"Who you gonna call...?"
So, you have decided to sell your home and have made a decision that you are going to use a Licensed Salesperson from a well known Real Estate Agency.
But...how do you pick the right person? There are a number of things to consider:
This is potentially your greatest financial asset and it is essential to get the "right person" for the job. You need someone professional, trustworthy, knowledgeable, focused on getting the best outcome for you - i.e the highest possible price, shortest time-frame and with the lowest hassle to you...Someone with outstanding marketing ideas, a comprehensive buyer network/database, a "can do" attitude and a team behind them. So, you may ask...how do I find that person?
Here are some things to consider when choosing the right person to trust with selling your home or property:
When you interview a potential agent, consider how much time they spend listening to you and finding out what is important to you. By asking open ended questions, demonstrating genuine empathy and understanding, being friendly and professional they should make you feel you can trust them, they "get you" and they understand your situation, your home selling goals and your time-frame.
It may seem obvious but do not get distracted with a promise to get a ridiculously high price with no research/statistics to explain this, especially if it seems too good to be true. Focus on asking questions about recent sales, comparable properties and evidence of sales stories similar to your property. There is a wide range of commission rates and many different fee structures but when thinking about fees, remember to clarify what is included, excluded, what you can expect for that money and what advice, professionalism, expertise and service you will be getting. Many agents will negotiate and work with you to come up with a fee that is fair and reflects the amount of work, effort and ultimately the result they will bring you. A commission based on a % of sale price is likely to provide more incentive to negotiate harder to get you a higher price than a fixed-fee arrangement.
Some people just pick the most well known R.E salesperson or agent in town. If that agent has a very large number of listings, then you may want to ask how much of their time, their energy, effort, advice and their service you personally will be getting? Will you see them at all or just their P.A (or just their answering phone)? An agent with less listings may be more focused on your property. Popularity aside, you should be assured that the person you choose will have your property as their upmost priority and will be focused not just on getting you a sale, but on getting you the highest possible price out there.
The right agent will be able to give you good advice about presenting the property to its best, addressing any issues that might be a barrier to a buyer and looking at ways to maximize your sale price and minimize your stress.
Look for evidence that they genuinely know the area where your property is located. Can they tall you about recent sales, statistics and express knowledge about the area (schools, parks, etc). Have they sold many property in the neighbourhood, suburb, location? How well do they know the area, what do they like about it?
You should definitely ask about what sales strategy they plan to use and why? Auction? Tender? No price? Fixed price? Are they focused on getting a sale for you or will they be motivated to get you the highest price possible in the market. One question to ask yourself is whether a lump sum amount or a commission based on a % of sale price will provide the agent more of an incentive to get you the highest price?
Other good questions to ask are about what pricing strategy and marketing tools do they recommend? Who will pay - you or them or the company or a combination? What will you get exactly for your marketing money? Print media and internet high profile marketing is very expensive, so be aware that "free marketing" packages or very low cost marketing packages may give you less profile and potentially therefore attract less buyers. You want and need the very best marketing you can afford - great staging, fantastic professional photos and video, great exposure on-line and in print, as the more eyes that see your property = more chance of offers = more money for you. And you should be prepared to pay for such quality marketing. You really do get what you pay for in marketing expenditure.
Ask about complex matters (if relevant to your home) and find out if they have dealt with this. Some complex things can be heritage properties, cross lease properties, un-permitted work, zoning issues, asbestos, in-situ tenants, title changes, unclear boundaries or boundary disputes, planning regulations, LIM's, partial renovations, deceased estates, complicated or meddling families, buying from overseas, selling from overseas, working with trusts, complicated or politically tense sales of land, buildings or purchases, enduring power of attorney, subdivisions, multi-dwelling investment properties, mortgagee sales, or any issue that concerns your property. Feel free to ask for examples of how they have handled these kind of situations. Look for understanding of new legislation and new and relevant rules and how they may apply to your situation.
Listen for reassurance that they will give you honest feedback. They may not tell you what you want to hear at times, but a good agent will always tell you what you need to hear.
I hope this helps give you some ideas of things to consider when looking at who to trust to assist you in selling your home or property. Ultimately, my advice is to ask lots of questions and also think about how you feel when dealing with them... do they feel like someone you could trust? Do they listen? Do they show understanding? Are they giving you advice that sounds right to you?
So, in summary...be wary of promises of an unusally high price they may tell you will get, or the "perfect buyer" they already have ready in the wings and/ or the "free" marketing offers....instead trust your gut instinct on who feels like the right person. Only you know who feels like a "trusted adviser", who gives you confidence they can get the job done. This way you will be well on your way to getting the best possible outcome for you. I wish you all the best.