Ten top tips for choosing a selling agent
When it comes to selling what is often our largest asset ie: our home or investment property, most of us take the necessary time to interview prospective candidates for the job. It’s vital to ensure that the selling agent who is going to be looking after you and your home is not only professional but also personable, diligent and persuasive. After all, I haven’t yet met a vendor who doesn’t want the maximum price possible in any market. Any selling agent can tell you how good they are (that’s the easy part) but here’s my top 10 tips that will assist in selecting someone who’s not only right for the sale of your home but who has the experience and knowhow to hopefully achieve a superior result:
1. Ask for 3 recent personal references of sellers in your area and their phone numbers. Quite often a chat with other sellers is the best way of finding out how an agent operates and what sets them apart from others in the same area.
2. Visit open homes to see how the selling agent treats buyers– a professional agent will ensure they are attentive and contact ALL buyers following opens.
3. Look for experience but don’t discount enthusiasm. Even though some younger agents may not have been in the game for as long as others, ensure you don’t pass them by due to this alone. Fresh enthusiasm and drive can yield more impressive results, than those jaded agents well past their use-by date.
4. Don’t discount the smaller independent agencies. Big franchise names don’t necessarily equal continuity across all agencies so keep in mind it’s how good the actual selling agent is at his/her job that makes all the difference- not the brand name.
5. Don’t choose on price alone. A trap that so many sellers fall into, simply choosing the agent who quotes you the highest price isn’t necessarily always the best choice. Known as “buying listings” I recommend that you interview agents first, decide on who you feel is the best person for the job and then ask for price estimates.
6. Ask the following questions and then sit back and pay attention: Why should I select you to sell my property over all the other agencies? What can you offer me that they can’t? Selling agents who can sell themselves and are persuasive with you as vendor often employ the same techniques when selling property.
7. Follow your intuition. Though it may not always work, most of us are highly capable of developing a good “vibe” about someone within 30 seconds of first meeting them. If you don’t receive this, or feel the agent comes across as non-genuine, dishonest or uninterested then you know who not to choose.
8. Look for local experience. Though it’s common sense to select a local agent (who can show buyers through your property quickly if need be geographically) I’m surprised at the number of sellers who choose agents over the other side of town. You need to choose a local agent who knows the area inside-out and intimately enough to be able to assist buyers with local information and suburb “know-how”.
9. Peruse the marketing carefully. Most agencies offer packages, which include online and print ads, signage, flyers and targeted campaigns. Be sure you are 100% happy with the copy before it goes public and include anything you believe relevant in the advertising. After all, no-one knows the positive attributes of your home like you and other buyers will need to know about them.
10. Ask the selling agent to show you how they would show/sell your home to a potential buyer. A little like role play, I have found this can be a useful (and eye-opening) demonstration by selling agents, in providing a “realistic” viewing as to how it’s likely to be done for real buyers. In a cooler market, it’s even more important that selling agents are able to conduct this effectively and persuade buyers who otherwise might walk away from a property before giving it consideration.
You’ll notice the above tips don’t include any tips for negotiating fees. It’s a given these days that we will all ask for a discount on fees- after all, it’s a right of passage for Australians to ask selling agents to “sharpen their pencil” here, however I would caution about choosing a selling agent based on fee alone. A professional and capable agent should be able to easily cover the lesser fee of their cheaper colleagues by achieving a superior price outcome in any market.