Choosing the right estate agent to sell your property is probably the most difficult task you will face.
Choosing the Agent that’s right for you.
- What are the signs of a good agent?
When you speak to an agent, request an appraisal, not a valuation (this can only be done by a licensed valuer). When the agent inspects your home, make sure you give them an inspection! Pay attention to how they dress as this can reflect their attitude. Your agent won’t get buyers to part with large amounts of money if they don’t look and act professionally. If the agent doesn’t impress you, they won’t impress buyers.
Shop for an agent the way you would shop for a good lawyer, accountant, mechanic, plumber or any other professional.
- Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions
Ask things like: “How often can I expect to hear from you?” “What sort of feedback will you give me from potential buyers?”, and “How frequently?” “Who else in your office would work on the sale campaign?” “Are you too busy to take this on?” “Will you handle the sale personally?”
- Ask about a marketing approach
Make sure you ask about how and where your property will be advertised and what types of buyers will be targeted. Does the agent have a buyer database, for instance? Web marketing is an essential component of any campaign but how effective is the agent’s website? What strategies will they employ to make sure buyers find your property on their website rather than another agent’s listings.
- Ask for the agent’s feedback on your property’s presentation
An experienced agent will have ideas about how to improve your property to ensure a successful sale. They will be honest about any problems they can see. If you don’t get both positive and negative feedback about the property, you might be talking to the wrong agent.
If one agent gives a vastly higher opinion of your property’s value, try not to get carried away. This is the most costly mistake a property owner can make – signing up with the most optimistic agent. You want a realistic opinion of your property’s value, one based on the agent’s sound knowledge of the area. Remember, it’s not the seller or the agent who decides what a property is worth, it’s the buyer.
- What type of agreement to sign
When you’ve chosen your agent, you’ve another decision to make. What type of agency agreement should you agree to? Some people list their home with multiple agents. This is known as ‘Open Listing’. However, agents earn their income through sales, not listings, so they’re less likely to give a great commitment unless they’ve got a chance of success. Like all business people, estate agents dedicate time where they’re most likely to gain.
Another method of sale is a ‘general agency’. Consider this method from the agent’s standpoint again. Why should they work as hard on a sale when they’re only making 50% of their normal fee?
Finding the ideal combination of professionalism, experience and drive can be challenging in an industry where skills vary so widely.