Questions to Ask a Big Sky Real Estate Agent Before You Hire Them

Questions to Ask a Big Sky Real Estate Agent Before You Hire Them

  • Kelly Broling Smoak
  • 04/3/23

Whether relocating, downsizing, or buying your first home, an expert Belgrade agent is your ticket to a fruitful real estate transaction. Buyers can more easily find their dream homes and close favorable deals with less stress at the negotiating table. Meanwhile, as a seller, you stand to gain a staunch advocate determined to maximize your bottom line.

Are you an investor ready to list Big Sky condos for sale? Does Big Sky, Montana, land for sale beckon your spirit of adventure? No matter your position, the growing Big Sky luxury real estate market is an excellent place to be. And as tempting as it is to hire the first agent you find, you’ll discover prudence is the best way forward.

Kelly Broling Smoak is a well-connected Belgrade agent who’s heard all sorts of questions from clients. Here are the ones she recommends asking before hiring a real estate agent.

Pre-screen agents via phone or email

You should start your interview process well before meeting with agents in person. Usually, agents ask buyers and sellers to reach them by phone or email via their personal websites. They are pre-screening you, and you have every incentive to do the same. Here are a few questions to ask in your first email or call.

Do you have a real estate license in good standing?

Before investigating whether an agent is right for you, make sure they are right for anyone. In other words, ask for proof that they have a valid real estate license. You can then double-check their qualifications online via the Montana Department of Labor.

A real estate transaction is legally binding and should be undertaken with the highest ethical standards. If you encounter an agent who is not licensed or does not have a license in good standing, that is a red flag — do not work with them. And if an agent rebuffs your inquiry or “big-times” you, that’s a sure sign you should look elsewhere.

How long have you been an agent?

Most agents love to talk real estate, and they probably have rehearsed answers to questions like these. But when you ask about an agent’s experience before an official consultation, something interesting happens: they have to show their work.

Savvy agents know you want evidence of successful experience. They might link you to their online bio or respond with statistics indicating what an agent has accomplished. As a client, however, you should give more weight to referrals or testimonials, demonstrating how an agent does business.

Of course, it’s possible to find an agent who is new on the scene and gets rave reviews from clients. On the other hand, you might prefer an agent with an impressive portfolio accumulated over time. Remember that experience is not necessarily a dealbreaker, but it can be a tiebreaker, depending on your individual needs.

Will I be working with you directly or with your team?

It is not uncommon for an agent to have multiple agents as part of their team. If you’re emailing the agent, you might get a response from a marketing professional or other team member. Regarding Big Sky real estate listings, differently organized teams can accomplish equally great results. If you prefer to work with only one person, let the agent’s team know and see how they respond.

Questions buyers should ask

Once you’ve pre-screened local agents, you should meet with them in person (if possible) for an initial consultation. Rather than winging it, come to the consultation with a few critical questions in mind.

Can I view your portfolio?

Asking about an agent's portfolio is a great way to learn about their experience with specific properties. The best agents understand why you ask about their portfolio — you care about their specialties. Your agent should make the conversation about you: what is your budget, do you prefer this or that neighborhood, etc.

If you are interested in a property with a particular design style, like ranches, you may want an agent with a portfolio filled with ranch homes. Or if you are uncertain of exactly what you want, seeing a diverse portfolio can be helpful.

How do you leverage your local network?

You should ask this question because online platforms like LinkedIn can be misleading. Specifically, more connections do not necessarily imply a stronger local network. Consider a town like Belgrade, which has about 11,000 people. Do you need to work with a realtor who has 500+ professional friends?

Be wary of agents who emphasize quantity over quality. To cleave through generalities, ask each realtor to specify what services they can recommend. For example, ask agents who they would recommend for a home inspection. They aren’t required in Montana, but the Montana Association of Realtors highly recommends them.

Questions sellers should ask

If you have a house or land for sale in Big Sky, Montana, you’re poised for success — real estate seekers love the region’s intangibles, resulting in high demand. Here’s how you can pinpoint the right agent for your forthcoming sale.

How do you promote your listings?

Photo courtesy of Pexels

In our era of online everything, digital marketing is the keystone of successful home sales. That’s excellent news for sellers in Big Sky, a growing region that fields many out-of-state and international buyers. Regarding days on the market, effective marketing can easily be the difference between one month and five.

Strategies vary, but expect the agent to show you a mix of social media, real estate-specific platforms, and other online channels. A realtor with a reliable local network will help give your listing more exposure or broaden the number of properties to view through trusted channels like the MLS.

If you want to market your listing privately (to luxury buyers exclusively), ask that as a follow-up question. The best agents can employ online and offline tactics to sell your home. After you meet, compare each agent’s social media pages and websites to see which ones are more organized, professional, and dynamic.

What tends to be your average sale time?

There's no way to know precisely how long your property will be on the market. An experienced sellers’ agent can give you a ballpark estimate based on a tested plan. Agents with insight into average sales times tend to have more nuanced sales tactics. A discerning agent will break down your sale into specific phases, such as repairs, renovations, home staging, showings, and negotiations.

Work with Kelly Broling Smoak

If our Big Sky real estate guide has piqued your interest, consider working with Kelly Broling Smoak. Kelly brings each client years of successful experience and the most conscientious service. As indicated above, Kelly understands that the luxury market in Montana is more about quality than quantity. For a successful purchase or sale in places like Belgrade and Big Sky, your best resource is right here.

For more information, contact Kelly and her team today.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Kelly Broling Smoak

Kelly Broling Smoak


About the Author

Kelly Broiling has been called “The Listings Queen” by business gurus in the know. In 2019 she came on board at Coldwell Banker in Bozeman, Montana; not an easy decision to leave her former company, but she was ready to grow. A common thread in her history in the Real Estate industry. Kelly Broiling has always strived to create success for herself and others in life and business. A well-grounded individual that truly believes that integrity, honor, and transparency are the keys to creating lasting relationships in her personal and business connections. She prides herself in balancing her life wherever she goes. She is the same person at home, at the market, and the office. And that person is a warm, generous, and kind person who also likes to have fun.

Kelly Broiling has been a Realtor® for more than a decade in Montana. In that time, she has helped numerous families find forever homes and 2nd homes. She has also excelled in business finding business investment properties and land for clients to build upon. She even has the notoriety of Global Luxury Certification to add to her achievements. Her main goal is to find exactly the property to suit your desire. 

She chose the Real Estate industry because family is so important to her. Having the flexibility to continue to raise her four girls and still earn a living was of the utmost importance. She wanted to be able to be there for their recitals and sporting events, but still, put food on the table and give them a solid home to grow up in. She has always worked hard to be successful and gives that same attention to detail to her Real Estate clients. Her father has been her biggest inspiration in life. He did whatever it took to be successful and instilled those same values in Kelly. He helped her by encouraging her to complete goals and work hard while staying genuine. She knew initially it would take 3 to 5 years to get her business up and running and stayed dedicated to achieving that goal. Selling homes has never been a side job for Kelly Broiling; it’s a career that she has devoted her life and soul to, achieving that accomplishment. Having a solid foundation is her road to success. She sets goals but knows how to ask for help when she needs it. That groundwork has been the path she has traveled, and she continues every day to keep her momentum going. 

Whether it’s at home or the office, when Kelly sets her mind to completing a project, she will get there. If it’s a perfect home on a large parcel with unencumbered views or a quaint downtown flat that you want in a particular location; Kelly will help make that dream a reality. 

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