Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The 10 Essential Questions To Ask Before Appointing Your Real Estate Agent

Choosing a real estate agent to sell your property is a daunting task, particularly if you have never sold a property before.  Trying to determine which agent is right for you can be helped by asking a few key questions as below.

1. How long have you been a Real Estate Agent for?
In this industry, experience definitely counts – but that doesn’t mean that the agent who has been around the longest is the best one for you.  What you are looking for is someone who has had enough experience to handle all aspects of the sale, combined with the enthusiasm and motivation required to secure a buyer for you.

2. What properties have you recently sold in the area, and do you have any buyers that missed out who might be interested in my property?
Agents will often have a type of property that they are best at selling, due to their location, experience and personal preferences.  We would recommend an agent that has sold at least 5-6 properties similar to yours in the past twelve months.  They should be in a similar suburb and be comparative in price & type.
Real estate is a relationship and word-of-mouth business.  Ask your agent if they have a database of clients that have missed out on previous sales - they might already have a few clients in mind that they can suggest your property to!

3. What selling price do you think I can achieve?
Prospective agents will give you a sale price they think they can achieve for your property.  The most important question to ask is “What are you basing that on?” They should then support this with recent sales in your area of similar properties – both from their agency and others.
Make sure they can support the suggested sale price with evidence – you don’t want to fall for the trap of securing the agent who simply says they can get the best price for you!

4. How will my property be advertised?
Advertising takes place in two forms:
      Traditional – newspapers, signboards, agency window display and brochure.
      Digital – online advertising that reaches clients through their digital device such as online listings on agency and third party websites (realestate.com.au, domain.com.au etc) and e-mail marketing/brochures.
Depending on the type of property and its location, digital media options may be enough – have a look at what similar properties are doing in your area.

5. How long do you think it will take to sell my property and why?
In asking this question, you don’t expect the agent to give you an exact number of days that it will take to sell your property!  You are looking for their understanding of the current market and the factors impacting your area, and how these will contribute to the selling process.

6. What would you say if a potential buyer asked:
   How long has this property been on the market for?
   Why is the seller selling?
   How much will the seller accept?
Asking these questions is a great way to gauge whether you are comfortable with the types of responses your agent is giving to potential buyers!

7. How much do you charge?  Are you willing to negotiate?
This is an important question. You are not looking for the cheapest agent with this question, you are interested in what is included in their fees!  You are looking for a good negotiator and value for money – a good agent will be able to confidently justify their price.

8. What method would you recommend to sell my property and why?
There are several different types of campaigns your agent may recommend as follows:
  • Auction - a sale, usually in public, by an auctioneer, in which property is sold to the highest bidder.
  • EOI – Expressions of Interest – a deadline is set by which potential buyers submit a bid of what they are prepared to pay.
  • POA – Price on Application – property will be listed with a sale price of “POA” so that vendors will need to contact agent to receive details.
  • Tender – the selling of a property through seeking of written bids
  • Sale – the process in which potential buyer’s negotiate with a real estate agent to purchase your property.
Campaigns will be market dependent, for example, Melbourne favours auctions as where Perth people favour a set sale pricing system.
Another question worth asking is how they plan to arrange viewing of your property– is it via scheduled ‘open house’ times or by appointment only?

9. Do you have details of references I can contact?

A good real estate agent will happily supply you with a list of previous clients that they have dealt with.  Even a new agent will be able to provide some sort of positive reference, whether a past employer.  Don’t be afraid to follow up with them to gain their feedback before deciding to appoint an agent.

10. What makes you different to other real estate agents?
This question will allow the agent to demonstrate what stands them apart from their competition, both as an individual agent and as an agency.  

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