Tips to Find the Right Agent to Sell Your Home

When you are selling your home, you need to have a real estate agent to help you get the highest possible sale price, in the best possible way.

Q: Why is it important to choose the right agent to sell your home?
A: It is important on several levels, especially when the market is slightly calm or it’s difficult. When the market is booming, nearly every one can sell property, so in a weaker market you have to hire the right person who has the know-how and experience. It all boils down to how you relate to them, how comfortable you are with them, how they intend on marketing your home and how they negotiate with buyers. In short, you need an agent who is going to do the right job for you and one that you have complete confidence in.

Q: How do you find the right one?
A: In real estate, recommendations by word of mouth is important. Instead of an agent telling you what they have done, it is far better to hear the good they have done from other people. It doesn’t matter whether you choose an agent with 25 years of experience or one who has been in the industry for just a year. Quite frequently, newer agents are more eager and not as complacent as some that have been around for years. They will go the extra mile because they’re working to make a name for themselves and build a brand.  Likewise is the agent who works alone in their owns the business.  This agent has their reputation at stake here and the ‘buck stops with them’.  Also important is not to choose your agent using online rating sites as the agents pay for this service and the ranking only takes into consideration the volume of properties sold (which might have been heavily discounted) and the highest value in the suburb.  It does not take into consideration the number of days it took to sell the home or if the property was sold for more than the asking price.  Nor does it consider the agent who sells in multiple areas!

Q: What are the biggest misconceptions when it comes to picking a real estate agent?
A: There are two misconceptions. First, you save money by hiring the cheapest agent. Second, people view real estate agents as rich people driving in nice cars and wearing black suits.  In the first one, it could end up costing you money. You wouldn’t go to a cut-price dentist or surgeon, so it doesn’t make sense for you to hire a cheap real estate agent to sell your home, which is probably your biggest asset.  As for the second misconception, there are many agents who don’t fit that stereotype. Real estate agents come in all shapes and sizes, so an agent who wears the best suit isn’t necessarily the best one to sell your property.

Q: After getting a few quotes to compare, what are the factors that you need to consider?
A: The most important thing is the word of mouth recommendation. If you’re hiring an agent and don’t have any recommendation, act carefully. You also need an agent who will work after hours, and not all agents are willing to do that. Give preference to agents who are up to date with the latest technology because there are many tools available today. From a marketing perspective, choose an agent who doesn’t place their eggs in one basket. So, use a combination of photography, different websites, different print media and social media, too!

Q: Does a higher commission normally effective in a price premium on a sale?
A: The more commission that you are paying, the more encouragement you’re giving the agent to get the best possible. This is how it works in real estate. Usually, the agents who charge a low commission are after a quick sale. For every property that an agent might sell at a higher commission, an agent charging a lower commission would have to sell two or three properties to get a similar amount.

Q: How does an exclusivity normally works?
A: When a seller signs an agency contract, they’re usually signing up with only one agent, and that is how it should work. When you begin multiple listings with various agencies then nobody will take accountability. There should be only one agent to take ownership and responsibility for bringing your results. The exclusivity period is usually 90 days and ins negotiable.  Watch out and be very wary of agreements that have no end date and the small print hidden within the agreement saying you must give 30 or even 60 days notice to cancel.

Q: What agent “promises” should you consider a red flag?
A: An agent that promises anything should be a red flag. Go by track record. Look deep into what an agent means when they promise to provide feedback. Look for concrete proof of the ways the agent gives feedback. How do they make follow up calls to prospective buyers after an open house? What kind of weekly reports will be given to you, both from follow-up calls and the different website analytics they utilise?

Q: Do I need to pay for “extras” like home styling and rental furniture when you’re selling?
A: You don’t need it if your home is already furnished, but there is nothing wrong with considering it, depending on the type of property. Styling can cost you, but it can also help you get the highest possible price and even help to sell the home in a shorter period.  There are properties that appear hollow, empty and cold with no furniture and styling and there are also incidents where styling can make your property look and feel fake. The nature of the property determines your decision and your agent should be able to provide the best advise for your property.

Q: My final tip for picking the right agent for your property?
A: Those middle road, really nice, honest-style people who have been working as agents for a long time and have established a good reputation within the community make the best real estate agents. They may not be flashy or known, but they get down and get on with business. Those people are most likely better alternative to agents who are always propping up their status as being the best in their area.

It is important to use word of mouth recommendations. Avoid websites that compare and recommend agents because almost all of the websites are there with an agenda and that is to make a profit. In exchange for being recommended, these sites might get a slice of the commission. The best agents don’t have to use such websites.

Major takeaways:
Be smart in choosing your agent – you could lose a lot of money if you choose wrong.
Always be guided by word of mouth recommendations.
Don’t avoid agents who have been in the business for a short time or who work alone in their own agency – they could be more driven and will go above and beyond.
Pick an agent who will work after hours – especially if you are working full-time.
A bigger share of commission can motivate agents to aim for a higher price.
Don’t automatically believe the agent who calls themselves as “the best” is truly the best. Agents who “fly under the radar” are the smarter choice.
Be careful of comparison websites that endorse certain agents – they may be getting paid to do so.