It can’t be argued that the COVID-19 pandemic has required us to reimagine the way we live in so many ways. And while the Australian government is already rolling out vaccines, it may take some time before we go back to our pre-pandemic ways, if at all. What does this mean for someone who hopes to invest in real estate or sell a house, given continued social distancing measures and lockdowns? Or even for someone who wants to sell a property in a state that they currently don’t live in? Chiefly, you’ll have to hire a real estate agent online.
We realise that this may be different from what you’re used to – meeting up with agents in person and going on home inspections were the standard before COVID-19 struck. Luckily, our expert Upside local agents have extensive experience in using digital tools and working remotely (Upside has no shop fronts, our agents live and work in your local area, which also helps us keep the cost of selling a property low for our customers!), so we can make the process easier. Let us start by answering some questions you might have about hiring a real estate agent remotely.
Do I still need a real estate agent?
Working with a real estate agent right now will have the same advantages as prior to the pandemic, namely more access to property services or buyers, experience, and convenience. An agent’s network will be even more essential with the different limitations brought by COVID-19.
A seasoned, reliable, and well-connected agent will act as your liaison to a buyer or seller, and help you accomplish the required paperwork and sales process so that you don’t waste time or go out unnecessarily.
Sounds good. But how can I hire a real estate agent online?
First off, you’ll need to do your due diligence. There are many real estate companies who offer their services online, but we’re not all the same. We can vary in areas of expertise, experience, and area of coverage for one. Plus of course, there’s the question of reliability and success.
Make sure to find a real estate agent who is qualified, ethical, and a top seller in your area (or if you’re buying, where you want to move). You may check online for any relevant industry recognition or awards, or more importantly, positive reviews. Asking friends and family for referrals is also a good idea.
Next, try setting up an online meeting with a potential agent before signing up for their services. We’ll cover some questions you may ask them below.
What should I ask a potential agent during an interview?
It’s important to be comfortable with any agent you hire; after all, buying or selling a property is a big move and you’ll definitely want someone you find trustworthy, reliable, and easy to talk to. Get a sense of your agent by finding out the following:
- Which suburb or cities do they primarily work in? How many properties have they sold in these areas?
- Take the time to ask them about the neighbourhood you’re selling in. Ask about comparative sales for a property that is similar to yours, and what others in the area have achieved. A real estate agent will be able to give you more insight about the suburb and a general guide to the price homes are selling for.
- Will they be personally handling all aspects of your sale or purchase, or will some of it be delegated to a colleague or assistant? (Even if they work with others, it’s still ideal that your primary agent is on top of tasks relating to your transaction so you can get the answers you need immediately. At Upside, our agents are complemented by an award-winning 24/7 customer support team).
- How many years of experience do they have?
- Are their licences and certifications current?
- Ask for any references and recent sales.
- Though answers may vary according to client and type of property (as well as location), ask your potential agent how long it took them to close their most recent sales, just so you have an idea of what to expect.
While you’re asking these questions, gauge your rapport and how they respond to you. As a client, you should be able to ask as many questions as you need and receive the answers to these. Good advice and a great agent-client experience is integral to the success of your transaction.
What else should I know when picking an agent?
An agent that’s experienced in your neighbourhood or suburb should have extensive knowledge about the real estate market in your area (so it’s ideal if they live there as well, like our agents do). Not only will they be able to recognise an appropriate price for property, they’ll also know detailed history of homes on the market. This is relevant in situations like if you’re wondering why a house down the road sold for a record price – it might be because it had to have extensive remodelling or the like. Certain things might not be immediately obvious without the assistance of an agent.
By providing you with details on market conditions and information on supply and demand, you can get an idea of how much you should buy or sell the property. Your agent should also be able to advise you on their selling strategy, and how you can work together on a marketing plan to maximise your property sale.
We always recommend speaking to agents from a variety of agencies (both big brand names and smaller) so you have an idea of what can be achieved.
During this time, the states and cities may have different regulations regarding home appraisals, which is a crucial first step to starting your selling journey. Your agent should be aware of the limitations regarding these. Make sure to ask them about these as well.
If you’re in a locked down area, you can read all about how the virtual appraisal process works here.
Need to hire a real estate agent online? Worried about selling at this time? Upside is your safest choice. With remote appraisers, virtual open for inspections & meetings, digital contracts and agents that have always worked from home, there is no agency in a better position to look after you when selling in the current climate. Book your free, no obligation (and virtual if you'd prefer) appraisal with us today.