How to choose the right agent for your property sale

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Selling your home is one of life’s major decisions — with successful outcomes often attributed to the real estate agent representing your property. So, it makes sense to do your research if you aim to minimise stress and maximise financial returns. 

Big or small: tailoring a perfect fit 

Broadly speaking, smaller boutique agencies can claim to have a personal touch, tailoring marketing campaigns and providing the flexibility of principals working in a hands-on role. On the other side, bigger agencies have the resources and reach to bring more buyers to your door. 

But smart vendors should survey the total package being delivered, rather than focusing on the bottom line of how much commission the agent will accrue. 

Real responsibilities: in a nutshell

The estate agent is responsible for advertising the property, showing potential buyers through it, conducting negotiations, arranging the contract note, and following the sale through to settlement.

Prospective sellers should seek the opinion of at least three agents, effectively auditioning them for the role. 

But before even selecting the key three, vendors should study auctioneering techniques over several weekends, personal presentations at open for inspections, and even call the respective offices to check on the firm’s professionalism, courtesy and efficiency. 

Shortlist hot seat

Once you have developed a shortlist of agents, it is a good idea to create a set of questions to ask the listing agents. Besides the standard queries about sales results for similar properties in the area and marketing expenses (ask for an itemised schedule and payment plan), further questions should include:

  • What type of buyers do you believe would be attracted to this home?
  • What do you feel are the good/bad points of the property?
  • What do we need to do to improve its presentation?
  • Will you (personally) be handling all aspects of the sale?
  • Can we talk to some of your past clients?
  • How will you help me understand the conveyancing process?
  • How did you arrive at an estimate of the value? 

Once you analyse the various responses, marketing plans and costs, it’s then fair to compare your top contenders and handpick the chosen one. 

Ballpark figure on the money?

The eternal questions of what the home is worth and when is the best time to sell should also be tempered with the current economic climate — which can affect values, leading to re-evaluation of expected price targets. 

In most cases, vendors will opt for a property representative they feel most comfortable with, preferring the perception of honesty and quality that money cannot buy.

Whichever real estate agent you choose, it is important to select a Real Estate Institute-affiliated member, as it is compulsory for them to be covered by professional indemnity insurance.

Good luck with your sale and also your next purchase.