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Category: Listings

Choosing an Agent to List Your Home

Jean Ward - Chicago Lake Condos - Choosing an AgentSo you’ve decided you’re ready to sell your property, or maybe you just want some input as to when is the right time to sell. You need to choose an agent to work with. Before you start researching online who’s the best or choosing from the mailers you receive every week from agents trying to solicit your business, ask a friend or neighbor.

Word of mouth is THE BEST way to find a great agent. A personal testament from a trusted acquaintance who has personally partnered with an agent in the past speaks volumes toward an agent’s customer service, marketing, and overall ability to get the job done. If an agent left a positive impression on your friend, odds are she will leave a positive impression on you as well.

If you choose to ask for referral from someone else, don’t let it dictate your end game, though. Contact the agent and be sure to trust your own impression when you actually meet in person. Realty Times offers a checklist of 10 things ask when searching for a listing agent, which is great, but your gut instinct tops all other suggestions. Establishing a good working relationship with an agent is top priority. The highest sales, stellar status, and best connections will never make up for basic trust in another individual.

Contact Me and let’s see if we can establish a good working relationship!

For Sale By Owner or Licensed Real Estate Broker?

For Sale By Owner - Chicagolakecondos - Jean Ward

You know you want to sell your property but the question is how?   There’s many reasons people try to sell properties on their own without a licensed real estate broker, but the biggest incentive is saving money in sales commission. While you can in fact save money by not paying out, on average, a 5-6% brokerage fee to a local Chicago Real Estate Broker to list and sell your home, you will need to invest a substantial amount of time and money of your own to successfully market your property.

Want to go at it alone?  Here’s what to expect:

Know what you’re getting into

You have to invest time. You should do your research on the local real estate market to determine approximate sales prices of similar properties that have sold over the past few months in order to hone in on a realistic list price. If you’re higher than most of the comparative properties, you should have a reason to justify it, i.e. your home has something that the others don’t or it’s in better condition or has a better location, which are all subjective to prospective buyers, so not always easily consumed. You will need to spend time researching which personal marketing website(s) you will use to feature your home and you’ll need to upload your listing description and price. If you want to expose your property to all of the traditional end-users, such as buyers with agents, as well as those without, you’ll need to research and sign up with a do-it-yourself site that pushes your listing to the mainstream websites like Trulia and Realtor.Com. You will spend time performing the administrative tasks involved in preparing the listing, such as filling out seller disclosures and making copies to be made available to prospective buyers, taking or having professional photographs taken of your property, and uploading the photos and disclosures to your site. Time should be allotted for coordinating and hosting showings and open houses for potentially interested parties, and hopefully fielding offers when they are submitted. While a real estate attorney can help with some of those tasks, you still have to manage them, in place of a listing agent. Marketing your property takes time and exposure, so don’t forget printing out or ordering marketing pieces, such as signs, flyers, and advertising. You also need to prepare your physical property for optimal showings. Your home needs assessed by you or a professional as to which improvements and repairs need to be made before you begin scheduling showings. Do walls need painted, carpets replaced, kitchens cleaned, broken items repaired, or landscaping trimmed? You can always market a property AS IS without doing anything, but do you know how much to knock off the price in comparison to other homes currently listed or recently sold? If not, you need to find help from someone who does.

You have to invest money. While the time spent listing and presenting your home adds up to quickly in soft costs, there are hard dollars that will heed to be spent as well to prepare your home for market and to bring in potential buyers. You may need to pay for the services of a real estate broker or company to give you the data you need in order to price your home. You will spend money to list your home with a do-it-yourself website, such as or, which can cost up to $700 if you want your listing to reach the big guns like or Don’t forget the expense of photography and marketing pieces, such as flyers, signs, email lists, etc. Other costs include hiring a Real Estate Attorney and/or other professionals to assess/inspect your home. Finally, once you determine what needs to be done, you will need to pay for repairs, upgrades, and services performed at your home.  The negotiation of sales contracts, which straight-forward in theory, can end up costing you money in the long run if you are emotionally involved in the transaction, which most sellers can’t avoid.  In other words, if you don’t ‘know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.’  Not considering or agreeing to a customary buyer request can cost you a contract on your home.  Once the home goes back on the market, you start over again on marketing and expenses.

Know the market

Be aware or get yourself up to speed on what’s happening in not only Chicago’s real estate market, by your local neighborhood market, as well as your property type’s market, i.e. condos, single-family detached homes, etc. You can do this by visiting various local and national websites that specialize in real estate data and assessing the data yourself, or you can contact a local real estate professional. You can also gather first-hand info from neighbors who have recently sold or bought real estate. The best solution is to do all of the above to cover your bases.  Not having this information could paralyze your home sale, as you need it to determine pricing, average time on the market for properties in the area, and average sales prices compared to average list prices. If you price the home too high, based on inaccurate market data, your home will most likely not get many showings, and therefore will most likely take longer to sell that other homes appropriately priced in the area. If you price your home too low, while you may get many showings and offers, you stand the chance of selling your home for less than its value, and creating uneeeded addtional work for yourself by deciphering numerous offers. Finally, if you are unaware of what other properties are currently listed for in your area or have currently sold in your area, you will be unable to sell your value to potential buyers when they come through your door, as they will most likely be armed with all of that data.

Know when to call it quits

Contract a licensed real estate broker to list your home - Chicagolakecondos - Jean Ward

When the going gets tough and you’ve invested substantial time and money in marketing your property and it still hasn’t sold and you don’t know why, count your losses and call a licensed real estate broker, who can lead you back to the land of sales. A property left on the market for long periods of time relative to comparable properties is many times “tagged” a bad egg, regardless of the state of the actual property. Switching to an agent can potentially still recoup some of your losses and most importantly, send buyers your direction.

Most of the time, the value a licensed broker provides far outweighs the fee collected, and many times the sellers’ net proceeds are increased when using a licensed broker, as opposed to the perceived assumption that using a broker is money being drained from your pocket.

Check out the skinny on why a licensed real estate broker makes sense when selling your property.

For more information, contact Jean Ward for a free listing presentation.

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