Characteristics to consider when choosing an agent

When it comes to selling a property, it is vital for the homeowner to find a real estate professional that they can communicate with and more importantly that they trust. 

For most, the home they live in will be the largest financial asset they will ever own, so it is imperative that the person they choose to handle the sale of their property is from a reputable and professional real estate agency with the right attributes.

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that a homeowner should select an agent who has experience and specific area knowledge. “An agent who specialises in an area will know the particular factors that influence the local market, as well as the target market of buyers who are in that area. In-depth area knowledge and a targeted market plan will give the seller the best chance of selling their home at the highest possible price, within the shortest possible time frame,” says Goslett.

He notes that sellers should meet with several agents rather than simply listing their property with the first agent that they see. “The more agents that a homeowner can interview, the better informed they will be and the better chance they will have of finding the right agent for the job. The seller should schedule listing presentations with the agents so that the can gather as much information as possible and make an informed decision,” advises Goslett.

He provides a few characteristics that sellers should consider when interviewing prospective agents:


Experience does not only relate to the number of years that the agent has been in the industry, but more specifically their record selling the type of property that the homeowner is listing. Area knowledge can also not be over emphasized. The agent should know the area and have a successful sales record within that area.

Difference between asking price and selling price

Don’t choose an agent purely because they have given the home the highest evaluation. Some agents may overinflate the asking price to get the listing, however ask the agent the average difference between the selling price of the homes they have sold and the original listing price. While the market conditions will have an influence on the selling price, it will also reflect whether the agent can skilfully set an asking price and negotiate offers.

Does the agent listen?

Is the agent rushing through a generic presentation or are they interested in what the homeowner has to say? It is vital that the agent allows for questions and is focused on the seller’s needs.

A marketing plan

The agent should present a comprehensive marketing plan outlining how they intend going about selling the property. The marketing plan should address where and how the agent intends to promote the home, whether they will hold show days and explain the reasons behind their decisions. This is where meeting with more than one agent will be beneficial - while one agent might be against holding a show day, another may be for it. The seller’s choice will be based on who they agree with more.


It is vital that the seller and the agent can communicate effectively and both understand each other’s perspectives. The seller must feel as though they can trust the agent and that the agent cares about and understands their situation. If the channels of communication are open, an agent and seller will be able to work together to achieve the agreed upon objectives. This doesn’t mean that the agent and the seller have to be best friends, but if their personalities clash it will make it far more difficult for them to communicate with each other.

Ask for references

Ask for the contact information of the agent’s most recent three clients - and get in touch with them.

“Essentially the agent and the seller both want the same thing, which is to sell the property for a realistic price in the fastest possible time,” says Goslett. “Buyers are also looking for the right property at the right price. A professional, qualified estate agent will be able to match all of these elements to ensure a successful sale,” he concludes.

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