Choosing the right real estate agent to sell your property shouldn’t be a matter of ‘the luck of the draw’ but all too often, this is the case. Rather than accepting the first agent you come across, finding the right one can make all the difference to the length of time your home is on the market and the price you finally achieve. But how do you find the best agent when there are so many, and they all seem to shout the same slogans and promises? One of the first things to remember is that most agents are better at selling themselves than selling your home, and many of them aim to sell in the fastest time for the lowest price to get a quick commission.
1. Shop Around, Be Aware of Rip-offs
Before you decide to go with an agent, ask several for appraisals and grill each of them as to why they think your home is worth the price they have estimated. If they can’t show you how they worked it out, move on. Ask them straight out if they will sell your home for the highest price possible. Their answer will show you how good they are at negotiating. Realise that the greatest rip-off in Australian real estate is short-selling, which means selling homes below their true value. Be careful of those whose estimate is far too high and those too low. Veteran Melbourne agent Jim Grigoriou says(1) the average home is short-sold by 10 per cent of its average value.
2. Know What You’re Paying For
You need to take into account the agent’s sales commission. This is legislated in some states, but not in Victoria where the average rates for metropolitan and city areas are around 1.6 per cent and 2.5 per cent, and in regional areas from 2.5 to 3 per cent. The crucial thing to know is what the agent will charge, and factor that into your decision. On top of the commission, most agents are now expecting vendors to pay for the advertising campaign, which was once considered the agent’s role. You’d be forgiven for wondering what they actually do for the thousands of dollars commission. If you find one of the old school agents who will pay for the ads, add them to the positive list.
3. The Qualities Found in Top Agents
When you’ve whittled down your list of possible agents, look for those who offer the lowest risk and the best price. Use your instincts, and sort out those who suggest a very high price just to get your property, and those who earnestly believe it is worth their estimate. Another quality you’ll find in a good agent is the ability to communicate clearly so set down some rules about when they let you know the outcome of an inspection, if there is any buyer feedback, an offer, or request for a contract. This will engender trust, which is essential when you put your most valuable possession in the hands of an agent. Also, choose the agent who will give you tips on how to present your home, so you get the top price in the quickest time.
Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, financial support and “machine equipment“.