So you’ve probably decided that you’d like to (or need to) put your house/apartment/flat/bungalow/farm/cabin/castle/palace/monolithic dome (yes, the latter does exist!) up on the market.
Fantastic! But… You’re not exactly sure where to begin.
Well, it’s a good job you’re reading this article because great news, we’re going to tell you! To start with, you’re going to need to pick a really good Real Estate Agent and we mean reeeeaalllly good. Why? Because houses don’t sell themselves, my friend!
In all seriousness, though, a brilliant real estate agent will help support you and guide you through the beginning of what most people class as being one of life’s most stressful events – moving home – and they’ll also make sure that you get as much money from the sale of your property as possible.
That being said, here are the four things you must do to help you partner up with a truly brilliant realtor:
(1) Compile a list of all estate agents in your local area
(2) When you’ve done that, don a deerstalker hat, wear something made out of tweed and get your hands on a pipe, because now it’s time for some investigating. (As much as we think you’d look cool in it, the Sherlock Holmes outfit is actually optional).
Do some background research on each of the estate agents:
– Check out what their previous customers have to say about them
– At a glance, do they sell properties similar to yours?
– Do they explain about their fees on their website? etc.
…and pick which ones you like the look of.
(3) Once you’ve made your shortlist, it’s time to invite the lucky few real estate agents over to your home so that (a) they can give you a valuation for your property and (b) so that you can question the bejeezus out of them.
Consider it like a dating game. You’re the Batchelor/ette and you want to be bowled over by the contestants wanting to win your affections.
(4) Once you’ve contacted your chosen real estate firms and jotted all the appointments down in your diary, now is the time to write down all the burning questions you want to ask the realtors. This is the most important part of bagging yourself a brilliant real estate agent.
You only get clued up and find things out by asking a lot of questions.
The more questions you ask, the more you’ll find out about them and the easier it will be to find which real estate agent will give you the greatest value for money, the best customer service and more importantly, which one will get your property sold with no fuss.
What questions you ask your select group of real estate agents is entirely up to you (just don’t forget you’re selling your home and aren’t actually on a dating show!), but if you’re needing some suggestions here are the types of questions we would ask.
“How long have you been a Real Estate Agent for and what sets you apart from the competition?”
Let’s face it, experience counts. Generally, the longer someone’s been in the real estate business, the better.
However, it’s not the be all and end all.
That’s why we annexed the question with a second part. Enthusiasm for the job is also important too.
Asking the agent questions like this or, “Why should I choose you?” will help you discover whether they genuinely love what they’re doing and whether they’re good at doing it or not. A brilliant real estate agent will combine experience with passion, a strong knowledge of the local area, a dash of boldness and a sprinkling of gumption, and they’ll be able to answer any question you throw at them about their job with enthusiastic, honest responses.
“What properties have you recently sold in the area?”
It’s important to ask this because you need to feel confident knowing that the agent you choose has experience of selling properties similar to your own.
And not just in terms of style or size, but location and price.
After all, how can you expect your monolithic dome to sell if the agent has never sold one before?
“What selling price do you think I can achieve and what are you basing that on?”
Everybody would love to hear that their monolithic dome is worth a million bucks, but if the prospective agent can’t explain why they think your property is worth the price they gave you, then they’re probably just trying to dazzle you with big numbers so that they can secure your business.
Don’t fall for anyone’s shock and awe tactics.
Ask to see data from recent sales in your area of similar properties which backup their claims. Don’t fall into the trap of securing an agent who simply says they can get the highest price for you.
“Do you cover marketing costs, or is that my responsibility? If so, how much will I need to spend on advertising?”
It’s important to find out who’s going to be paying for the costs of advertising your property.
Most agencies include all aspects of marketing your home within their fees but other real estate agents ask their clients to cover the costs. That’s usually because there’re so many advertising choices out there to choose from that some agents offer their clients the opportunity to create a completely bespoke advertising campaign, leaving out avenues which aren’t worthwhile or good value for money. It might be worth considering that if you can bear all of the marketing costs yourself then the agent may be willing to reduce their fees.
“How long do you think it will take to sell my property? Why?”
Even a psychic would probably have a hard time telling you when your property will be sold, so you won’t get an exact number from a real estate agent.
However, any agent worth their salt will have a very good understanding of the current market and how any factors affecting your local area could influence the sale of your home. A great agent will give you a realistic inkling and they’ll be able to explain why they think it’ll take as long as it takes.
“Which do you think is the most effective way for me to sell my property? Why?”
There are several different ways in which you can sell your home. You don’t have to rely on a For Sale board and advertising if you don’t wish.
There’s also auctioning and receiving Expressions of Interest from interested buyers.
A knowledgeable agent should be able to confidently recommend a way to sell your property based on their experience and local knowledge.
“How will viewings be arranged?”
Let’s face it, this is a big deal.
If you’ve got to be on call and race home from work or across town from having just picked the kids up from school every time someone wants to view your property, well, that’s a major inconvenience. And even if you limited the viewings to just the evenings that’s still a pain because your whole night is up in the air waiting to see whether viewers will turn up or not.
A dedicated real estate agent should offer to take a set of keys from you so that they can meet the viewers themselves and show them around your property without you having to be there.
Besides, they’re selling your house for you, they should be meeting potential buyers and astounding them with how awesome and great value for money your property is.
So there you have it, you’re now all set to get the ball rolling and get your houseboat/shack/converted church on the market. Good luck in finding a fantastic real estate agent.
And remember, don’t be afraid to ask questions!