Rights, Rules & Remedies

A Column by Consumer Affairs Writer, Jordan Kelly.
Selling? Here’s How to ‘Interview’
A Real Estate Agent
I recently sold property through local agent, Heather Burgher, of Southern Wide Real Estate. It contrasted markedly with other real estate experiences I’ve had, so – as promised in my previous column – in this issue, I interview Heather to uncover the selection process this seasoned industry veteran would undertake if she were selling her own property . . . but through another agent.
First, let me say, I like Heather – both as a real estate agent, and as a fellow professional. I like her style; she’s accomplished (highly) but not self-glorified. She’s results-driven, but not pushy. She’s direct, but always respectful. It doesn’t get any better than that – as I found out from my dealings with her . . . and comparing both the results and the experience to other transactions.
Kelly: So how can a seller have a happy and rewarding outcome, especially those of us who have had unhappy past experiences? Over to you.
Burgher: My key recommendation: Choose the agent first, the company second, and the method of selling third. As an agent who has been in real estate since 1986, if I was going to employ another agent to sell my home I would do some serious homework.
And I wouldn’t, under any circumstances, just go with the first agent who claimed to have a buyer for my home.
Kelly: OK. Cringe. That’s the exact mistake I made in another transaction.
Burgher: Please don’t do that again! It’s all too easy for an agent to claim to have a buyer in waiting. In my opinion, the buyer is led to the right property for them. Our job – as agents – is to promote appropriately and to negotiate the highest possible price in the shortest possible time with the least amount of stress for the vendor.
So, firstly, I would secretly shop three active agents by visiting two or more of their open homes and establishing how they conduct themselves. How do they present and promote somebody else’s home? I would then choose two agents to interview as if I were employing them for a job.
Kelly: What specific questions would you ask?
Burgher: I would go broader than you would imagine – their attitude to life, to me as a potential vendor, and to my home itself. Am I getting spiel and self-promotion? Or are they truly focused on ME as a person and as a vendor? Do they establish what’s best for ME? Do they respect my situation, my fears and my wishes? Importantly, I would be wary of somebody who is defensive or self-righteous in responding to any of my questions.
Further, is their presentation tailored to me as an individual or are they just spouting marketing spiel full of generic sales data that I don’t understand? Or have they supplied me with good, easy-to-understand information relevant to my property specifically?
What specific marketing methods are they recommending for my property and what is their rationale for these recommendations?
And the basics: Are they full-time professionals? How long have they been in real estate? (Ask to see their licence.) What will it cost to employ them; are there hidden costs?
Note to reader: The space constraints of this column meant further valuable advice had to be edited out. Readers wanting to avail themselves of more of the above wisdom, may call Heather Burgher direct at Southern Wide Real Estate on 03 434 7422.
In my next column, I’m going to investigate the privacy obligations of service providers – professional and domestic.

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