Rights, Rules & Remedies

A Column by Consumer Affairs Writer, Jordan Kelly.
Selecting the Right Agent to Sell Your Property
For most of us, our home and/or our real estate portfolio represents a substantial chunk of our net worth. So, when we come to sell, we want a good price. Preferably, we also want a pleasant experience.
So it goes without saying, we need to select the right real estate agent. Or, should I say, the right VENDOR’S agent. But … isn’t an agent, an agent, an agent?
Actually, no. Speaking for myself and my own variety of real estate transactions and (very) mixed experiences, there are agents I would hire if I were a vendor. There are agents I might prefer to do business with if I were a buyer. And there are agents that are best not used at all.
The best strategy is to identify a reasonable number and cross-section of former vendor-clients of the agent/agency in question (and NOT referees provided by the agent/s). Take the time to do this background checking before you sign on the dotted line with an agent and an agency. You are about to trust this person/persons not only with your home and the financial result you achieve, but also with your ongoing feelings about the way you were treated throughout the experience . . . feelings that can last a long time, particularly if the experience was bad.
Ask the Critical Questions
Due to the limited word count of my column, I’ll focus on the questions you should ask an agent’s and an agency’s former vendor-clients, specifically to avoid a bad experience and/or outcome, and which will help you determine what you might not otherwise find out until after you’ve signed up.
– How many potential buyers did the agent show your home to, in order to achieve competitive offers? (Obviously, this question is particularly pertinent if the market was/is strong.)
– Do you truly feel like the agent worked for YOU, the vendor? If, in a strong market, you opted for a “buyer interest over” strategy, did the agent negotiate hard for a good upward result on the base figure? In short, did the agent press hard to get the best possible result for YOU?
– Was the agent proactive in their communications to you?
Or did you have to chase them for information and updates? How did the agent speak to you? Did you feel respected – all through the listing and sale experience, not just when they were trying to get the listing?
– How did you feel about their general trustworthiness? Were they confidential and professional in their dealings? Are they intelligent? How many times did you have to explain things? Did they act reliably on any instructions you gave them?
– Did the agent ask how YOU felt about a purchaser’s price, offer, conditions, approach? Did the agent listen to and respect any concerns you had?
You need to ask deep and telling questions like these. You’re selling one of your most precious assets. Getting it wrong can be a costly and also a demoralising experience.
In my next column, I’ll interview an agent for whom I have immense professional respect, Southern Wide sales manager, Heather Burgher. Heather provides her own tips on how to “interview” an agent before listing your property with one.

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