Whether you’re planning to buy or sell a house, choosing the right real estate agent can make a world of difference. But sorting the wheat from the chaff can be tricky, especially if you’re relatively new to the world of dealing with real estate agents.
If you’re wondering how to choose a real estate agent to buy or sell a home, it all starts with asking the right questions.
Questions to ask real estate agents when selling
So you’ve decided to sell your house. Congratulations! Now, you just have to find the right real estate agent to help you make the most out of your sale. With so many options out there, it’s hard to know how to choose the right realtor to sell your home.
The best way to decide this is to contact different agents, try to get a feel for how they work and see if they match what you’re looking for. Here’s a list of questions to ask estate agents when you meet with them.
1. How long have you been in real estate?
Considering that your home is likely your biggest asset, you will want someone who has enough experience and knows the business, so you can rely on them to get all the important stuff right. The best person for the job will be someone who has experience in the business and knows the market.
2. Who else is on your team?
Agents who work as part of a bigger team may assign someone else to you to handle the sale. Make sure you know who you will be dealing with from the start and what each team member’s role is.
3. Do you have reviews or testimonials from other customers?
A trustworthy real estate agent will have happy former customers who are more than happy to tell you about their experience with them. Ask to see testimonials, or you can also check out reviews on sites like Rate My Agent.
4. What properties have you sold in the past year?
Ask what kind of properties they have sold in the past year and where they are located. Ideally, they will have sold properties similar to yours in price, style and location.
Knowing this helps you to see if they have the right kind of buyer database as well as the skills to market your property correctly. Asking how long those properties were on the market for also gives you an idea of how long you might have to wait before your home is sold.
5. What price ranges were they in?
Knowing the sale price of an agent’s other properties will help you gauge how much yours could sell for. Keep in mind, though, that prices can vary considerably depending on the property itself and the location, so it’s best to compare similar homes.
6. What’s included in your fees?
Not every real estate agent’s fee structure is the same, and services like marketing, photography, signage, inspections and floorplans may not be included as standard. Some agents charge additional fees for these services on top of their commission, which can quickly add up. That’s why it’s important to know what’s included upfront.
You can also look for an agency that charges a flat fee rather than a percentage of the sale price. Upside includes all of the above services within one fixed fee – making your budget easier to manage and helping you take home more from the sale of your property.
7. Are there additional costs I should include in my budget?
If an agent’s fees don’t cover services like marketing, signage, photography or floorplans, you’ll probably have to make an extra investment.
8. What do you think my asking price should be?
Asking for an selling price based on an agent’s knowledge of the area and pricing is necessary. They should be able to show why they’ve made this estimate, based on comparable data.
Once the agent has given you their estimate for your property value, make sure you ask for evidence to back it up. That evidence should come in the form of comparable homes, sold prices for your area from the last six months, and general property market trends.
9. What can I do to improve the value of my home?
A knowledgeable real estate agent will able to offer pointers on how to improve the potential sale price of your home before it goes to market. For example, doing minor repairs and renovations before selling could be worth the investment to bump up your property’s sale price.
10. Is now the right time to sell?
Your agent should be able to tell you the ideal time to sell in your area. Factors to consider will include how hot or cold it gets, the position of the sun to maximise natural light, and what seasons buyers in your area typically look for houses.
11. Should I sell my house by auction, expression of interest or private treaty?
Depending on the market and your property, your agent should be able to recommend the best approach for selling your property, taking into account demand, urgency and how private you would prefer the sale of your home to be.
12. How will you advertise my property?
Look for an agent that takes a holistic approach to property advertising, include professional photography, online listings, physical signboards and email marketing to prospective buyers. You want to get your property in front of as many people as possible, so it’s important to ensure every base is covered when marketing your home.
13. What’s the average time on market for your listings?
It’s important to have realistic expectations of how long you might have to wait before your home sells. Ideally, your agent should be selling properties at a rate that’s comparable to the average time on market for your area.
14. How long will it take to sell my house?
Although the average time on market can help give you an idea of how long it will take your house to sell, your agent should also be able to give you a more personalised estimate based on your property. For example, if your house is in a particularly desirable location within your area, it may sell faster than the average.
15. What should I expect during the selling process?
Your agent should be able to walk you through how the whole process works and what to expect at each stage, from your initial property appraisal and preparing to go to market, through to inspections, exchange of contracts and settlement.
16. What else should I do to prepare?
Aside from repairs and updates that can add value to your home, your property agent should be able to offer advice on general things to do in preparation for selling your property. For example, making your house smell nice before an inspection is a small but impactful step you can take to make your property more appealing to prospective buyers.
17. How will you keep me up to date on the progress of the sale?
A good agent will be completely transparent and ensure that you are aware of every stage of your property sale campaign. They should have options for different methods of communication to suit you (face to face, calls, SMS, email) and some may be even have an online platform so you can log in any time to check on buyer interest.
Knowing the right questions can help you find the right real estate agent and sell your house at its greatest potential. Always remember that a good real estate agent is someone you can trust and who works in your best interest.
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If you’re thinking about selling your home, see why Upside has some of the most highly rated real estate agents in Australia. Start your journey with a free property appraisal.