Selling your home can be one of the most stressful and/or exciting times in your life.
Once you come to the realisation that you want or need to sell you have made the first important decision.
Your next step is to choose an agent that will work for you. This can be tricky as most agents will tell you they work for you to get top dollar and they are all about customer service. It can be a real minefield for the home owner. Then there is the topic of commission and marketing costs. I have heard some sellers say they couldn’t decide between two agents so they flipped a coin.
Personally, I wouldn’t want to risk losing thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars if the coin goes the wrong way. Or choosing the cheapest agent who is prepared to drop their fees and commission to get the job and is already proving they cannot negotiate with your potential buyers, by giving in to you.
My word of advice:
Like Your Agent
Firstly, make sure you have a great connection with your agent and you trust them entirely. To get the best result they need to be on board with you and you will need to discuss your reasons for selling along with your expectations.
Ask for testimonials and references from their other sellers in the area. You may even elect to talk with one or two of them. The agent should be able to provide you with these details. Click here to view my testimonials.
List to Sell Ratio
Ask the agent to provide examples of their list to sell ratios. What this means is what they ended up selling a property for compared with what it was listed for last. To work this out you divide the sale price by the last list price and then multiply by 100 to get a percentage. What you would be looking for is as close to 100% as possible. You could also check this out for yourself on the internet.
Find out what the agent’s marketing strategy is and if they have been successful with this strategy before with the same type of property. This is not an opportunity to find the agent with the cheapest marketing package. You do get what you pay for.
Then we get to price, ask the agent to substantiate their appraisal price/range based on other comparable sales in the area. These sales should not go back any further than 12 months as the market changes regularly and going back any further may not be a true indication of where your property sits today. Ideally, the last 6 months would be better. Sometimes, you may have a property that is not comparable with anything else in the area so similarities may be drawn with properties in other areas.
Number of Sales & Listings
Have a look at the number of sales and listings the agent has in an area. This can be a way of choosing agents but does not always mean you will get the best by going with the agent with the most. Quite often the agent’s dealing in large volumes will not be the agent that actually works with you on a daily basis once your property hits the market.
Over the years I have worked with many customers that comment that I always answer my phone or call them back quickly and how others more than often never get back to them or they have to talk with their assistant. This causes great frustration for both buyers and home owners.
Imagine engaging an agent, based on your first impression to sell your home. Then someone else does your open homes and inspections, then another person again provides you with feedback. I have had sellers tell me they engaged agents and they never saw them or spoke with them again during the entire marketing campaign.
I have had buyers tell me that they could never get hold of an agent that has a listing they wanted to inspect and missed out on buying the property. Who knows if that buyer would have paid more for the property.
Your agent should be working for you, not just looking for a quick easy sale.
Commission is of course a consideration in your total assessment of agents, but it should not be your only one. Real Estate agents are quite unique in what they do and their results vary greatly. A poor choice in agents can cost you dearly. This should be your last criteria for agent selection. Again, you get what you pay for.
Sell with an agent or go it alone?
With the introduction of do-it-yourself websites to sell your home, a lot more people are considering this as an option. Some of these companies charge upfront with no guarantee of a sale. Once they get their money, they walk away and leave you with the headaches.
If you have the time and the resources to sell your home then you may snag a buyer quickly out of sheer luck. You could save yourself some money. Generally though it will end up costing you in time on market, time you could be doing what you are good at, and your eventual sales price.
By going through my suggested methods to assist you in choosing an agent, your result will be far superior to going it alone. I have inherited listings in the past where people have used these sell your own property options and they have wasted up to $5000 with no result and no assistance besides providing the home owner with some photos, signboard, and a very ordinary internet listing. This cost these sellers in the end as they still ended up paying for my commission on top of their original $5000 investment and it took a lot longer to sell than it should have.
I know this all sounds a bit overwhelming, but once you make the right decision, your agent will guide you through the steps for sale. You can then focus on your next adventure.