Choosing The Right Real Estate Agent
Choosing the right real estate agent, one with a suitable level of experience and who you know will represent you with honesty and integrity is a vital step in the sale of your home.
Taking some time to research local agents by talking to their past and existing clients will help you get a feel for their negotiating skills, levels of communication and reliability, rather than just choosing the first agent that you come across.
Here are some of the more commonly asked questions about finding a real estate agent. Following these tips will ensure you select an agent who is qualified and capable of getting the job done and one that you have an affinity with.
How Do I Choose an Agent?
Selling your property is probably the biggest financial transaction of your life. Therefore it isimperative that you do some research on the agent that will be representing you.
Many owners take the agents at face value and don’t realise until it is too late that they should have spent some time researching the agent. Sure you can ask for written testimonials but honestly, they are like references: you never see a bad one.
When researching and finding a real estate agent you need to consider experience, trust, word of mouth, testimonials and product review sites. More details below.
Beware of ‘Discounted Fees’
If you have an agent telling you that they will discount their fee if you ‘sign with them today’ or that other classic where they claim to have a buyer that will buy today and you just need to sign the paperwork, then beware!
Real estate is an extremely competitive industry and agents compete for listings all the time. Experienced and professional agents will have a list of buyers that they can bring to view your property. You should never feel tempted to list with a particular agent just because they claim to ‘have the buyer’.
Regarding discounting the selling fee, this is a pressure tactic used by some agents to sign you up today without allowing you sufficient time to think about your decision or talk to other agents. Agents should have empathy and should appreciate that you may need time to digest the information that you have discussed. This is your home and you are the one in control. You should never feel pressured to enter into an agreement with anyone. If in doubt don’t!
Researching Local Agents
The best way to research an agent is to hear from the agents past and current clients.
There are a number of ways to do this.
- Online – online reviews from sites like Ratemyagent.com are a way of obtaining genuine feedback from members of the public on local businesses. Service providers are rated using a 5 star rating system. Another way is to view your agents Facebook Page and view the ‘posts by others’. This is usually a very strong indication of how others feel about the service that was provided. Pay special attention to what is being said by others and place less importance on the promotional material that the real estate office has provided.
- Past clients – any reputable agent will happily provide names, address, date of sale and contact numbers of their past clients. Also ask if the property sold close to the asking price. This will demonstrate the negotiation skills of the agent. Call these owners to ask what their experience was like. If you are like most owners you will probably decide against this. Think carefully before dismissing this idea. Isn’t it best to spend 10 minutes making a few phone calls then to later on regret underselling your home because you chose an inexperienced agent or worse still, one that wasn’t acting in your very best interests? Not researching the agent is like buying a car without a test drive. I have met many people over the years who regret not checking out their agent prior to appointing them. Don’t make the same mistake.
Other ways to ‘check out’ potential agents is to contact their current clients. When considering an agent take some time to knock on the door of some of their current listings. Explain to the owner that you are considering using ‘such and such’ and you were wondering if they would mind telling you about their experience. Has the agent delivered on their promises? Do they receive regularly feedback after inspections? Are they kept up to date with what is happening regarding their property? Given their time over would they still choose this agent?
You can also attend open homes or enquire on a property as a buyer and see what sort of follow up you receive from the agent and how you are treated. Listen carefully to their dialogue and ask yourself, ‘is this the agent that I want representing me and my property’?
Unfortunately most potential sellers will not undertake these checks. Sadly they find out too late that they should have. You only have one opportunity to ‘launch’ your property to the world. It is imperative that you take time in finding a real estate agent and give your choice of agent the careful consideration that it deserves.