How to choose a real estate agent

How to choose a real estate agent

Choosing a real estate agent to help sell your property is a big decision and one that not everyone gets right. Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice. When looking for an agent, we'd suggest you consider the following:

1. Your personal relationship with them
Depending on where you live, you may already know an agent and know them well. If it's someone you like and trust, then naturally they'd be a good starting point. If nothing else, at least sit-down and chat with this person.

2. What do they know and assess their results
Regardless of how well you know them, ask them questions to gauge their knowledge on the local market and on recent comparable property sales in your area. Also do some research on their sales data and get a feel for how comfortable you are talking to this person. The journey to being best friends when the sold sticker goes up is littered with a few disappointments. 

3. Commission
We've put this one up our list only because we know it ranks highly on yours. All agents charge different commissions and some may even try to sneak in a few bonuses depending on the sale price. The commission is undoubtedly a key factor in making the decision. This is the price you're choosing to pay them , so you need to be comfortable that they'll be worth it. 

4. The size of their agency; is bigger better?
A question that comes up quite often:  'They've got so many listings, they're such a big agency. Will they really have the time that's required to give my property the attention it deserves?'   This is a very fair and valid question. The answer to this is simple; Yes they will. Agencies don't grow by chance, they grow by skill. They're well connected, they have a team of people on hand to help with every aspect, a well oiled machine. If everyone else trusts them, why should't you?

5. Just how hard will they market your property?
Another advantage of big agencies is their existing database of buyers already looking. The marketing you get will most likely be your choice and at your cost, and a good agent will guide you. Naturally is an essential starting place but where to from there? Should you be advertising in the papers? Does the agency have a good social media following? Do they rank well on Google? If your agent can answer 'YES' to each of these, it will make your property easier to find. 

6. How do they anticipate they'll sell your property?
Like we've mentioned above, you've got control of the marketing. However, we also suggest you ask the agent for their advice, as they do this everyday. Ask them for a best case scenario and see what they come back with. If you've got a modern home and you anticipate the buyers to be a young couple without kids, then perhaps ask the following question: How likely are they to read the local paper as opposed to watching a really nice property video on Facebook or Instagram?

7. Price range
Now is the time to listen. We get to see a lot of deals and work with a lot of people. Just because an agent tells you that your place is worth $50K more than what any other agent says , it doesn't mean they should get first option. In fact, it probably means the opposite. We advise you to be realistic with what you expect to get for your property, as should the agent. You may think that there is no harm in giving them a go, but the reality is first impressions last. It'll be much harder down the track to switch to a new agent with a realistic price .

8. I can't decide, should I dual list?
NO! Having two signs out the front doesn't double your chances. It leaves you open for purchasers to play one agent off against the other, and for you to have to do more work than you should . This will inevitably make life difficult for the agents. We suggest making a firm decision up front, and put your faith in that agent to make the deal happen.

9. How much faith should I put in sites like 'rate my agent'?
When it comes to selling, agents are ahead one step ahead of you and they'll turn sites like this into sales tools if they can. How?
Here's an example: Let's say the best agency in town sells 30 properties for the month amongst 3 staff, which equals 10 each. Smaller agencies may sell 12 for the month in total, but pool these numbers into one agent to get them to the top of the list. 

10. What's the value of quality?
Have a look at everything; The way they dress, the materials they hand to you. If everything they're showing you is well thought out and well considered, then it should be safe to assume the same level of quality and the same attention to detail spreads across the agency.

Above all else, take your time and get to know them. Agents are people too! 

Most of all a good agent will focus on the selling and allow you to focus on everything else. They won't push you towards a particular mortgage broker or conveyancer, to the contrary they'll let you find people to work with that you're comfortable with. If you feel that you're being pushed in a particular direction, ask yourself why does it matter to the agent who else you work with?.