Choosing a professional to market your property isn’t a clear-cut process but doing your homework could pay off handsomely, writes Harvey Grennan.
Choosing the right real-estate agent to sell your home.
Agood real-estate agent is worth their weight in gold, but how do you find the professional who will actually deliver the best possible sale price for your property?
The first step in choosing a real-estate agent is to obtain appraisals from at least three agencies and then weigh up their estimates. On no account should you tell them the price you’re hoping to achieve, because they won’t want to lose your listing by quoting below that figure. Some agents will overquote to secure the listing, while others will underquote so they can make a quick sale.
“Remember that everything you discuss with a potential agent is entirely negotiable,” says Malcolm Gunning, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia. “Understand the market conditions and have a grasp of average fees, then consider incentivising your agent.”
By this, he means talking to them about setting a basic commission and agreeing to some form of bonus payment should your agent achieve an outcome that’s above the agreed price.
It pays to enter into any sales process with a sound understanding of just what’s going on in the local market. Inspect properties for sale in your neighbourhood and keep track of the auction and sales results. In addition, do your research on the agents themselves, advises Gunning. “Some agents specialise in, say, apartments, so if that’s what you’re selling, it makes sense to check them out first.”
A few years ago you might have found yourself paying out a commission of more than three per cent of the sale price; today, a rate of two per cent – or even less – is common. But beware commission rates that seem too good to be true. How hard will the agent work for you if the reward is going to be so meagre? As an agent once said to me,
“If I am careless with my own money, imagine what I will do with yours.”
Many agents will press for an auction campaign in which they will be the exclusive agent and you will pay all the advertising costs. Auctions work best in a ‘hot’ market; in a buyer’s market, private treaty may be the best tactic. But even in a private-treaty sale, an agent may want you to pay advertising costs. And they will present you with an exclusive-agency agreement to sign, rather than an open-agency one that would leave you free to use other agents. My personal rule is to sign up for an exclusive agency for a limited period, and only if the agent pays for at least some of the advertising.
At the end of the day, chemistry also counts, so choose the agent you feel most comfortable with if he or she ticks all the other boxes.