Personality!  Skills are not the only attribute that’s important. As a buyer or seller, you will be working closely with an agent for several months so you want to choose someone that you like! Two–way communication between Realtor® and client is essential for managing expectations, outcomes, and the future of this relationship.
Tips for Selecting a Great Realtor from a Home Seller
Stacy Goade
Stacy Goade- Home Seller
Alaska Premier Home Staging
Sitka- AK
(907) 952-4331
Advice for Finding Your “Five-Star” Realtor

Be Picky

As a home stager whose goal it has been to coach and support my home sellers to a successfully staged home and home sale; I have also worked with their Realtors or real estate licensees in either a direct, or indirect, relationship. From the perspective of a successful home stager, I can say that there are a handful of those real estate professionals I would recommend to my ‘realtor-less’ clients. Why? Because I know a “client centered” business when I see one (I operate one of my own), and secondly – I have seen the residual and financial impacts on home sellers whose real estate representatives were more concerned about their own time and success, or too distracted with the number of residential properties that they were contracting to sell, than those of each home seller they committed to.

Have High Expectations
You will only get what you ask for, so set high expectations for your Five-Star Realtor. This type of Realtor is used to clients with high expectations. They won’t be afraid to commit. And home sellers with high expectations of their Realtor will need to expect the same of themselves. Use the Internet and do online research to learn what top notch Realtors are doing in today’s real estate market to so you are able to have meaningful discussions with your Realtor candidates. And though it may be helpful to seek out opinions of family and friends; you know your family and friends so take it with a little skepticism and a grain of salt.

Expect to Get What You Pay For
If you want a top caliber Realtor to help you sell your property but only want to pay 3% commission, you will not attract your Five-Star Realtor. For a Five-Star Realtor, you will have to pay the typical commission for your real estate area. And because I hear over and over again about those realtors that make so much money; hear this -it is not as much as you would like to gossip about.
Envision the commission fee as a pie. The seller’s Realtor must slice this pie into 4 equal pieces. One slice goes to the buyer’s Realtor; another slice to the seller’s brokerage and the last slice to the buyer’s brokerage. In other words, your Five-Star Realtor will not get rich off of your commission fee so be mindful of how you approach or respond to your Five-Star Realtor, now that you have been enlightened.

Trust Your Gut
If you feel your Realtor is not hearing your concerns, responding to your anxieties, helping you to assess and minimize all of your risks, getting back to you right away, using “assistants” to respond to your calls, not protecting your financial gains and losses by the recommendations they make, thoroughly vetting any sale offers and home buyers that come your way to ensure an offer is well matched for your financial situation and sale timeline, pursuing the buyer’s realtor and lender on a daily basis to ensure that all mortgage loan requirements and timelines are met for loan approval on time, does not find alternatives to help negotiate the best sale for you, seems more interested in their commission and payment than your best deal, and who is very comfortable using fear based rational to recommend your home sale prices or reductions – then listen to your gut; it is telling you to do something different. Immediately release yourself from your current Realtor contract and get on with finding your Five-Star Realtor. It’s too costly to you in the end to ignore your gut instinct. Costly in more ways than you can imagine.

I allowed myself to be swayed from trusting my gut instinct. The real estate market in Alaska was beginning to take a down turn. What this meant to many Realtors was that they should press their home sellers to get a deal in place (a less than ideal offer) and simply take it on the chin in order to sell a high-valued property before the market became flooded with similar properties. Taking it on the chin for my home sale included 13 weeks of one nightmare after the next, a significant price reduction (which you cannot increase once you decrease), delays in hiring packers and movers and shipping vans, extended storage unit fees, double mortgage payments, additional round trip airline tickets between properties, lost time on the real estate market, huge amounts of stress, and excessive anger that came from feeling no control over our home sale. At some point survival mode was not survival at all.

Embrace Failure & Re-calibrate
As soon as I respected by gut instinct, I got my Five-Star Realtor. Within a week our home was back on the real estate listings. An offer was received on day 2; then another within 3 weeks – the one that we accepted; after two counter offers and a near failure once we were in agreement.
The knowledge, experience, integrity and skill of my Five-Star Realtor made THE difference. Along with her sage advice and experienced insight, our Five-Star Realtor also helped us stick to “our” game plan when we began to panic and doubt our good judgement. Stress overload and carryover fears often will resurface and an experienced Realtor will anticipate this.  Our Five-Star Realtor remained level headed and savvy, she made sure we felt important, valued and listened to. She earned our trust and confidence while building trust and good will with our buyers and their realtor, and at every turn she took measures to reduce our risks while resolving issues that popped up during the critical negotiating period.
But, the most amazing attribute of my Five-Star Realtor was her constant positive affirmations that all will end well – and it did. These were the moments when she revealed her professionalism and her “client-centered” commitment to us and our success. You owe it to yourself to find your Five-Star Realtor, too.

Call 907-362-0065 today

Northern Lights Home Staging and Design awards and credentials



By Mary Ann Benoit

President- Northern Lights Home Staging and Design Owner- Arctic Paradise Bed and Breakfast Artist- Stained Glass, Jewelry and Alcohol Ink Art Wildlife Biologist Director- Kaleido World Percussion and Dance Company Director- Tavus Dance Company of Alaska Lover of music, art, dance and animals.