The right agent for the job

A knowledgeable, fully-qualified real estate professional from a reputable agency can be an invaluable asset for homeowners wanting to sell their property at the best possible price within the shortest time frame, says Hendrik Havenga, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Blue Chip Realty, whose office services the Pretoria Moot and Akasia areas.
However, he notes that with so many agents to choose from, it may be difficult for sellers to know whether they have selected the right agent. “While legislation changes within the industry have ensured that real estate agents are required to have a qualification before they are able to trade in the market, it is still important to select an agent who will be best suited to the seller’s requirements,” says Havenga. “A good agent will have in-depth market knowledge regarding the properties in the area, as well as being able to provide their client with facts and figures of recent sales. The agent must also have a positive attitude and be able to provide the seller with a track record of how many properties they have sold in the area. While it may be an easy task to list large numbers of properties, the real expertise lies in actually selling them.”
According to Havenga, aside from specific area knowledge, key elements sellers should take note of when choosing an agent are compliance and back-up. “Make sure that the agent is compliant with the legal requirements and is registered with the Estate Agents Affairs Board. Don’t be afraid to ask to see their qualification and certificates.  It is also important to work with an agent from a brand that has a support system and network in place to ensure that the property is marketed most effectively. An agent working by themselves will not have the same access to resources as an agent from an established brand with a global presence. Brand presence should not be underestimated,” advises Havenga.
Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that sellers should work with an agent that has the resources and the ability to value a property at its true, market-related value, as well as ensure that the property is marketed to the right target audience with maximum exposure. “This is highly important to the success of the property sale transaction as statistics show that a correctly priced home which is exposed to the right audience will sell within a relatively short period of time.”
As a part of the process in selecting the right agent, Havenga advises sellers to arrange an interview with any potential agent. An interview will provide the seller with the opportunity to ask the agent all the questions they would like to know. According to Havenga the most important questions to ask are:
Do you have registered buyers on your database or are you dependant on advertising this property for leads?
Do you have a website and is it well known and have high traffic volumes?
Will this property be available to other agents in the office, if so how many?
He adds that sellers should also request that any agent listing their home provide a detailed marketing plan, laying out how they intend to maximise the chances of selling the property. Ideally the agent should already have buyers from their database in mind, have access to good online advertising opportunities and be able to provide the seller with ongoing feedback around the progress of the sale.
“It is very important that the estate agent and the seller are able to communicate effectively and both understand each other’s perspective. 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,” Havenga concludes.

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