How To Find The Best 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
Many property owners, only buy and sell a property a few times in their lifetime and as it is likely to be their most valuable asset, finding and choosing the best real estate agent is imperative.
In fact, we believe the difference between employing a good agent versus a great agent is about 5%-10% on the sale price and that’s a lot of money.
But how do you find a great agent?
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 are some of the key criteria to look at and some questions to ask your short-listed agents to help you find the right one for you and your property.
Online research to find a local real estate agent
As with everything in property, research is key. A good place to start your research is online. Most high performing agents have a strong digital presence which can give you an understanding of who they are and their achievements.
Find agents working in your suburb and head to their website and social media pages and read about:
- Their property sales track record and unique service offering
- The type of property they specialise in
- Their client testimonials
- Their community involvement and groups they support
- Social media presence, comments and reviews
- Any Google My Business or agent review sites such as Rate My Agent
See how they perform when presenting homes to market?
Whilst gathering information online is a good starting point, seeing an agent in action at an open for inspection or private appointment is an excellent way to assess their ‘on the job’ skills. This is a critical element of a successful sale.
At the inspection, watch and interact with the agent and take a note of the following:
- Do they display integrity and transparency?
- How knowledgeable are they on the property?
- Did they actively promote the property’s best features?
- How well were they presented?
- How efficient was their follow up after the open home?
Do they have strong local market knowledge?
Finding an agent with a deep understanding of the local market, who understands the unique property cycle of the area and can sell the benefits of the location, can make a difference come sale time. It is worth considering the following points:
- Can they provide a local market report and discuss with insight the local property trends, what’s selling, what’s sold and for how much?
- How much do they think your property is worth?
- How long do they think it will take to sell your property?
- What method of sale would they use to sell your 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.
- Do they have a strong database of active local buyers?
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, transparent and likeable?
- Are they attentive and listen to your needs?
- What feels right to you, do you feel they will engage with prospective buyers and encourage them to act?
Have you reviewed their sales result and what they are selling in the area?
A great agent should be able to demonstrate a history of strong results in your suburb. Look at your short-listed agent’s sales history and understand:
- Key metrics, such as days on market or auction clearance rates
- Have they sold similar properties in your 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 much did they sell for?
- Do they have a strong buyer database for property’s like yours?
- What are the agent’s current listings, are they similar to yours? This can be beneficial as contacts on their buyer database may also be interested in your property
- 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.
What marketing & sales strategy would they use to promote your property?
Any great real estate agent should come armed with a comprehensive strategy to sell your home. This would include points on presentation and areas you could enhance before the open homes. Marketing - how and where they would want to promote your property and how they plan on negotiating the sale. When talking to your short-listed agents, ask them:
- Who they believe your target market is and how can you position your property to appeal to them?
- What features of your property should you highlight and / or fix
- How do they plan on promoting your property?
- What digital platforms will they use such as realestate.com.au, domain, allhomes.com.au etc and why?
- Do they recommend print advertising?
- How they intend on promoting your property to their existing database of buyers?
- Approximately how much will you be expected to invest in marketing and advertising?
- How they plan on negotiating the deal, will they push for pre-auction offers?
- How they plan on using social media to promote your property?
- Are they strong communicators as this is important when dealing with potential buyers?
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.
A final word
We hope that this article has given you some insight and guidance into how to find the right agent to sell 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, our team of high performing agents would love to talk to you about your property and share our local insights. Connect with your local McGrath Real Estate agent here.
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