SELECTING the right real estate agent is arguably one of the most important decisions you’ll make in selling your home.
It’s probably the most valuable asset you’ll ever own, and you want to entrust it to someone who will give you good advice, work hard and get the desired result, with your home selling in a timely fashion and for a good price.
If you get the choice wrong, your home may linger on the market, and when offers come in they may be substantially below market value. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes sellers can make is to choose the wrong agent.
As agents, we want you to choose us to work for you, but we know sellers need to find the right agent for them. So how you do that? Here are 8 tips:
Don’t just appoint the first one that comes along
You should attend open for inspections in your area and become familiar with the local agents.
This provides an opportunity to meet them and observe how they present themselves and the property they’re selling, and how they deal with potential buyers.
You should then shortlist agents and interview them face-to-face to see how you interact with each other, how comfortable you are with them, and to enable you to find out about their services and knowledge. You should come armed with a list of questions.
Track record is important, but so is enthusiasm
One of the questions you should ask agents you’re interviewing is about their results, including what they’ve sold, the selling price and the time each was on the market.
While this will be helpful, don’t discount agents who haven’t got extensive experience or reams of sales examples to show you.
A fresh young agent with plenty of motivation and enthusiasm can do a job just as well as someone with decades of experience.
Local is often the best choice
While real estate agents are usually knowledgeable across a broad market, such as Brisbane, they know their primary patch within that broader area inside out.
Within their local area they know what’s on the market, what has recently sold and for how much, what buyers in the area are looking for and what they’re willing to pay.
That means they can determine exactly how much buyer demand there will be for your property, what the market value of your home is, how it should be marketed to attract the greatest interest and how you can make small improvements – if necessary – to maximise the value.
The bonus is that they may also already have buyers on their books looking for a property just like yours.
Market knowledge is important
Agents should know the area your property is located in back to front.
They should be knowledgeable not just about the property market, but about the area itself, including amenity, services and transport options.
This is information that will help them sell the property to potential buyers, as they’ll need to impart the benefits of living in your home and the neighbourhood.
Appraisals must be backed up with evidence
Some agents will quote a high market price to a seller simply to get their business, rather than giving a true indication of what a property is worth.
Good agents will provide evidence in the form of recent comparable sales so you can see where the appraisal is coming from.
Keep in mind, however, that some properties are so unique there aren’t comparable sales.
Commission shouldn’t dictate your decision
You pay for what you get, as the saying goes. So while you don’t want to pay the highest commission going around, you need to be conscious of choosing an agent that will get the job done well, and provide the right service.
A good agent assists a seller prior to the property going on the market right through until settlement, will keep you updated throughout the marketing campaign and – perhaps most importantly – will be working proactively to attract as many sellers as possible and negotiating to maximise the sale price.
A good agent will sell your home for more, well and truly making up for their fees.
Find someone professional and trustworthy
Since you’re entrusting your valuable asset to a real estate agent, you need to be sure they will do the best job for you.
Find someone you’re comfortable with, that you have a rapport with, and that is honest with you – all of this means you can feel as though your home is safe in their hands and you can be open with them.
A good agent will listen to you and what you want, rather than just giving a sales pitch.
You should also consider credentials – agents should be licensed and a member of the local Real Estate Institute.
Once you’ve found someone trustworthy, it’s important to listen to their advice, as this will help you achieve a sale in your required timeframe and for market value.
Ask about the marketing plan
These days the obvious way to advertise is online, and you can boost your ad to give you greater enquiry.
But marketing can go beyond this, with traditional signboards, social media and print advertising all part of a good campaign.
The aim is to attract the largest number of potential buyers, so multiple forms of advertising is useful. By attracting more buyers and increasing competition your sale price will also increase, making up for what you spend.
Ask potential agents how they intend to market your home and why they want to use various forms of marketing to find out how it will make a difference.