Getting the right real estate agent for you

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that it goes without saying that sellers want to sell their home at the best possible price, within the shortest amount of time.  The only way that this can be achieved is by choosing a skilled real estate professional who is passionate and knowledgeable about the area.

“Sellers should remember that how an 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,” says Goslett

He suggests that sellers take into consideration whether or not the agent or brand lists properties for sale on national websites or smaller local ones, as the more exposure the property has, the more chance there is of finding a suitable buyer in the shortest possible time.

Once the search for an agent has been narrowed down, it is time to phone them and have the property evaluated. Although everyone wants a premium price for their home, it is important that the agent is realistic in their valuation, which should be based on the location of the property, current market conditions and what similar houses have recently sold for in the area. “An over-valued property will sit on the market much longer and in some cases it may not sell at all. Sellers should beware of agents that give higher valuations just to secure a sole mandate on the property, as this will only be harmful to the selling process in the long run,” warns Goslett.

Goslett advises that in order to ensure a reasonable guarantee of service, sellers should ask these top 5 questions:
  1. What are your past results and what sales have you concluded in the area in the past six months?
  1. What tools does your estate agency provide to assist you in effectively meeting your obligations to buyers and sellers?
  1. How effective have your marketing campaigns been for other homes in the area?
  1. What is your sphere of influence and find out how well known are you the area?
  1. What buyer qualification process do you follow in terms of getting finance approved for the sale?
He advises that the commission to be charged should be discussed and agreed upon upfront and should be based on the level of service you can expect.  “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.

Because a home will only be sold for the best possible price if it is in a good condition, Goslett advises that sellers ask the agents what they think should be done to the property to make it more appealing to prospective buyers.  An agent that knows the business will be able to assess what needs to be done to get the home in tip-top shape.

It is essential that there is trust between the agent and the seller and that the seller and agent are able to communicate effectively.  “The agent should work to the seller’s best interest at all times and in order 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.

The last aspect that will need to be discussed with the agent is the type of mandate that will be given to them. “Come to an agreement that works for both parties. And remember that a good agent will present you with a marketing plan that they believe will help them fulfill the obligations of  the mandate and get your home sold in the shortest time and at the best market related price,” Goslett concludes.

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