With so many real estates agent who have come and gone in the past decade as well as a giant shift in the market who do you choose to represent you in the sale or lease of your home and how do you choose the right agent for the job?  It can be a tough choice and you will need to choose wisely.  

You have so many real estate companies and agents to choose from and you will need to be aware of a few important things you will need to know when choosing.  The first and most important choice should how hungry, motivated and aggressive the agent is when selling or leasing homes.  You don't want an agent who practiced the three Ps: Put up sign, Put in MLS, and then Pray!  I see this far too often and it's not selling, it's wishful thinking.  You need an agent who will create a specific marketing strategy for your home as well as a target market.  You need to pick an agent who has the time for you property.  This means they have the time to show it, review their marketing, review the activity, follow up with prospects, networks with other agents in the area, open houses, time to take a close look at the property and give you ideas such as arrangement of furniture, landscape ideas to add curb appeal, and much more.  What you don't want is an agent who is sitting on a ton of listings and wants to add yours to his or her list of properties they are listing.   You need an agent who can put 110% into your property and focusing on finding a buyer and selling it.  Make sure you ask the agents you interview what their marketing plan to sell your property is.  

It's very important that you realize that the company you choose doesn't make a difference, the agent is what's important.  As long as you choose a good agent, it doesn't matter is you choose a nationally recognized firm or a small local boutique firm.  The most important deciding factor should be the agent you choose no matter the company is.  I will tell you that I personally know agents who work for firms that no one has ever heard of however these agents are some of the best in the business.  

If you are going to lease your property, find an agent who has different strategies to market your property: internet, signage, flyers, media, etc.  In today's leasing market, a good agent will have no problem use a non-exclusive listing agreement which gives you the freedom to try and lease the property yourself or use other companies as well.  You will not be locked into any agreement that you can't get out of.  A confident agent won't mind who else you list it with since they know who and how to market yout property.  Make sure that the agent is licensed and double check with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations that their license is active.

Remember these important tips and choose wisely.   Take your time and interview each prospective agent.  You can even ask for a list of testomonials and referrences.

Would you let a stranger into your home?  Of course not.  Yet, every day well meaning landlords place their property at risk by failing to do their homework before listing their property for rent with an apartment broker.  When you list a property and give that person keys or access to your property you are bestowing a great deal of trust in the individual or company.  Have you made sure that they are worthy of that trust?  Here are some basic questions you should ask:

1.  What is the company or individual's experience?  Delve deep here. Ask how long they have been in the business, where they have rented properties and how many deals have they closed.  Ask for references from prior landlord clients and call them. Is the company and the agent a member of a professional association of realtors?

2.  What is the Company's name and how long have they been in the brokerage business?  You would be amazed by the number of rental brokers that have emerged over the last year.  Its fairly easy for any inexperienced broker to pass and exam, throw an add on Craigslist and starting calling landlord's for listings.  Does the company have a real office (as opposed to the trunk of their car or a "virtual" office).

3.  Is the Company insured for liability  against accidents?  Demand liability coverage and ask for a copy of the policy.  A reputable broker will take no offense.  Consider the fact that it is you that can be named as a defendant if there is an accident at a showing.

4.  Is the company properly licensed?  Ask to see a copy of the agent's "pocket card".  All licensed real estate agents are required to carry a pocket card showing that they are licensed.  Check with the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation to verify the agent's license.  Again, no reputable agent will take offense.

5.  Is the agent covered by errors and omissions insurance?  Ask for a copy of the policy.  If they do not carry coverage, do not list your property with that agent.  Errors and omissions can offer protection should the agent make a mistake in his representation of you in a leasing transaction.  Don't underestimate what the potential liability can be.  For example, many landlords are shocked to learn that tenants can recover two times the security deposit amount, plus the deposit, plus attorney's fees for simple errors like failing to properly create a receipt or lease.

Following these simple steps will go a long way toward protecting yourself and your property.  If you have questions or concerns ask for additional information from your iMove Chicago agent.  iMove Chicago is a licensed Illinois real estate broker corporation with five locations located throughout Chicago and 150 properly trained and licensed agents.  All Rent Smart agents are covered by liability and errors & omission insurance policies.

The subject of home staging has seen a recent surge of interest, due in part to TV shows that elevate professional stagers to the level of rock stars; however, you don't need a degree in interior design in order to make your home more marketable. Although staging is popular with sellers, landlords often overlook its importance in the rental market. By following a few simple rules, you may be able to substantially reduce the amount of time it takes to get prospective tenants to sign on the dotted line. 

1. Clear the clutter. Any home stager will tell you that the most important thing you can do to move a property quickly is to clear the clutter. If you don't have time to properly weed through a mess of items, at least box them up and relocate them. Get a storage unit or make use of extra basement space. Your unit will seem more spacious and welcoming, and there is also an additional hidden benefit in store for you: part of the moving process will already be behind you.

2. Keep it simple. It is important to de-personalize and simplify your space. The environment you create should subconsciously encourage prospective tenants to visualize their own furniture and possessions within it. Take down pictures of friends and family and remove childrens' art collections from the fridge.

3. Keep it clean. Nothing turns future tenants off more than dirt, grime, and dust bunnies. Even if they can see past a mess, they may not be able to see past filth. Make sure the bathroom and kitchen are well-scrubbed and the floors are vacuumed and/or mopped. 

4. Don't put off repairs - fix it now. Many owners put off repairs until they have checks in hand from their future tenants, but it is best to go ahead and make certain repairs before you start showing the place so that it looks more presentable to future renters. Things like broken blinds, mildew-ridden grout, and dust-caked ceiling fans are quick and easy fixes that can be done before showings commence.

5. Make a deal with the occupants. If you are not currently living in the unit and it is occupied by someone else, you may wonder how you can pull these things off without their cooperation. The answer? Make a deal with them. Offer them a generous gift card to their favorite restaurant if they are able to keep the place looking presentable while it is being shown. It may sound crazy, but it actually works. As you can see, with a small amount of time and effort, you can quickly transform your rental property into a hot listing. A space that shows well will fly off the market much faster than a dirty, cluttered space in ill repair. Stage your space for maximum impact and prepare to reap the rewards of a quick and easy rental!