Commission on a house sale amounts to a lot of money and consumers should make sure they get their money's worth.

That is the advice of Barry Davies, CEO Franchising of the Chas Everitt International property group. "At current rates, consumers can expect to pay about R35 000 commission per R500 000. That's big money, and consumers are entitled to make sure the agent they select to market the property can deliver."

He suggests prospective sellers draw up a list of questions to ask during interviews with prospective agents. "Consumers should not shy away from grilling prospective agents - after all, it really amounts to a job interview and sellers have the right to ascertain that they are going to get value for money."

Questions should include the following:
* Are you a full-time professional agent, or do you sell property part-time?
* What qualifications and experience do you have?
* Will you commit to a written marketing plan, tailor-made for my property?
* Who determines the advertising budget and what amount will be spent?
* Do you have ties to a mortgage originator and what measures do you have in place to assist marginal buyers or those in unusual circumstances?
* What feedback can I expect and how often will you inform me of progress?
* Can you show me letters of recommendation from previous clients, and may I contact them?

Davies stresses that sellers should strive to establish a businesslike relationship with their chosen agent and cautions that consumers should not necessarily pick the first agent they interview.

"Sellers have no reason to feel embarrassed about asking probing questions - agents who baulk at questions should not be considered. Equally, it is much easier to gauge the capabilities of an agent if you interview more than one, and then compare ratings.

"A bit of forethought before selecting an agent can make all the difference to the level of service you receive when selling your property."
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