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Selling your home or investment property? Here are our top tips for choosing a real estate agent.
Australia’s property market has unquestionably caught the seasonal spring selling season fever, and many property owners (both home owners and real estate investors) want to get in on the action.
It doesn’t matter if you are selling the family home to finally buy your dream property near the beach, or you are upsizing from an apartment, or you want to finally reap the rewards from your investment property. It’s only natural to have concerns (and jitters) about the sale of your home or investment property.
After all, while we will buy and sell a lot of things during our lives, there is nothing that probably compares to a property in terms of value.
For people who choose to have professional help in their corner during this period, the most critical decision is arguably choosing a real estate agent who will guide you through the selling process.
Real estate agents are vital players in the Australian property market. They help buyers decide exactly what they’re looking for or why they might consider purchasing a property. Most importantly, they help property owners navigate the selling process and sell their properties for what they’re worth.
However, it’s also important to note that this choice can make or break the sale of your home. So what can you do to make sure you don’t get taken for a ride on one of the biggest financial decisions of your life?
Here are our top tips on how you can choose the best real estate agent when you’re selling your home.
1. Do your research
As with anything related to property, research is key.
Do your homework on potential agents like you would with similar properties and potential buyers.
Starting out can be overwhelming, as there are many different real estate agencies to choose from. The first step is to narrow down your options, find agents in your area and put together a shortlist.
When putting together your shortlist, don’t go for those who have the highest number of ads or the most listings. For the agent selection process, word-of-mouth from friends, colleagues are still considered the most reliable source of information.
Afterwards, compare potential agents on your shortlist based on their recent sales performance, appraisal, negotiation skills and reviews from previous clients. If you are budget conscious, you can also compare their fees.
Metrics such as average days on market or auction clearance rates are also important when choosing the right real estate agent, as it gives you clear insight into what it’s like to work with that agent and what to expect from that outcome.
2. Find an expert in your area
Location is an important criterion for buyers. Therefore, it’s important to choose a real estate agent who can put an accurate sale price on your property and knows the advantages of your location. That’s because when you put your property on the market, you will want to play on your property’s strengths.
Remember that the agent you choose is going to represent you and your property. It’s important that he/she is familiar with the area you’re selling in and knows the other properties for sale and those that have recently been sold.
With that in mind, experts recommend that you don’t go look for agents beyond your local neighbourhood.
Finding a good agent with in-depth knowledge of the local market is as important as finding one with proven experience in marketing the type of property you’re selling.
This is because other properties in the area could be competition to your sale, and it’s good to know what you’re up against. Having an agent who knows the local scene can help evaluate your home as it sits in the market, alongside similar properties.
An agent with a solid history of selling similar properties in the local area also means they have direct experience in your particular market and may also still be in contact with potential buyers.
When you meet with prospective local agents, find out how long they’ve worked in the area and test them on their local knowledge.
Preferably, they should be aware of the local amenities, transportation hubs, school zones, and even where the best coffee spots are.
This would show that they’re invested in the local area and have a good understanding of the marketplace. It will also help bring extra energy to the sale of your property.
3. See your potential agents in action
One of the best ways to check out how your shortlisted agents are in action is during open house inspections. If you have the time (and if it’s allowed), it’s a good idea to visit one and see your potential agent in their playing field.
The open house doesn’t necessarily have to be those of properties that are similar to what you’re planning to sell. Your agent is presenting your home to the public, so it’s a good opportunity to learn how they engage with buyers and how they present an open house.
It can also be a good time to introduce yourself and get some contact details.
You can take note of the following things during the open house visit:
4. Set your benchmarks early
It’s important to set your benchmarks upfront when choosing a real estate agent.
Any good real estate agent is expected to have a solid strategy to sell a home, so it’s important to ensure that you set your objectives early on.
Ask your agent how they plan to sell your property and ask them to explain why they consider that to be the best approach.
When presenting their selling strategy, agents should include points on presentation, marketing/advertising and negotiations that will help you meet your goals.
It will also give you a good idea of how you can track their progress, at what points you and the agent can touch base on during the selling process, and how they can deliver results.
5. Listen to your instincts
An often-expressed theory about salesmanship is that you have got to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. This means that if there’s something you don’t like about your prospective agent, there’s a chance a buyer might feel the same.
It’s also important to remember that property sales are essentially a partnership between a real estate agent and a seller who are working to achieve the same goal.
This means that comfort matters. You need to be very honest with an agent when selling a property, so you need to make sure you are comfortable with the agent so you can have open and honest communication during the sale period.
If you are not comfortable with working with them, chances are that the partnership will not have the best results.
In this regard, trust your instincts and make sure to find an agent that you are comfortable working with.
Ultimately, you need to be sure that the agent you choose is a good fit for your expectations and desired financial results. Select someone with a great track record who is willing to communicate with you as you see fit.
More importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. When interviewing prospective agents, here are sample questions you can ask to make sure that you find one that is the perfect match.
For more tips and expert insight into Australia’s property market, make sure to check out our amazing podcast series that covers all topics related to property investing. For the latest property market reports, insights, news and useful tips and strategies for investors, you can also visit Smart Property Investment’s News section.
An agent is a real estate professional licensed to guide property buyers and sellers with their transactions.
An agent is a person authorised to act as a representative in the selling, buying, renting, or management of a property.
An estate refers to the assets a person owns at death that could be used to pay their debts, including all personal property, real property and other liquid assets.
An estate is the value of an individual’s net worth including assets, properties, financial securities and other valuable assets.