Although this is a biased viewpoint (as a real estate agent myself) I just can’t stand bad real estate agents! It frustrates me that innocent, and likely quite lovely, people are going to lose out on potentially tens (or even hundreds in some cases!) of thousands of dollars by making a bad choice of sales representative when selling their home.
Sometimes you can spot them a mile away, and sometimes you need to get really close to find out what they are truly like. Unfortunately these things cannot be spotted by simply checking to see if they are “cheap” or what they have sold in the area. You’ll need to dig a little deeper.
Ask questions like:
“How did you sell that property?”
“Why did you recommend that method of sale and did it eventuate as you expected?”
“Can you elaborate on how you managed the negotiation process?”
A brief or flippant answer is NEVER a good sign.
A good agent will be a nice person. Naturally they need to be approachable to win business, but there are millions of nice people in this world, you’ll need to be quite probing when interviewing potential sales people.
An agent MUST give you their opinion on the value of your home – it is illegal (in South Australia) for them not to (there is a section in their agency agreement for this)! Ask them to justify it and compare your property accurately with other sales in the area and/or with similar attributes. Don’t be turned off just because their opinion is lower than what you want – the importance is that they have justified their opinion and have displayed a great knowledge of the market at this point. How they are willing to work for you comes later.
If they pass this test, you’ll want to start to start talking strategy. Try not to indicate how you’d like to sell your property, and ask them for a recommendation. Then ask them why they’ve made that recommendation. An answer of “well it seems to work better” is not satisfactory! An agent who knows how buyers behave will know why certain campaigns work better, why they appeal to different demographics, and why different campaigns suit different properties better than others.
You might want to reveal your goals at this point (they’ve already asked you a few times but stay tight lipped until now), because it’s important how willing the sales person is to work for you. You’ve seen the stats and heard their expert opinion and so by now you might realise that you actually want $20,000 more (or less!) than what your property might be worth, but how they respond is important. A lazy agent will love a low expectation, they see an easy commission and a quick sale! The same lazy agent will see your high price and might groan at the low likelihood of success… both very average responses and not the sort of agent you want working for you.
A good agent won’t really mind what your goals are – their job is to keep you informed at all stages and to make the best recommendation possible. A good agent will help you realise that you can sell for more than you thought originally, but also suggest that just because the statistics indicate otherwise, your ambitious sale price is not out of the question and should not be given up on just yet. A good balance of accurate advice and positivity is important.
Lastly I’ll touch on fees. Fees are forever being debated and are a continuous topic of contention. A high fee does not always mean a better agent just as a low fee does not mean a lesser agent. Professional fees for real estate agents in Adelaide will range from 1.1% all the way up to 3.3% depending on the area, type of campaign, and value of the property in question.
I am a big proponent of choosing the agent first, THEN negotiating the fee with them. The first figure out of their mouth is not likely the best they can do, and if you are impressed with their job of negotiating their own fee, they are probably a good person to have negotiating on your behalf when a buyer comes along! (If they immediately drop their fee at the slightest sign of doubt, you would be wise to walk away… imagine how quickly they will let the buyer pay less!)
I will elaborate further on the selling process and negotiation, stay tuned to the BLOC Property facebook page or this website for updates.