5 tips for choosing a good real estate agent
Starting out 15 years ago as a buyers agent, I thought one of my main roles would be to protect my clients from pushy agents. At that time, the property industry was a lot more adversarial, especially for women. There are still a few old school pushy agents around but generally the industry is changing and modernising. Agents without good people skills and emotional intelligence will not last long.
Nurses, pharmacists and doctors are the most respected professionals. The least respected are car salesmen, advertising people and real estate agents according to recent surveys. My experience with local real estate agents is nearly always positive. The ones I find problematic I could count on one hand.
Often people who have had a good experience buying their home ring up the same agent when it is time to sell. That can sometimes work but is a bit of a lottery. The average churn rate for owning a property is around seven years. A lot can happen in seven years.
Since so much is riding on getting a good job done when selling your home, my advice is to do as much research selling as you do when buying. Here are some tips:
Who is the most active, experienced agent in your area and price bracket? The best way to find an agent with sales depth is to go on realestate.com.au/sold. Here you will see recent sales in your postcode or street, which shows you who has been selling there lately. Many times, an active agent already has a database of interested buyers and their previous sales will have under bidders or potential buyers already.
2. Local knowledge
Local experience still counts for a lot. Find an agent who is deeply embedded in your locality and community. Talk to a few at open houses or auctions. Talk to recent previous clients if you can.
These days 87% of people search for property online. Does your agent or agency have a good online presence? Ask to see their marketing proposal, sales strategy and suggested advertising options. Don’t pay for options that are promoting the agency more than advertising your property.
4. Commission rate
Don’t pick an agent purely on the best commission rate. You can shoot yourself in the foot by saving a few grand on commission while missing out on tens of thousands in the sale price.
5. Listing price
Beware of agents quoting you a high selling price without a lot of sales history. Some agents practice what is known as “buying the listing” and then “conditioning the vendor”. This is using your greed to get you listed and then saying the market does not support that price to get you to reduce your expectations.
As a buyers agent I have access to more online information and data to verify an agent’s track record. As a vendors advocate, I take the same skills and expertise I use as a buyers agent to assist a vendor through the sales process.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this service.