Kelsay’s Answers to Seller Interview Questions

How did you get to be in the real estate business and why is this your chosen profession?

I see my services as a real estate advisor and educator as a natural blending of my previous professional training and ongoing personal interests. I have been in social services for the past 13 years, whether it was offering counsel as a mental health therapist or providing instruction as an educator and trainer. In my personal time, I’ve been consistently interested in sustainable housing design, market trends, and wealth building. So after over a decade in the conventional “helping” fields, I knew I still wanted to empower people to make wiser decisions– just in a different way.

Becoming a full service real estate broker and certified building analyst allowed me to unite my desire to stay in social services with my passion for wealth building, real estate investment, housing design, contract negotiation, and sustainable construction / renovation. And after successful 7 years in this business, I’m now even more convinced that Real Estate agents serve an important social service function.

What do you consider your main role as an agent when working with a seller?

I am a seasoned guide for my clients – helping them understand the market and what they can and cannot control during the selling process. I thoroughly educate my clients both before and during the transaction process on property values, the local market trends, the level of our competition, and realistic potential for final seller net proceeds. This preparation allows my clients to construct realistic expectations from the start, which then reduces the number of negative surprises that occur as we progress. As a result, my clients feel more in control of the buying process and more capable in making their decisions.

What is the most important thing you do that makes you a great agent for sellers?

I leave no stone unturned, when most other Realtors don’t even look out for rocks. I am always assessing possible problems and solutions on behalf of my clients because they usually aren’t aware of what they don’t even know. The reason for my constant vigilance is that I don’t like surprises in the middle of a sale and find most clients don’t either. Those unexpected surprises always create stress for my clients and typically also cost them more money. It is incredibly rare that everything goes perfectly in a selling transaction, so I have found that proactively looking for issues before hitting the market and already having possible solutions ready is best for us all.

What are your 3 best skills – the ones that separate you from any other agents I’ll interview?

  1. I will take your finance and selling goals quite seriously and expect you to do the same. This means carefully listening to and discussing your selling objectives in terms of your current and future financial limits. It also means helping you really comprehend your probable final bottom line after you close. You will see several kinds of spreadsheets and discuss many if-then scenarios, so you have a clear idea of what to expect. We will also have a straightforward (and sometimes uncomfortable) discussion about the true cost of possible versus necessary repairs as well as the need for de-cluttering and staging your property.

  2. I will tell you things you don’t want to hear and/or didn’t think you would hear. I will give you information and concepts using plain language and answer your questions as honestly as possible. If I don’t know an answer or am unsure, I will tell you that instead of bluffing or lying and then go try to find a good resource to get you that information. I will not up-sell you or try to convince you to put your house on the market if the possible net proceeds don’t match with your financial goals. I also won’t take your listing if I don’t think we can reasonably sell it on the terms we decide.

  3. I love to beat the odds by finding solutions when none seem available. I thoroughly enjoy negotiations and I also rarely take no for an answer without pushing back. Luckily, I have had a disproportionately high frequency of unusual and difficult transactions during my six years in this business. Whether I liked it or not, those tough transactions and bizarre circumstances have forced me to be incredibly knowledgeable and resourceful so I could get my clients what they wanted.

What do you think “fiduciary” means in terms of how you will treat me?

The legal definition of a fiduciary is “An individual in whom another has placed the utmost trust and confidence to manage and protect property or money. The relationship wherein one person has an obligation to act for another's benefit.”

In my day-today working, it means I will act in your best interests and disclose everything to you that I think could alter your selling process… including any conflicts of interest that might occur with me, your agent. There are many, many conflicts of interest that arise in a real estate transaction and it is unlikely these will go away any time soon, so I find full disclosure to my clients is best.

My commitment is to reveal anything I find that I think could be important and give you the pros and cons as I see them. Then you can decide for yourself how you’d like to proceed. I err on the side of more disclosure rather than less because I think consumers deserve more transparency about what occurs behind the scenes in this industry.

What are your views on pure dual agency? What about designated agency?

I think pure dual agency (the situation in which one individual agent from a single real estate company represents BOTH the buyer AND the seller simultaneously) is dangerous for all parties involved. I do NOT practice pure dual agency as I cannot see how it is in anyone’s best interests. Sellers (and buyers) hire me specifically because they want my expertise, my opinions, and my negotiation strategies, so pure dual agency makes no sense to me. When put in a pure dual agency situation, I will create a referral to another exceptional agent such that all parties are well represented.

I am willing to participate in designated agency situations (in which two individual agents both from a single real estate company each represent the buyer or the seller in a transaction.) I think this is a reasonable situation because I would be acting as a fiduciary to my client and the other agent would be the fiduciary to his client. While that other agent and I might work for the same real estate company, it would have no bearing on my ethics or my commitment to serving my clients’ best interests. I do not discount my compensation in designated agency situations.

(Please note that the practice of pure dual agency is completely legal in North Carolina and often practiced. Review the Working with Real Estate Agents Brochure to further understand this concept or call me directly about it if you have any questions or concerns about what this means for you.)

What do you expect from your seller clients?

Honesty. Effort. Open and consistent communication. Respect. Neatness. Commitment to the process. A good sense of humor. Loyalty. Elbow grease. Enthusiasm.

Want  to know more answers Kelsay's answers to interview questions?  Contact me and I'll send them to you.