Selling or buying a home is a complicated process, but Kim Carney of Coldwell Bankers Premier Group Real Estate has plenty of experience helping clients through it from both sides—sometimes at the same time! She understands what buyers are looking for (good schools, central locations, move-in ready properties) and knows what it takes to effectively and uniquely market a home. “It can be a lot of work, but it’s always memorable and very rewarding,” she says.

What is the most expensive home you’ve sold?
It was $4.2 million. It was exciting because I’d worked with this family since they moved to St. Louis, selling their houses as they moved up in price point. Originally, I sold their home in the $300,000 range and helped them move into a $1 million home. I then sold that house for them, and they moved into the $4.2 million home.

What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in real estate?
Being rejected when I was starting out. I was going after listings, and they were going to other agents. I think that was the hardest part for me. I took it personally.

Where would be your favorite place to live in St. Louis?
In Ladue, where I’m living now. I grew up in University Hills, and when I was in middle school, my family moved to Ladue. I’ve been there ever since. I love the unique neighborhoods and the school district—my twin daughters are going to be freshmen at Ladue Horton Watkins High School this year. Plus, I love the people. The community has a great neighborhood feel.

What’s the biggest trend in real estate; what are buyers looking for most?
Buyers want updated kitchens that open to a family room. A lot of my buyers also desire great outdoor living spaces, and many want pools or the space to install one. Having a big yard is important. They also expect the house to be updated and move-in ready.

What are the disadvantages of a ‘For Sale by Owner’ on both sides?
Sellers think they’re saving money, but they’re not. If you work with a good agent, statistically you can get a better price. If not, you don’t get the marketing that a good agent can bring. Buyers working with an agent likely won’t even see a ‘For Sale by Owner’ property. There are a lot of hurdles from initial negotiations to the closing table that sellers typically don’t understand, but working with an experienced agent can get you through them.