Choosing the best sales agents
By RUN Property CEO, Rob Farmer
Property owners sell their home, on average, once every seven years and historically, many properties will have doubled in value during that time. So who do you trust with the task of selling what for most home owners is your most valuable asset?
While investors can be less emotional about the sale of an investment property, choosing the best sales agent is an equally important decision given the financial impact on the owner' future.
How do you choose from so many agents selling real estate? How do you know which one will do the best job and secure the highest price? And how can you be sure? The difference between a good decision and a bad one when selecting an estate agent can be tens of thousands of dollars. So it clearly pays to do your research and spend time to get it right.
Having decided to sell your property often the best price to start finding an agent is within your circle of friends, family and peers. have any of them bought or sold recently? What was their experience? Would they wholeheartedly recommend the agent they dealt with?
It is an advantage to attend other open for inspections in your local area. This will not only help educate you on local prices but also guide your own expectation. The bonus is that you will meet local agents and sample their approach first hand. Are they knowledgeable about the property and the local area? Do they present themselves with warmth and professionalism and make you feel comfortable? Most importantly, did they contact you after your visit and gather your feedback on the property and attempt to assist you with any other needs?
You need an agent who knows your local market and has proven he or she is a leader by achieving consistently high sales results. A champion sales agent should be able to clearaly articulate their success stories - backed up by industry sales data - highlighting their ability to achieve results during even slow-moving property markets.
Do they display the personal and inter-personal skills necessary to deal with all types of people and gain the best result in your interests? Are they a clear communicator? Do they listen to your needs? Are they confident without being cocky and appear resilient enough to go into battle for you with a tough buyer?
Do they have the negotiation skills to put together the best deal? Do you feel they could extract the highest price from a willing buyer? How do they read people to gauge when to push and how far? What recent sales examples do they have to prove their point?
A great negotiator is perhaps the most underrated skill of an estate agent. Anyone can sell an average property for an average price. But one who can influence a buyer to pay up to the maximum they can afford is worth their weight in gold. When selecting an agent, be sure they have personally demonstrated some of the skills and techniques they will use on your behalf.
Can the agent be flexible enough to consider options that can produce a win-win for you and the buyer? Ask questions and interview them like you would someone who has applied to you for a job. Seek examples of how they handled difficult situations. Through all of this it will soon become clear if they know what they are talking about.
Has the agent built a reputation for honesty, ethics and professionalism in all their dealing with people? Can they provide recommendations from previous vendors? These can be valuable, especially if they are from people you know and trust.
Look not only at the agent but the agency they work for. They go hand in hand. Is it an evolving brand and office, displaying energy and passion and experiencing strong growth? Or is it a stagnant, traditional office hamstrung by limited resources and "old thinking"?
Once you have selected your agent, trust their opinions and take notice of their advice. After all, you would not visit a doctor and then tell them how you should be treated. Otherwise you probably should have chosen a different agent (or doctor).
And one final word of advice: Don't choose an agent based purely on a promise of highest price. Promises without evidence of similar recent sales are worht less and are generally made by desperate agents keen to win your business and exploit your desire for a dream price. Maximum price is gained via process - not promises.
Further, an agent who offers to discount their sales commission is acknowledging they do not truly believe in the capacity of their skills, service standards and brand to achieve you the maximum price. How confident would you be in your agents ability to defend the value of your property when they cannot do this personally and with their livelihood at stake?
Often, the best way to both protect yourself and motivate your agent is to agree to a set selling fee, then offer them an elevated fee on the balance of any amount that exceeds your price expectations. Above all, remember that by researching and planning before listing, you can avoid a stressful and costly experience when selling.
If you're interested in selling, or just curious about the market and the value of your property, click here to arrange an appraisal, free of obligation and cost.
RUN Property permits reproduction of its articles provided they are not edited and they include the author’s byline (By RUN Property CEO Rob Farmer) and the following attribution: RUN Property – sales, leasing and property management. For more information visit www.run.com.au
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