Finding the right real estate agent for you (tips from a top performing agent)
Choosing the right real estate agent to sell your property can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never sold property before. As one of your largest assets — if not, your largest, period — you need to ensure you’ve found the right person for the job. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to assume that all real estate agents are the same, whether working with what they regard to be a highly reputable agency or not — put simply, all real estate agents are not the same.
Each agent comes with a different set of skills and a different way of doing business, and it’s your job to find an agent that’s right for you. To help you on your way, we’ve put together this checklist of 10 tips to help you find the right real estate agent to sell your property — happy hunting!
How to find a great real estate agent
- Talk to your family and friends: If you’ve never sold property before, this is always a good starting off point. Speak to people within your social network who’ve sold property recently and ask them about their experiences with the process and their sales agent.
- Find agents who have sold properties in your area: Have a look at the auction or private treaty sales results in your local newspaper, take note of sold stickers on signboards in your neighbourhood and job online to find out who’s sold what property in your area. Concentrate on the agents who have sold properties most similar to yours, to ensure you’re comparing apples and with apples.
- Estimate your property’s value online: There are a number of online tools available that can help to give you a ballpark figure of what your property may be worth. Alternatively, compare the recent sold prices of similar homes in your immediate area — again, the auction and private treaty results on your local paper can help with this.
- Create a shortlist of preferred agents: Select about three agents and ask them for a valuation of your property. Be wary of agents who value your home at many times more than other agent’s indicate — and what you’ve already estimated it to be worth — as your property may not sell, or may stay on the market longer than necessary.
- Understand your advertising options: Again, this is where your own research comes in handy. There are many more advertising options available now than there were a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean you need to use all of them. The internet is important, but other traditional methods have their merit too. Consider each medium and see how they feature in other sales campaigns.
- Discuss the agent’s commission and fees: Before you even talk advertising, first discuss each agent’s commission and other fees. The national average commission rate charged by agents in Australia is 2.26%, but that figure varies based on the property, local market and the agent. Make sure you ask each agent what those fees include, so you can make an informed decision. Remember: you get what you pay for.
- There are other ways to negotiate commission: Some agents may suggest other ways to charge commission – the fixed rate method or tiered percentage. In the former, the vendor pays a fixed fee regardless of the sale price, which can have its pros and its cons. Tiered percentages are intended to encourage the agent to obtain a higher sale price, so you may agree 2% as long as the sale price is $500,000 or less, but every additional $20,000 you may agree to pay another 10%. Consider your options wisely.
- Discuss appointment types: The appointment type affects who can try to sell your property and who is entitled for the commission when the property sells. There are three appointment types common in property sales — open listing, exclusive agency and sole agency. Find out what each agent recommends for your property and decide which option suits you best.
- Check the small print: Once you’ve selected an agent, make sure you check the terms of appointment to ensure that everything you discussed relating to commission fees, the costs that may be incurred on your behalf (advertising costs, marketing fees, etc), when your payments are due to the agent, and what services the agent will provide and how, has been detailed accurately in the appointment form.
- Ask for feedback: Most agents now use a range of reporting tools that they use to capture data on the level of enquiry, people attending inspections, and so forth. Ask your agent to provide you with a weekly summary, so you can remain informed throughout the process.
What are the costs of using a real estate agent?
The cost of using a real estate agent varies significantly and most charge commissions based on the value of the sale price of your property which also vary. To learn more about this and other aspects of selling property in Australia, subscribe to receive access to our free guide called, Selling Your Property: What You Really Need to Know. Alternatively, for more property news, insights and analysis, continue reading our blog.
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Our educational blogs are designed to help you understand each of the steps involved in selling your property so whether you choose to work with a real estate agent or do it yourself you'll understand the work involved and be more efficient and aware of what you need to do. Our articles have been seen in these major online news and information portals..
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