Thinking of Selling Your House?

Thousands of agents have posted their details online for you to view

Get Started

What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent

If you’re thinking about potentially selling your home, one of the first tasks will be to find the right real estate agent. Some sellers will simply opt for the agent who offers them the best price for their home. The agent might ask questions leading into this, such as asking what you think your home is worth. Although this may sound perfectly reasonable, there are many other factors in addition to price to consider when choosing a real estate agent.

Some of these other qualities include experience, skill, and commission. You’ll want to compare your options carefully before making a decision. Register your details at LocalAgentFinder to start receiving and comparing agent proposals. A good real estate agent may be able to estimate the price your home will fetch on the market, but it’s important to remember that he or she is also trying to sell their services. Agents want your listing, and may quote a high price that will reinforce your own belief of what you think your property is worth as a hook to entice you. That initial estimate may be accurate, but it is certainly no guarantee of what the actual sale price will be.

The following are a few of the important key factors to consider before you choose a real estate agent to help you sell your home:

Professional Experience in your Market:

The majority of real estate agents will focus on a particular neighbourhood or region. Choosing an estate agent who knows your suburb will make a world of difference, because they will know exactly what buyers in the area are looking for. This could include the location, schools, businesses, or local amenities.

You should look at the number of listings that the real estate agent has. If they have too few, this may mean that they don’t have very much experience or acclaim. However, if you manage to ask the right questions you could find out that although the agent is new to the industry, they are eager to become more established. This could mean that they will go the extra mile to secure your business and sell your home at the highest possible price.

Asking for references is a good start, but you’ll also want to find out the information from the agent’s past three to five sales. This will give you an honest assessment of the agent’s experience and ability. With references, you will only learn about the agent’s most successful sales. Instead, you want an honest view of how the agent has handled both easy and more complex real estate transactions.

Another factor to consider is the history of sale prices for comparable homes in your area. A good real estate agent will be able to give you a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA, which shows you the sales of comparable homes in your suburb for the past 6 months.  A local agent would also be able to give you the full story behind these numbers and enlighten you as to how this would impact your own sale.

A Solid Marketing Strategy:

You will also need to find out how the real estate agent plans on marketing your home. There are numerous ways to advertise property in today’s multimedia market, and you don’t want to choose an agent who limits your buyer pool with a singular approach. Feel free to ask your agent for a written Marketing Plan.

A few of the top marketing methods that are utilised today include open house inspections, direct mail advertising, the internet, newspapers, and magazines. Most agents will use all of these on a regular basis. You can ask specifically how and when each of these will be implemented to sell your home.

One specific question to ask would be whether or not your agent plans on using a professional photographer. This is important because one of the first ways that buyers will screen potential properties is over the internet. If they see poor quality photos that are too dark, blurry, or don’t show off the property’s best features, they may gain a negative impression. This could prevent the buyer from taking any interest in your house, because first impressions are so critical. You’ll want to bear in mind that not all buyers will be local, and they may rely primarily on internet photos as part of their initial selection process. The internet plays a vital role in selling your home.

There are numerous methods that can be used to market your home, but a slick sales approach isn’t everything. You’ll need to weigh each method’s costs and benefits, since you will be paying for the advertising. You should find out if there will be any upfront costs, or if these are covered by the real estate agent’s fees. Although advertising is used to show off your property, don’t forget that it also helps advertise your real estate agent as well. Any traffic that your home listing helps generate can be capitalised on by our real estate agent for leads on other properties he or she is representing.

You should choose a real estate agent who will balance the advertising costs with the amount of buyers who express interest in your home. You want an agent who doesn’t just generate initial interest, but also genuine buyers who will follow through with offers. Compare marketing strategies by using the free online dashboard at LocalAgentFinder to gain access to real estate agents in your area.

A good real estate agent will be able to give you an ethical, honest assessment of your property and whether or not any improvements could be needed to help improve its value. They will be able to give you specific tips to sell your home at the highest profit. If you choose an estate agent who does not give you any of this critical feedback, you may be unlikely to fetch the highest price. It’s better to hear an honest opinion about removing your porcelain doll collection in order to realise a higher overall profit.

Negotiation Skills:

Selling a property is an important transaction. In fact, it tends to be one of the biggest transactions that most people will make, so it’s worth finding a skilled negotiator to best represent your interests. There are numerous complexities to selling a property, which can be difficult to navigate on your own.

Find out if the real estate agent plans to handle all calls from both you and any potential buyers, and if they have planned time off that will come up during your contract. If this is the case, find out who will be representing them during this time and what their qualifications are. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. The manner in which the agent answers your questions will help indicate how they will handle potential buyers. You want to choose an agent who is professional, organised, and efficient.

You also want to choose someone who can provide you with the sales data that shows a high list to sales ratio. This means that the real estate agent manages to sell a high percentage of the properties that they represent. Sales prices that are close to listing prices are also a good sign.

One question to ask to find out more about your agent’s negotiating skills is “What is my property worth?” The real estate should come prepared to your meeting with a list of comparable properties, which will help them provide you with an accurate price range for your home. However, be wary of agents who ask you to name the price, as mentioned above.

Another way to get a sense of how the real estate agent will handle negotiation is to look at their marketing examples. Ask to see some of the print based or internet marketing samples, to see if they use terms such as “owner willing to consider all offers” or “owner must sell.” If you are willing to accept a lower price in order to land a faster contract, this would be appropriate language. However, if you are holding out for the highest price you probably don’t want to show all your cards to buyers. This will attract lowball offers from bargain seekers.

Agent Fees, Commissions, and Contracts:

It’s best not to wait when it comes to asking about fees and contracts. These are details that must be discussed upfront with a potential agent. Remember that the lowest fee does not necessarily equate the best deal. Ask the real estate agent if they are willing to be flexible with their commission and fees. If the estate agent is willing to quickly lower their fees or commission, this could indicate desperation. It also could indicate that they would similarly lower the sales price of your home during contract negotiations. This isn’t cause to rule out the agent completely, but it’s a red flag that means you should ask more questions.

A good real estate agent will know that they are worth their commission and should be comfortable quoting this amount and stating their contract terms. They should be able to comfortably answer questions such as the following:

  • Do you have a cancellation clause?
  • What happens if I am unhappy with your services?
  • Are there penalties if I withdraw early?

In the end, the best advice is to interview several real estate agents in order to find the right individual who works for your situation. You shouldn’t feel intimidated by a real estate agent or a referral from friends into making a decision. Taking your time to research and interview candidates will pay off when you have a hardworking, experienced, and skilled agent on your side.

The first step is to narrow down the field to a few suitable candidates to interview. You can get started by registering your details at LocalAgentFinder. There are thousands of agents registered at this no-obligation comparison service, which gives you plenty of options to pick and choose from.

LocalAgentFinder View all articles by LocalAgentFinder

The only place to compare agent fees online.

In the market for an agent?

Compare local agent fees and services upfront, for free.

Get Started