What to look for in your next agent

What to look for in your next agent

Time to sell? Now is a great time to sell as markets come out of the quieter summer months and start ramping up during Autumn before the cold weather sets in. Clearance rates continue to stay strong, while prices haven’t softened as much as was expected in the major markets, making this the perfect time to list your property.
But with competition for your business as fierce as it is, who do you choose to represent your home on the market? Here are four things to look out for when choosing your real estate agent.

1. Communications skills

There is no clear definition of what ‘communication skills’ really means. The go-to connotation with the phrase is that of an extroverted professional with killer eye contact, but peoples’ personalities slide on that scale from introvert to extrovert, and those that may be considered an introvert may still have impeccable communication skills.
Having good communications skills is based on being able to develop trust with those you talk with. A louder personality may struggle to develop this trust for one simple reason: they like to talk.
A great agent will ask you plenty of questions, while answering your own without dominating the conversation. If they spend an hour talking about themselves and you get the feeling they haven’t said anything of much substance during that time, run for the hills.
Note: this communication should continue throughout your experience with your agent. For instance, you should not have to contact them, but be regularly updated on potential leads, performance of your listing and possible amendments to your marketing plan.

2. Talking about your marketing plan…

While this may not be applicable for your first interview of an agent, at some early stage (before you have signed any contracts), your potential agent should be able to provide you with a comprehensive marketing plan that is tailored to your property. Within this plan should be related statistics for both your local as well as your city’s market, which will help you decide whether it is the best time to sell, as well as specific strategies for your property type (i.e. who your audience is and how they will be marketed to), and how your marketing plan makes the most out of your budget.
A marketing plan for selling your home
For instance, if you are selling a 2-bedroom home within the inner-middle ring of a city, your target audience will likely be young professionals looking to buy their first home. If this is the case, be cautious of spending money on print advertising, for an audience type that is unlikely to use that medium to source properties.

3. A great resumé

Firstly, what recent properties in your local area has the agent successfully sold? What proportion of them were sold prior to auction? This will point to the potential style your agent may have for achieving sales. Ask how long these individual properties were on the market and what different marketing strategies did the agent use for each property.
This can be an effective line of questioning to weed out those agents who up to that point had only been giving you template responses. They should be able to provide you with clearly different marketing approaches to different property types, and explain why. A great agent expects to be asked these questions, it is their job, so don’t be afraid to dig deep. Remember that this person is working on probably the largest type of financial transaction you have in your life. There is no time for someone who doesn’t live and breathe the industry and so confidently point to their success.

4. Malleable marketing

A good agent will show how their marketing plan for your property makes the most of your budget and that their fees are negotiable, because they are. An agent should understand that the property ladder is not called a property ladder for no reason, and that if you are a small-scale client in terms of returns at this stage, this doesn’t mean that in 10 or even 20 years’ time you won’t be looking for an agent to sell your much larger home.

5. Real-time performance

Before you start exploring your options for an agent, and at least a month before you are ready to do this, highlight a number of agents you may want to work with and see how they perform on the job. Attend their auctions to see how they interact with potential buyers, including yourself, as well as how they handle themselves during an auction. This is especially helpful if the property is similar to yours.
Originally posted as: What to look for in your next agent

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