What I can provide as a real estate agent.
Your real estate agent is the public face representing you in the sale of your house. They are the communication channel between buyers and you, and may be the difference between an acceptable offer, and a champagne price. Their skill set incorporates client and market knowledge plus finely tuned negotiation skills.
Agents use well-honed sales techniques to display the advantages of each home they present. Their local market knowledge is also a huge asset as they will have developed a database of buyers looking for homes just like yours. Their knowledge of successful marketing campaigns specific to your area is another strong plus.
Each market has differing criteria which influence the best way to market a property. In a sellers’ market, it is easier for the agent to attract buyers, whereas in a buyers’ market, there will be a different approach.
The agent will need to understand your reasons for selling and the time frame, and take these aspects into consideration when creating a plan to sell your home. Strategies they may suggest include online real estate listings, print advertising, flyers, signboards and open homes.
Agents will want your property to present itself in the most positive light and, in planning the open houses, may suggest hiring a stylist and professional photographer. This may result in a significant increase in the price you achieve for your property.
Sales methods are another discussion you will have with your agent, including whether it is best to sell by private treaty, auction or expression of interest.
Why do I need a real estate agent to sell my home?
Plumbing issues? Health issues? You would always consult a professional, so why would you sell your house DIY when there are real estate agents ready to look after your prime investment?
Real estate agents will help you implement these key selling strategies:
1. Presentation: Help make the property stand out from the crowd
2. Marketing: Embark on the right marketing strategy to maximise the sales price
3. Pricing: Determine the estimated sales price
4. Communication: Ensure the client is given feedback from potential buyers
5. Buyer engagement: Nurture buyers to commit to the sale
6. Negotiation: Deal with multiple buyers to get the best result for the seller
7. Strategy: Create an environment that will yield the best result for the seller
Real estate agents can give you the right advice, negotiate and advise on marketing, presentation and professional photography. But even more than that, they will most likely help you to maximise the sale price for your home, and have potential buyers on their books already.
Selling your own home without an agent can be an emotional experience. Buyers will not feel they can be as open with you as they can with an agent. If, for instance, the buyer doesn’t like the kitchen and makes derogatory remarks, you may feel offended, whereas an agent, who is removed from the emotional attachment, can discuss options and manage the process.
At the end of the day, the real estate agent’s commission may seem high, but they are there to help you achieve the maximum return on your property, and the outcome will most likely exceed what you could have achieved had you sold it yourself.
How to choose the right real estate agent
Choosing who to trust with selling your home can be challenging, but these are some of the key attributes to look for.
1. Experience: Including skills, market knowledge, resources and contacts. Relevant sales experience in your area – or one like it – is essential. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking to see their resume or references. Make sure they have at least a few years’ experience in real estate, and be wary of someone whose past employment varies wildly – they may just be drifting and trying this job on for size. You cannot afford to go with someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, or who is not serious about their job.
2. Attention to detail: From their business card, to their listings, to the way they present themselves online, on the phone and in person. This will all reflect their attitude to their job, and will be a great indicator of how they will treat you as a client. You want someone who will be able to offer you great tips on staging your home, who has an eye for the things potential buyers may or may not like, and who will sell themselves as well as they sell your home.
3. Honesty: While some agents may offer an inflated indication of the price your home can achieve, the best agents will provide an honest opinion based on recent sales and hard data. Go into your meeting with any potential agents with your internal lie detector turned way up. A real estate agent who you can keep an open dialogue with is more likely to understand your needs and, as a result, can better accommodate you.
4. Communication: You want someone who will keep you in the loop at all times, who will answer your phone calls and emails promptly and with clarity, and who won’t keep you dangling. You also want your agent to be in constant communication with potential buyers who may be interested in your property to provide valuable feedback throughout the campaign.
5. Word of mouth: You want an agent whose reputation precedes them. Ask anyone you know and trust who has bought or sold recently for their honest opinion. This is possibly the best way to make sure you are going to get an agent who knows what they are doing and who won’t take you for a ride.