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How to select the ideal real estate agent

There is no doubt that the services of a professional real estate agent from a reputable brand can be an invaluable asset to any homeowner in today’s market who wants to sell their property for the best possible price in a timely manner.

 “However,” says Caron Leslie, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Property Associates, “the crux of the matter is selecting the right agent for the job.”
 
So what criteria should a seller use to determine whether they have selected the right agent? According to Leslie, the legislative changes within the real estate industry means that agents working within the market are required to have a certain level of qualification to practise their trade. “Essentially this means that homeowners are assured that today’s real estate professionals are exactly that – professional. Therefore the decision has more to do with if the agent is someone that the seller feels comfortable with and can trust. The majority of buyers and sellers usually look for the most visible estate agents in the area by way of boards, advertising, recent sales in the area, market share and of course the internet,” says Leslie.
 
Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that while it is important to work with an agent with specific area experience, it is advisable that the agent is from a highly regarded and well-known brand. “The top real estate brands in the country made it to the top because they have a solid marketing strategy, resources and a strong network of professionals within the industry.” 
 
According to Leslie, while homeowners have become more aware of how essential it is to work with a professional agent, not many ask to see the agent credentials or qualifications. “The seller should interview the agent and ask for proof of their certificates before they make their final decision as to who they would want to work with. They should also confirm that the agent has knowledge of the current market conditions, area knowledge and an established sales track record. It is very important that the seller feels confident in an agent’s capabilities and that they can work together on a made-to-fit marketing plan,” she advises.
 
Leslie says the key deliverables of the agent, aside from their sales record, should be their ability to read the market and correctly price the property to reach the right target market. “Along with price counselling, the agent should be able to provide consistent feedback to the seller on the progress of the sale as well as up-to-date market trends and recent sales of properties in the area.  They must be available at each home viewing and assist with qualifying buyers. A good agent will have in-depth market knowledge, resources and the ability to value a property at its true, market value.”
 
She notes that it is crucial for the estate agent and the seller to be able to communicate effectively and both understand each other’s perspective. Trust is a vital ingredient to the relationship between the seller and their agent. “An agent should be easily contactable so that the seller has the freedom to openly communicate with them as they feel necessary. This will assist in both parties to be on the same page and work together to achieve the objective of selling the property.”

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