Find­ing the right real es­tate agent

Con­sumer tips pro­vided by REIQ

Whitsunday Times - - REAL ESTATE -

REAL es­tate agent re­fer­ral web­sites are sprout­ing on the in­ter­net ev­ery day, but con­sumers of­ten want to know if th­ese web­sites are a good way to find an agent.

The REIQ rec­om­mends con­sumers do their re­search us­ing a broad range of sources be­fore they ap­point an agent.

Th­ese sources in­clude talk­ing to fam­ily and friends for word-of-mouth re­fer­rals, look­ing at the most pro­lific sign­boards in your area – an easy way to spot which agent is do­ing brisk busi­ness as you drive around – along with look­ing at the ma­jor list­ings por­tals to see which agents have plenty of list­ings in your area.

Re­mem­ber to check the re­cently sold sec­tion too.

Ad­di­tional re­search can be done through re­fer­ral web­sites but the REIQ cau­tions users to be very clear about the re­sults th­ese web­sites pro­vide.

What many peo­ple may not re­alise when they use th­ese sites is that the agents who are pre­sented in the search re­sults may pay a fee to be in­cluded and pre­sented to the con­sumer. And if they don’t pay, their name sim­ply won’t be in­cluded in the re­sults.

For many con­sumers this will not be an is­sue. Af­ter all, you pay to be in­cluded in the Yel­low Pages, or you can pay to be in­cluded in Google’s search re­sults. How­ever, th­ese agent re­fer­ral busi­nesses can be con­fus­ing in the way the re­sults are some­times pre­sented.

It may seem as though the web­site will re­turn the most suit­able agents in your area out of a to­tal pool of all work­ing real es­tate agents in your area, but this is rarely the case. It is usu­ally sim­ply a list of pay­ing agents in your area, and not at all a qual­i­fied list of the most well-suited to your search query.

What is also less well-known to con­sumers is ex­actly how the fee struc­ture works, and this is partly be­cause it varies from busi­ness model to busi­ness model.

Some re­fer­ral web­sites take a cut of the com­mis­sion while oth­ers charge the agent a per-click or per-lead rate.

Some of our mem­ber agents are frus­trated with th­ese sites be­cause they feel there is a lack of qual­ity con­trol on the part of the re­fer­ring web­site. For agents who take great pride in their pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and their in­dus­try skills and knowl­edge, ap­pear­ing along­side an agent who takes no such care in their own skills and knowl­edge is frus­trat­ing.

Re­fer­ral sites are not ex­clu­sively used in the real es­tate space. We have seen them crop up in a num­ber of other mar­kets, such as in­sur­ance and mort­gage bro­kers.

REIQ mem­ber agents are re­quired, as part of their mem­ber­ship, to main­tain their pro­fes­sional knowl­edge and ev­ery year must up­date their skills.

To find an REIQ agent in your area visit: www.reiq.com/fin­d­an­a­gent.

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