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Is your agent right for you?

Putting your home on the market for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, as often it is a person’s most valuable asset. Having the right real estate professional by your side will make the process far easier; however, with so many agents out there, it can be difficult to know which one to choose.

Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, says that all sellers have the common goal of selling their property for the best possible price, within the shortest amount of time. He notes that to do this successfully, the seller needs to work with a skilled real estate professional who is passionate and knowledgeable about the area in which in the home is situated. “It is best to work with an agent who specialises in the area as they will understand the local market and know what buyers in that area want. Working knowledge of the area and target audience will help the agent to tailor their market approach,” says Goslett. “How the agent markets the property will have an impact on how many buyers want to view the property and how long it stays on the market. The longer a property is on the market, the less likely the seller will get their asking price.”

According to Goslett sellers should take into consideration whether or not the agent or the brand they work for lists properties for sale on national websites or just smaller localised ones, as the more exposure the property has, the more chance there is of finding a suitable buyer in the shortest possible time. Selecting an agent from a brand with a national network will also increase the odds of finding the right buyer for the home in minimum time.

“Once the search for an agent has been narrowed down, sellers should meet with each of the prospective agents to get a feel for who they are and how they intend to market the property. During this time the agent will also be able to have a look at the property to provide an evaluation. Although everyone wants a premium price for their home, it is important that the agent is realistic in their evaluation, which should be based on the location of the property, current market conditions and what similar houses have recently sold for in the area,” says Goslett. “An overpriced home will sit on the market for longer than it needs to and in some cases may not sell at all. Sometimes agents will give a high evaluation to secure a sole mandate on the property. However, if the listing price is not market-related, it will hurt the selling process and reduce the chances of the home selling for a good price,” he warns.

Goslett advises that to ensure a reasonable guarantee of service, sellers should ask these five questions:

1.       What sales have you concluded in the area in the past six months?
2.       What tools does your estate agency provide to assist you in effectively meeting your obligations to buyers and sellers?
3.       How effective have your marketing campaigns been for other homes in the area?
4.       What is your sphere of influence and how well known are you the area?
5.       What buyer qualification process do you follow regarding getting finance approved for sale?
 
He advises that the commission percentage should be discussed and agreed upon upfront.  Commission rates will vary from one agent to the next depending on the agency they work, as well as the agent’s experience and services they offer.

“Often an agent that offers their services at the lowest commission will also give the lowest level of service. It is also important to remember that agents from larger, reputable agencies offer the backing, experience, considerable marketing benefits and access to a bigger database of potential buyers that only a large company can offer,” says Goslett.

To achieve the best possible price for a home, it needs to be in its best possible condition. A good agent will be able to provide sellers with advice on what should be done to the property to make it more appealing to prospective buyers.
“An essential element to the agent and seller relationship is effective communication, as well as trust. The agent should work with the seller’s best interest in mind at all times. For that to happen, the seller must be able to feel comfortable with the agent and be able to discuss matters openly and freely,” says Goslett.
 
Once the seller has chosen the agent they would like to work with; they will need to discuss the type of mandate they will give them. The agreement should work for both parties. “The agent should provide the seller with a marketing plan that they believe will help them fulfil the obligations of the mandate and get the home sold in the shortest time and at the best market-related price,” Goslett concludes.


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