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Choosing an Agent


Choosing an agent is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions you’ll make in selling your property. A good agent can help facilitate a quick and successful sale while a bad agent can cost you a lot of time and money. It is important to make an informed decision when selecting an agent, do your research and know what to look for.




Potential Agents


In any given suburb there will be a number of agents servicing the local area, rather than interviewing them all you will likely want to create a short list of potential sales agents. In making this selection it is important to draw on a number of different resources; personal referrals, open houses, area activity, marketing and more. A great place to start is to check with friends and family members who have sold property in a similar area or who have dealt with local agencies in purchasing, managing, or renting property; if they had positive experiences then these agents are worth investigating.



Another source for potential agents is to find out which salespeople are active in your area (check for open houses, internet listings, print media and sold databases), if an agent does a lot of business they are worth considering to sell your property. In addition to this it is useful to look at the quality of the marketing of different local agencies, how do their photos look, what quality brochures do they use, how well written are their print and internet advertisements; remember these are the tools they will employ to market your property.



In generating a list of potential agents it is a good idea to have a diverse list of candidates, some large agencies that do lots of business and smaller local agencies that focus on a specific area. This will ensure that you are exposed to a variety of methodologies allowing you to choose the one that best suits your situation.



Now that you have a diverse list of potential sales agents you need to gather some more information on how they operate and arrange to meet with them in person. A great way to see how an agent would sell your home is to see how they interact with buyers for other properties they are selling. The best way to do this is by visiting the open inspections of the agents on your short list as a potential buyer. While at the inspection observe how the agent represents the property, how they interact with buyers and yourself, and how they respond to questions about the property. After the opens you can see how well the agents follow you up in the week and ask some more questions about the buying process and the property. See how well they interact with you as a buyer and asess their level of real estate knowledge. Obviously it is important not to let the agent know that you are thinking of selling at this stage otherwise they may alter the way they interact with you as a potential future client.




Interviewing the Agents


Now that you have a good idea about the way different agents operate you can invite some of the agents that have impressed you to discuss selling your property. Typically this process will include an initial visit where the agent views your property to assess what price they believe it will sell for based on recent comparable sales. During the next meeting you should discuss a number of important issues including; anticipated sale price, recommended method for sale, presentation of the property, recommended marketing strategy, and the agent’s commission structure.


It is important to understand that an agent’s assessment of the potential sale price should be backed up with evidence of recent comparable sales. In addition it is important not to rule out an agent that quotes a price under what you expect provided they back it up with evidence of recent sales. Often it is the agents that prices the property correctly that is overlooked and the agent that inflates the price who ends up costing you valuable time and money down the track when the property doesn’t sell.


Another important discussion you will have during this meeting is the commission the agent will charge for selling your property. It may be tempting to go with the agent with the lowest commission rate, but as with anything, the appropriate costs and benefits need to be weighed. The difference in the commission rates of competing agents will usually be only a fraction of a percent of the sale price, which taken as a dollar value is quite significant. However, also consider the effect the agent has on the sale value of your property. A good agent may frequently achieve prices many percent above that of less accomplished agents, so while their services may cost more money, the increase in sales price will often more than cover the difference.


At the end of the day you need to choose an agent you are comfortable working with. They will be responsible for representing you in the sale of your house and having an agent you have trust and confidence in is invaluable. 




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