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How do I choose the right Real Estate Agent?

One of the most important elements when choosing the real estate agent to represent you is ‘trust’.

An agent offering you the lowest commission rate and/or the highest appraisal is not necessarily the best option. To make your selection easier, take the advice of the professionals:  
  • Ask your colleagues, family, friends and neighbours if they are able to refer you to a proactive agent
  • If you are unable to receive referrals, search the internet for reviews from past clients of local agents
 
When you interview your potential agent, ask the following questions:
  • How many properties did you sell last year and last month?
  • How many buyers are you working with at the moment?
  • Can you provide me with an example of your marketing campaign?
  • What charges will I incur if the house doesn't sell?
  • If I am not happy with your performance, how do I cancel our agreement?
  • Can you provide me with a list of your past clients and testimonials?
  • How often will I receive feedback on the progress of my sale?
  • Can you provide me with 3 recent sales in the area, similar to my property, and what they sold for?
  • What is the average house price in my area?
  • Do you have similar properties to mine currently for sale?
  • What is your average days on market?
Here are some tips to help you choose the agent that’s right for you.

What are the signs of a good agent?
When you speak to the agent, request an appraisal, not a valuation (this can only be done by a licensed valuer). When the agent inspects your home make sure you give them an inspection! Pay attention to how they dress as this can reflect their attitude.

Your agent won’t get buyers to part with large amounts of money if they don’t look and act professionally. If the agent doesn’t impress you, they won’t impress the buyers.

Shop around
Shop for an agent the way you would shop for a good lawyer, accountant, mechanic, plumber or any other professional.

Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions
Ask things like:
  • “How often can I expect to hear from you?”
  • “What sort of feedback will you give me from potential buyers” and “How frequently?”
  • “Who else in your office would work on the sale campaign?”
  • “Are you too busy to take this on?”
  • “Will you handle the sale personally?”

Ask about a marketing approach
Make sure you ask about how and where your property will be advertised and what types of buyers will be targeted.
  • Does the agent have a buyer database, for instance? Web marketing is an essential component of any campaign but how effective is the agent’s website?
  • What strategies will they employ to make sure buyers find your property on their website rather than another agent’s listing’?

Ask for feedback on your property’s presentation
An experienced agent will have ideas about how to improve your property to ensure a successful sale. They will be honest about any problems they can see. If you don’t get both positive and negative feedback about the property, you might be talking to the wrong agent.

Talk price
If one agent gives a vastly higher opinion of your property’s value, try not to get carried away. This is the most costly mistake a property owner can make – signing up with the most optimistic agent. You want a realistic opinion of your property’s value, one based on the agent’s sound knowledge of the area.

Remember, it’s not the seller or the agent who decides what a property is worth, it’s the buyer.

Finding the ideal combination of professionalism, experience and drive can be challenging in an industry where skills vary so widely. Now that you’re ready to speak to an agent, we hope that you’ll consider a First National agent. With around 550 offices in Australia and New Zealand, we’d like the opportunity to prove “We put you first”.

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