Choosing A Real Estate Agent And Questions To Ask
“Agents might look the same if you squint but when put under the microscope the differences are significant.” John McGrath
When selecting an agent, we believe the difference between employing a good agent versus a great agent is about 5%-10% on the sale price.
But how do you identify a great agent for you and your property?
With over 30 years of experience selling properties, many for record prices, and with a reputation of consistently outperforming our competitors on overall vendor experience, we have identified a number of consistent traits all high performing agents possess.
Here is a list of qualities and questions to help you identify the best agent to sell your property:
Do they have strong local market knowledge?
Local agents understand the unique property cycle of the local market and are best equipped to appraise your property.
- Can they provide a local market report and discuss with insight the local market, what’s sold, for how much, market trends and opportunities?
- How much do you think my property is worth? - This is the number one question on a vendors mind. Doing your own research is valuable so you have a clear idea of what similar properties are selling for in your area. Be conscious of agents that give you an inflated price just to secure your business.
- How long do you think it will take to sell my property?
- What method of sale would you use to sell my property? The two most common ways to sell a property is via auction or private treaty/private sale. The third, less popular method is tender / expression of interest. Finding out which method the sales agent would recommend and their reasons for choosing it, is a good idea.
For more information on the different ways to sell a property download our Selling a Property Guide.
Have you seen how they perform at an open for inspection?
Seeing an agent at an open for inspection and interacting with buyers is an excellent way to assess their ‘on the job’ skills, and after all this is a critical element of a successful sale so it is worth going to a few open homes to see the agents in action.
- Do they display integrity and transparency?
- How knowledgeable are they on the property?
- How well were they presented?
- How efficient was their follow up after the open home?
- Do you host all open for inspections? The answer to this should be yes. This is where the agent meets potential buyers and has an opportunity to create a rapport and generate excitement around the property. An agent can also garner information from people inspecting the property on what they feel are the pros and cons. Armed with these details it is possible that you can make a few quick improvements, where possible.
Do you feel comfortable with the agent?
Selling a property can be a stressful and challenging process, however having an agent who you feel comfortable working with is important to help make the process as stress free as possible.
- Are they friendly, approachable and transparent?
- Are they attentive and listen to your needs?
- You need to trust your instincts. If you feel you can communicate well, are relaxed, share values and feel like you can put your trust in an agent then you're off to a good start.
Are they strong communicators and do they listen?
Communication is key for an agent.
- When you are talking to them do they listen to you and answer your questions with knowledge and insight?
- Have you seen examples of their marketing material, how strong is there marketing?
- What advertising and marketing do you recommend? Get your potential agent to explain how they would market your property. A good marketing plan should include a mix of digital, print and database marketing. A comprehensive plan underpins the success of the sales campaign so it is important this is comprehensive.
Have you reviewed their sales result / assessed what they have sold in the area?
- What properties have you sold in the area? Armed with this information you can look into previous sales, the price they achieved and how long it was on the market. This can help you understand the type of property they sell and their success rate.
- How have they performed?
- Do they have a strong buyer database for property’s like yours?
Can they provide you with strong references from their most recent clients?
All high performing agents will happily provide you with either written testimonials or the phone numbers of their most recent clients (assuming there aren’t confidentiality clauses in place).
A good way to assess their performance is to call their most recent clients and ask them what the experience was like, were they happy with the agent and did they achieve a good result.
What makes you different from your competition?
- Giving the agent the opportunity to explain how their experience in the business sets them apart from the rest is important.
- You also need a good negotiator with an affable personality. Ask for an example where they have successfully handled a tricky negotiation and what the outcome was.
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