What to ask when choosing a real estate agent
Katie Adema, September
Making the decision to sell your home or investment property is never easy; you are letting go of a very valuable asset and this process can be stressful in itself.
But of course ensuring you get the best price is a primary concern, and choosing the right real estate agent is crucial to achieving this. But how do go about choosing an agent? It is more than just picking one that will give your property the highest valuation or offer the lowest commission.
You are entrusting one of your most valuable assets to this person, so don’t afraid to be fussy!
Word of mouth goes a long way in most industries; chances are, if you have heard good things about the agent from your neighbour, some friends and your mother-in-law, they are likely to be a good agent to work with.
That being said, what works for other people may not suit you.
So, before choosing a real estate agent, do a bit of asking around and get some recommendations from your networks. Then, armed with a list of questions, get a feel for your prospective agent.
Some good questions to ask could include:
How long have you been in the business for?
As with anything, experience is key here. An agent with a great deal of experience will be able to negotiate deals with confidence and ensure you get the best price for your home. They will also have a good network established that could assist with the selling process.
What areas have you worked in and what type of properties do you sell?
In property, knowledge of the local area is crucial; each state, city and suburb could have distinct property trends at any given time, so an agent that has worked in your area previously has an edge over someone who has not.
You could also look at whether they have experience in selling properties that are similar to yours, as an agent that sells only high-end homes may not suit your middle of the range property.
How much commission do you take/how much will it cost for me to sell my property?
A fairly standard question, but make sure you do ask for a breakdown of costs so you know exactly how much money is being spent for what. It’s important to note that an agent with a low commission doesn’t automatically make them the best value.
How will we communicate with each other?
Have you tried contacting someone who has several assistants, more clients than they can handle and too much on their plate? If you have then you know they aren’t the sort of people who respond quickly to emails and phone calls.
A real estate agent that has the time to respond promptly to any requests will also spend time putting effort into selling your property.
You also need an agent that is genuinely interested in your property rather than viewing it as one of many that they can add to their listings.
What will you do to introduce buyers to my property? How much will be spent on marketing?
Ideally your real estate agent will have an established marketing presence that will be harnessed to sell your property.
If you are or are not prepared to spend more on marketing, make sure the agent is aware of this.
How long is it taking for you to sell your listings at the moment?
What is the current market like for a property like mine?
Asking this will give you an idea of how long you should expect your property to be on the market for, and can also give you an indication of how well the agent knows their stuff.
Can you share references from past clients?
References can give you a real idea of what it’s like to deal with a particular agent as a client. If they are happy to let you chat to several past clients, then you know they have faith that they are doing a good job and will let their past clients do the talking for them.