Choosing the right agent for a real estate transaction can be the difference of $10,000’s or $100,000’s.
This can appear difficult in a marketplace saturated with options, however we’ve provided 6 no-nonsense tips to look out for. What you’ll find is few agents possess all of these especially not Number 5!
1) The perfect sales process
Selling a home may from the outside look like an easy process. An agent puts a few pictures online, shows up on Saturday and then gives a contract to the highest bidder.
The reality however is completely different. There is so much involved in the sale of a home, including but not limited to:
- Pricing the property
- Tailoring a marketing strategy for the property
- Preparing photography, copy, documents and other advertising material in order to put the property on the market
- Handling enquiries diligently
- Monitoring campaigns and feedback
- Alerting off-line contacts about the property
- Following up buyers and negotiating
Therefore, a great agent will have robust systems in place, as well as a clear and detailed sales process that guarantees the best price will be achieved.
2) The right track record
When choosing the right agent, looking at their track record often provides a very useful insight.
Look at factors like the volume of transactions they work on, feedback from other clients and the prices they achieve.
This will provide an insight into the traffic they can direct towards your property as well as the result they can negotiate. Don’t be deceived however by volume alone. Many sellers will list with agents who have volume but mask under-performing results.
You want an agent who is not purely about turnover but also has the following down-packed:
3) A strong marketing strategy for your property
I was in a listing presentation once for a client whose previous agent had given him a very bad experience. They had pointed to their massive record but then failed to deliver on the listing.
The client really had the right perspective… “I don’t care what you’ve done elsewhere, I want to know how you’re going to get a result for my property”.
A marketing strategy for a property should never be completely cookie-cutter in nature. It should be tailored at least somewhat to the specific unique selling points of your property.
In short, look for an agent who is focused on creating a marketing campaign and getting a result specific to your property.
4) Someone who handles calls and follows up professionally
When choosing the right agent, this is a major factor you need to weigh up. I say this because me and my team mystery shop our competition, even high performing and reputable agents.
We find that more often than not, agents will never return your call or give you basic information you request.
When attending a NAB Property Event once, CBRE’s head of projects pointed out to the audience that enquiries are strongest in the following order:
- Attendees at an inspection
- Phone enquiries
- Email enquiries
Ideally, enquiries on email or phone should be responded to as fast as possible and booked in for an inspection. This is because the chances they will attend an inspection falls steeply 2 hours after they enquire.
It’s obvious why.
In this time they are re-thinking buying and looking at other properties. To convert leads, a smooth sales process compresses the decision-making time to remove room for the lead to change it’s mind.
We thoroughly recommend mystery shopping your agents in each of the following ways:
- Attending an open home for another listing and seeing if they follow you up during the following week
- Making a phone enquiry and seeing how long it takes the agent to get back to you. You will find that if the agent can’t answer your call straight away, they will forget to call you back at all more than 50% of the time.
- Making an email enquiry and seeking how long it takes the agent to get back to you.
5) Strong Negotiation Skills
There is major dollar value in having a strong negotiator working on your behalf to secure a stellar price for your property.
A strong negotiator will be direct in their attitude and have a stern resolve to achieve the best result possible. What you need to look for is a professional who understands how to qualify buyers, ask them tough questions and get the best price the buyer is willing to pay out of them.
You also want someone who is going to provide you with assurance when you need to reject the temptation of a poor offer, and hold out for the right result.
They should also be no-nonsense when they need to give you bad news.
6) Marketing and Presentation
Don’t forget the importance of presentation skills when choosing the right agent. Your property needs to present immaculately to the marketplace, and an agent will offer assistance in enabling you to do this.
They will discuss options like refreshing the property or styling it. Your agent should understand that marketing is about making your property stand out. It should appear remarkable in the marketplace, in order to garnish good attention.
Check your agent’s presentation skills on their other listings online or by inspecting their other open homes!
7) Choose an agent you’re comfortable with
At the end of the day it’s very important above all else to feel comfortable with your agent.
Your most important resource will be your gut, and your instincts. Remember to listen to them! Educate yourself on agents, and what you will need in your agent (as you are doing by reading this!) because you want to make the right choice the first time!
Remember to look out for our other insights into:
- Biggest real estate agent myths busted
- Why a traditional or local real estate agent is poorly equipped to give you great service