Selecting a real estate agent to help sell your home is a tough decision. It’s equal parts business and personal – you want someone who knows the industry and will work hard for you, but you also want someone who ‘gets’ you and is easy to deal with.
We’ve put together a quick guide on the common factors that usually affect this decision. Have a read!
Who should you trust to sell your home?
Selling a home is equal parts business and personal. Finding an agent to represent your interests is much the same – you want someone who has the business skills and marketing savvy to get you the best price, but you also want someone who you can trust and see eye to eye with.
It’s not rocket science; we want to make as much as possible from the sale, and to do so we need someone that will go out to bat for us. But all too often, sellers let either the business or personal side of their brain take over, and they end up with an agent or deal that they regret.
Ever hear friends or family complain that they should’ve got more for their home but their agent was ‘a nice person’ so it didn’t matter, or that their agent got a fair price but dealing with them was like pulling teeth?
Neither scenario is ideal. What you really want is to have the best of both worlds – a great price and a great rapport with your agent. Getting there is possible, but it means you have to put some thought into choosing the right one.
You’re going to need to shop around, so to help you make the best choice, here’s a list of what to look out for, courtesy of the team at Hicks Real Estate.
- A great track record
This one should go without saying, but there are people who still get lured in by agency sales speak and don’t actually check their prospective agent’s real-life performance record.
Look at (and definitely ask questions about) things like:
- Years in the industry
- Membership of industry associations
- Recent properties sold (we’ll come back to this)
If the agent can’t provide reliable backup info on any of the above, run for the hills. We’re not just saying this to shut new agencies out of the market – it really is in your best interest to go with someone established and reputable.
Why? Because your agent will need to have knowledge, experience, reputation, and a wide pool of engaged buyers to advertise to. The longer the agent has been around and the better their history, the more reach they have.
- Local knowledge
This is a big one. Local knowledge is an important factor, as it’ll help you get the best possible price and pursue the best marketing approaches for your area.
If your agent knows how much properties of comparable size, location and condition can fetch, then they can set a good starting price that’ll get the right buyers coming along, whether they’re random applicants or the agent’s own contacts.
Sometimes, getting buyers from other areas can be a good thing, but in most suburbs of Brisbane (including our own, Everton Park) buyers tend to already live locally, so having a local agent is a big plus.
In addition to getting a good valuation, having an agent who’s local also means you’ll get more attentive service. Which agent is going to be more enthusiastic – the one that had to drive an hour across town, or the one whose office is right around the corner?
- Marketing and advertising ability
Your real estate agent isn’t just someone who puts a listing up for you and takes a cut of the sale price. Or at least they shouldn’t be.
A good agent will strategically choose how and where to advertise, and whether to sell privately or by auction. They’ll pick the best time for the open house, they’ll offer recommendations on how to make the home look more appealing, and they’ll go above and beyond to make sure you’ve both done everything to secure the highest possible sale price.
Past experience and present success play a significant role in the selling process. The more established and well marketed the agent/agency is, the more likely they are to be able to market your home. Think about it this way: if an agent doesn’t believe in their ability to sell themselves, how well are they going to be able to sell your home?
- Fee Structure
Selling or buying a home is like any other transaction: sellers want the highest price, buyers want the lowest price, and the agent wants the highest commission.
Or do they?
A lot of the time, you’ll see agents advertising unbelievably low rates (e.g. no sale, no fee), which they usually do because they’re desperate. Ask yourself, do you want a desperate agent, or do you want a self-assured and successful one?
Your agent’s sole purpose should be to secure you the best possible deal for your home. Commission and success should naturally follow if they’ve done their job well. If an agent you’re talking to is more focused on signing you up than working out how to make you the most money on your sale, then think twice about choosing them.
- Independent vs. franchise
This final point is related to everything we’ve mentioned above, and it’s perhaps one of the most common hurdles people encounter when trying to pick a selling agent.
Choosing between a big chain and an independent can be difficult. On one hand, a big chain can offer a bigger advertising reach, but at the cost of higher overheads and less personal service.
On the other hand, an independent can offer a highly personal service, but sometimes without the sheer clout of a big-name brand. So which do you choose?
As a rule of thumb, the more local and suburban your home, the more you should favour an independent agent, as they’ll have the local knowledge and flexibility to deal with you on a personal level.
You want someone that can deal with you one-on-one, without KPIs or corporate targets to worry about. Put simply, you want someone who treats you like an individual homeowner, not a number on a monthly spreadsheet.
This isn’t to say that some franchises don’t have great service or lack the personal touch, but in a lot of cases, they just don’t have the flexibility to deal with you and hold your hand the same way an independent can.
In the end it’s your choice – we just want to make sure that you don’t rush into a deal you end up regretting. And we’re not saying Hicks Real Estate is necessarily the right choice for you; there have been occasions when we’ve referred people away because we didn’t think we had the local knowledge or experience to sell a particular property.
That’s what you get at our agency: honesty and openness, whether we get the contract or not.
If you’re thinking about selling your home and have any questions or concerns you’d like to discuss, give us a call on 07 3355 6845.
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