SELECTING A REAL ESTATE AGENT
Choosing a real estate agent is one of the most important decisions you make when selling your property. After all, buying or selling your home is one of the biggest decisions you're ever likely to make in your life.
Therefore, it's important that you pick a real estate agent that not only has all the necessary credentials but one that also has something in common with you. A trustworthy and reliable real estate agent will take the time to listen to you and find out exactly what it is that you are trying to achieve.
You need to be able to work together with the agent and both have a good understanding of each other.
1). Referral from friends or family:
Selling your home is not just a financial decision but it can be a very emotional and stressful time. Therefore, it is important that you have somebody who you can trust and also someone who understands you when it comes to going through the process of selling your property.
One of the first steps in choosing a real estate agent should be asking friends and family if they know a trustworthy and reliable real estate agent. Your friends and family understand you the most, so are a good source when it comes to selecting agents.
2). Ask to speak to existing clients:
Aside from speaking to friends and family, you can also speak with existing clients of the agent who have recently sold their property or have their property listed for sale with the agent. This is another way in which you can ask what sort of a person the real estate agent is. Do they respond in a timely manner? Do they listen to you? Do they meet expectations? These are some of the questions you should ask when you select an agent.
3). Look at current listings:
A good agent will be in demand, so will most likely have a healthy stable of properties for sale.
You also need to check if the properties that they have currently listed are similar to the property that you are looking to sell. Are these properties in the same price range? Are they in the same area that you looking to sell? Check to see how long they have been on the market, as a property will become stale in the eyes of buyers if it has been for sale for an extended time.
You should also ask if the properties that they have sold were close to the original target price.
4). Are they local?:
One of the things that can set agents apart is their knowledge of the local area. If they reside in the local area, they are most likely to have a vested interest in understanding how the local market works.This is certainly an advantage, but it is not critical. The main thing is that they are active in your area and have a good understanding of the quirks and nuances of that location.
Another reason to use an active local real estate agent, is that you get the benefit of them advertising other similar properties in the area to yours.
5). How does the agent sell most of his properties?:
If most properties are sold by auction in your area, you need an agent who sells most of their properties by auction. However if you do not want an auction, you may prefer an off-market sale or private sale, after all auctions are stressful. It makes sense therefore to use an agent who specialises in off-market sales or private sales.
6). Training and licensing:
All real estate agents in Australia are required to be licensed under the relevant Real Estate legislation. The licensing requirements vary from State to State in Australia.
You should also check to see if the estate agent is a member of a professional body for real estate agent. In Victoria, it is the REIV.
How long has the agent been in business for? Just like any profession, the longer you have been practising, the better you are likely to be. Not only that but if you have been in business for a long time, it shows that you should know what you are doing. A solid track record over a long period of time provides you with a great level of reassurance.
Even though the director of the real estate agent may be very experienced, check to see how experienced the person is who will be managing the day to day sale of your property, as they will be dealing with potential buyers for you.
This is a very important point when it comes to dealing with a real estate agent. You need to be updated on a regular basis as to the progress of the marketing of your property.
You should agree with the agent how often you are to be updated on the marketing, and the best method to do so. It is usual to be updated after each open for inspection (if an auction campaign) but it should be at least once a week. Whatever your preference is, your agent should live up to your expectations.
9). Do they work for a reputable firm:
A real estate agent is only as good as the firm they work for. Does the real estate firm have a good reputation?
Do they have well-rounded experience as a firm Are they members of a professional body with an on-going commitment to staff training? How many agents are working in the office and are they part of a larger group?
Of course, you can google the agent's name for any recent publicity (good or bad). After you can find out things about them they won’t tell you.
These are some of the questions that will help you to determine the quality and reputation of the agent and the agency.
10). Award winners:
Although it is not critical, it certainly helps if the agent has won awards for their services in the real estate industry. Agents will normally proudly display their awards and have them hanging on their office wall, and might even have copies on their website.
At least this can give you peace of mind that the agent is a high achiever and respected within the real estate industry.