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 option will be one who knows your area and what buyers are looking for. You can ask further questions around this topic, such as ‘what’s popular in my area right now?’ and ‘what predictions do you have for the market in my area?’
2. What properties have you sold recently?
Ask what kind of properties they have sold in the past year and where they are located. This way, you’ll be able to see if they have previous experience with properties like yours and how successfully they were sold.
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.
3. What do your real estate agent fees include?
Different agents may include different services for their agent fee, such as advertising expenses, photography and floor plans, inspections, property reports, etc. Often, these costs may be in addition to the commission they charge and can add up to thousands of dollars.
Increasingly, however, you can find agencies that will charge 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 home.
Ready to start your real estate journey with Upside? Request your free property online value estimate to see how the home value in your area has changed over the years, and to learn in-depth data on recent property sales in your area. This information can give you a rough idea of what your home may be worth.
4. What price do you think I can sell my house for?
Once the agent has given you a property value estimate, make sure you ask for evidence to back it up. You’ll want to know why they think your property is worth the amount they quote. 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. It’s illegal to falsely inflate a price, so make sure you’re not being sold a puffed up price.
5. What could I do to my house to improve the chances of selling it?
Sometimes, doing a little renovation can help boost the price of a property. Ideally, your agent will know what the buyers are looking for and suggest a few things you can do to your property here and there to ensure you get the best price.
These are typically minor cosmetic fixes, like adding more plants to your front garden, painting the kitchen cabinets or re-grouting the tiles. For more tips on small home improvements you can make, check out our article on 15 things you can do in under an hour to increase your chances of selling.
6. What’s the best time to sell my house?
Is there a perfect time of year to sell your house? Your agent will know when the ideal time to sell is to make the most of it. Things to consider will include how hot or cold it gets, the position of the sun to maximise natural light, and what seasons people in your area typically look for houses.
7. How do you think I should sell my house?
There are different ways to sell, from auctions and expressions of interest to written bids. Depending on the market and the property in question, they should know what the best approach for your property will be, weighing up the demand, urgency and how private you would prefer the sale of your home to be.
Check out our in-depth guide to selling by auction to find out some more of the pros and cons of getting an auctioneer to sell your home.
8. How long will it take for my house to sell?
The answer to this question may be “it’s hard to tell,” but that’s ok – it’s better to get an agent who will honestly say they’re not sure, rather than someone who promises to sell your house fast with no real evidence.
The way your agent answers this question will help you find out their views on the current market and help you understand it – see if they can refer to recent, comparable examples and explain how your house is similar or not, and how that might impact on the selling time.
9. Are there other costs I should consider?
It’s always good to know exactly how much you will have to invest to sell your property. This question will help you avoid any surprise expenses, which can include bonuses for agents selling above a certain target, which is becoming increasingly common in Australia.
With Upside, there are no unexpected fees. It's the service you deserve, for a low fixed fee - no matter how much you sell for. Get a free, no obligation property appraisal from us today.
10. Do you have previous customers I can contact for reference?
A good real estate professional has satisfied former customers who will be more than happy to tell you about their experience with them – good agents that people trust can be hard to come by, so if you get some enthusiastic testimonials like this one you know you’ve got a keeper.
You can also check out their reviews on Rate My Agent, Australia’s leading independent real estate agent review site.
You are now ready to find the perfect real estate agent for you. Always remember that the best agent will make you feel that they’re on your side and will work to provide the best service for you.
Questions to ask real estate agents when buying
Just like selling a property, picking a reliable real estate agent when buying a home is key to ensuring the whole process – from inspection to settlement – is as smooth and transparent with possible. With that in mind, if you see a house on the market that appeals to you, here are some important questions to ask the managing real agent.
1. How long has the property been on the market?
This is a great question to start with as it helps give you an initial idea of how much competition you’re likely to have and whether the property is reasonably priced. If a property has been on the market for over six weeks, you can usually assume it’s either overpriced (in which case you may be able to negotiate the price) or it may have an underlying fault or defect. If the property went to auction and failed to sell, it’s also a good idea if you can find out what the cause was.
2. Why are the current owners selling?
Asking this could give you a secret weapon when it comes to negotiation. For example, if the current owners have already bought a new home, they could be in a rush to sell and you could be able to talk the price down. Other reasons, like divorce or death, could also give you leverage to negotiate.
3. Are there any known issues with the property, land or neighbours’ properties?
Although your building inspector or conveyancer should pick up most potential issues before settlement, it’s worthwhile asking the question upfront so you can know as soon as possible about any issues that could change your mind.
4. What’s included in the sale?
Sometimes items like whitegoods, laundry appliances, light fittings and so on are included as part of the sale of a house. Check to see what’s included or excluded so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money once you settle.
5. Have any renovations been done recently?
Looking at how much a property last sold for can be misleading if extensive renovations have taken place in the interim. Being aware of the extent of recent renovations can help give you a clearer picture of a property’s true market value. It’s also a good idea to make sure any work done has been council-approved, and whether there are any warranties on workmanship that are still valid.
6. How much are the standard council/strata/water rates?
Council, strata and water rates can quickly add up, and potentially significantly increase your monthly home ownership costs. Make sure the average costs are in line with your expectations and that you can afford to pay these expenses in addition to your mortgage repayments.
- What's the difference between commission and fixed fee?
- What is it like to work with a real estate agent?
- Do I need a real estate agent to sell my home?
Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling, see why Upside has some of the most highly rated real estate agents in Australia and start your journey with a free property appraisal.