Your real estate agent is your partner and a valuable asset when it comes time to sell your property, but there are some pieces of information that they may choose not to readily give away that could impact your final sale price.
When it comes to real estate, information is power and insider tips and tricks can make all the difference when it comes to selling your house for maximum value in the shortest amount of time possible. From real estate agent commission to agent review platforms and selling tricks, here are six things real estate agents don’t want you to know.
Commissions aren’t all created equal...
Just because one agent is charging one real estate commission percentage, it doesn’t mean that all agents will have the same commission rate. Commissions are calculated on the final sale price of your home, and levels for agents can vary depending on which state and suburb you’re selling in, as well as the agent you use and what’s included (some include advertising fees, for example).
Commissions can be as low as 1.6% and as high as 4% which, when you’re selling a property, can end up being a difference of thousands. When you’re looking around, be sure to research and compare the real estate agent commission percentage to the local average using tools like a real estate agent fees calculator to ensure you’re maximising your sale price and pocketing as much as possible.
...and you can negotiate your commission rate
While agents would love you to take their real estate agent fees as written in stone, it’s important to remember that you can (and should) interview and negotiate with multiple agents to find the best fit for you.
Be upfront and let each agent know that you’re shopping around, and be transparent with the commission rates on offer - this way, you have a better chance of getting your preferred agent to lower their rate. If they don’t budge, you can ask for advertising or extras to be included as value adds.
Also, contrary to what you may think, the lowest commission rate isn’t always best: if you want your home to sell for more, you’ll need to invest. If you’re working on a commission basis with your real estate agent, you could try to incentivise them with a sliding or tiered rate structure where an agent gets a certain percentage of commission up to a certain amount, then an increased commission if it sells above this.
Tip: there are also local agents out there who offer flat fixed rate fees for listings, regardless of how much the sale price is. This ensures that you can accurately anticipate the real estate agent fees you’ll need to pay, and plan accordingly.
Compare agents and look at real estate agent reviews
As a seller, choosing a real estate agent is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, and can heavily influence the outcome of your property sale. It may be difficult to know which agents to trust and get an accurate gage on their track record, and this is where agent comparison websites can help.
Websites like realestate.com.au have a section dedicated to helping sellers find agents, with details on an agent’s previous sales (including a handy map of showing the locations and final sale price), their community involvement, specialties, current properties for sale, and reviews from previous sellers. Plus, the website allows you to select a list of agents and use this to compare real estate agent information.
Open Agent is also a handy tool for sellers: simply put in some information on your property and when you’re planning to sell, and the website will shortlist recommended agents for you.
Get a free appraisal, and don’t always go with the highest valuation
Free appraisals are an industry standard, so there’s no reason not to ask for an appraisal and find out what your property is worth. However, remember that an appraisal or valuation is just an approximate amount and the final selling value of your property will be influenced by a number of factors including the time of year, interest rates and property trends, and the way your property is advertised.
After your appraisal, it can be tempting to choose the agent that gives you the highest valuation, but this can be a huge mistake, causing the property to sit on the market for weeks, sometimes months. In addition, this can devalue the property, as buyers notice it is not selling and use that to their advantage. Do your own research: look into the historical sale price for similar homes in your area on websites like Domain and realestate.com.au, and ask for a property estimate from a third party such as a bank. Benchmark this against your agent’s valuation, and you’ll have a more accurate expectation of what your home will sell for.
Real estate agents often prefer auctions...
...even if it’s not always the best choice when selling your home. While selling your property by auction has benefits for a seller, it also offers plenty of benefits for agents, which is why they’re a preferred method of sale.
Auctions typically have a shorter campaign period, meaning that agents are more likely to earn their commission sooner. There are also additional marketing fees and auctioneer fees to take into account and, on top of this, your final sale price isn’t only in the hands of the real estate agent, as the auctioneer also plays a big role.
All of this isn’t to say you shouldn’t choose to sell your home via auction - just be sure to weigh up all the options before making your final choice.
Marketing can have a big impact on your property’s sale price
Agents are salespeople, and they love to sell themselves as the main star attraction that will help maximise your sale price. While your choice of real estate agent will be one of the main influencing factors in your final selling price, styling and marketing also play a big part in a successful sale.
Marketing creates demand, and the more potential buyers you have, the more competition, which in turn can bump up the sale price. Likewise, the way you style a house can instantly make buyers fall in love with your home, or put them off the property entirely.
While you’re comparing agents, ask for their sales and marketing strategy, including:
- What websites and/or newspapers they’ll list your home on
- How will they generate demand in the local area
- What descriptions they will use to describe your home
- The reputation of the real estate agent or company (the more buyers who know the agent, the more likely they’ll be to visit the website for listings and trust the agents)
- Their advice on styling your home to sell
To see this plan in action, take a look at their current listings and attend the inspections - you’ll get a clear idea of exactly how effective their strategy is when it comes to selling a home.
Looking to sell your home in 2019? Contact Upside for a free appraisal from one of our local agents, and enjoy a low fixed-fee when you sell your property.