Selling a house is a colossal task—and for many people it’s a very foreign experience. Smart consumers interview potential agents to find the best fit for them and their property. A little like buying a second-hand car, you don’t pick the first one you see in the car yard and drive it out the door (only to find a few kilometres down the road it’s a total lemon).
It can be incredibly stressful to determine what you need to know from your agent. Agents are often selected due to their commission rates, which is an obvious and attractive sale point; however, this is not the only consideration that should be made when choosing your agent.
To make an informed decision about who will best represent the sale of your property, you should ask a few key questions.
1. How long have you been in the industry?
In the real estate industry, experience counts. This doesn’t implicitly mean that agents with the most experience are the best choice—but you are looking for someone who’s experienced enough to handle all aspects of your sale. More inexperienced agents are often enthusiastic and motivated, though, and have less of a work-load to juggle which means they can invest more time in you. Use your judgement here—and begin to piece together the puzzle with a bit further probing.
2. How much experience do you have in this market?
We recommend choosing an agent that has sold properties like yours. These similarities could include a similar price, a similar property type or a nearby suburb. Agents tend to specialise in a certain type of market, and finding an agent who’s experienced and confident in yours is essential
3. Will you provide some references?
Real estate agents who are confident in their work will happily supply you with a list of clients they have worked with. Agents will naturally put their best foot forward in the interview, so don’t be afraid to investigate some of their previous clients to understand some of the things the agent may not have mentioned to you.
Some questions you could ask the references include:
What did you like most about the agent?
What could they have done better?
How long did the property take to sell?
Did the agent help you secure the sale price you wanted to achieve?
4. How do you plan to advertise my property?
Depending on your property and its location, your advertising strategy may differ. Whether it’s traditional paper advertising or digital—it’s important your agent has a clear understanding of the kind of marketing they will need to employ to sell your property at the best possible price for you. Make sure to ask them about these marketing costs, and whose responsibility it is. Find out to avoid any surprises and to help with negotiating their commission price (if you’re funding the marketing overheads, your agent may reduce their rate).
5. What do I need to know that I haven’t asked you?
Pay attention to how the agent answers this question, because there will always be something else you need to know (and they know it). A great agent will know how to ask the right questions to find out what they need to know to serve you in the best possible way, and vice versa.
To find the best fit for you and your property, be prepared to shop around. It’s a foreign land for first-time sellers, but it’s critical to gain a clear understanding of your agent and how they work to find the best possible fit for you and your needs. Arm yourself with the right questions to enter your contract with total transparency and a clear idea of expectations to maximise your results.