How to find the right real estate agent for you

Sep 26, 2019
Finding the right real estate agent can be a daunting task, with so many firms and individual agents to choose from. Source: Getty.

Your family home is no doubt filled with precious memories that have been carefully built over decades, from engagements and weddings to the birth and childhood of children and even grandchildren, so it’s no surprise that making the decision to downsize and sell your property can be extremely daunting as you prepare to embark upon an exciting new chapter of life.

But, with so many cherished memories contained within those four walls, choosing a real estate agent to trust with the sale of your home is no easy feat. From fees and experience to personality, there are so many things to consider when you start looking for the right agent to handle your listing.

So, if you have decided that now is the time to move somewhere smaller, now that the kids have moved out and set up a life or family home of their own, here is a list of all of the things you should consider before signing a contract.

Do you want a traditional agent?

In years gone by you might have gone with the estate agent whose office was at the end of your street, or stuck with those recommended by friends and family. Nowadays though there are a plethora of options, making your decision that bit harder. And, with the improvement of technology, there have also been a rise of commission-free online firms in recent years, broadening your options.

Perhaps the best place to start when considering which agent to go with is to ask yourself whether your needs would be best served by a traditional realty firm, with a bricks and mortar office you can visit, or whether you’d rather pay zero commission and opt for one of the modern online options who charge a single one-off fee instead.

As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to both and the ultimate decision rests with you as it depends entirely on your personal needs, wants and preferences. So before you start researching individual agents, have a look into whether one of the zero-commission offerings, such as Upside or PropertyNow, could be the right choice for you.

Research local agents

When it comes to selling you home, you need to make sure you hire the very best agent for the job and one factor to consider is that local agents, who are familiar with the area, as this means they will know the other properties on the market, as well as those that have sold recently.

The best way to research is to Google agents within your area or the surrounding suburbs, view their websites, read any online reviews that are available and familiarise yourself with the services they offer and the fees they charge. You can also view their other listings, to see whether they have experience selling properties in a similar style or location to yours.

See them in action

While researching online is a great place to start, there’s nothing like seeing your prospective agent in action.

One of the best and easiest ways to do this is to attend an open house that they are hosting. This gives you the chance to observe them at work and to get a feel for how they interact with both clients and prospective buyers, so you can feel comfortable in the knowledge that they will do their best to sell your home for the best price possible.

Popping into an open house also gives you the chance to introduce yourself to the agent and to exchange contact details.

Ask plenty of questions

Your house is more than likely the most valuable asset you will ever own, so it pays to make sure you’re doing it justice when it comes to selling up. This means that you need to make sure you are 100 per cent clear on what an agent can offer you before you agree to trust them with your beloved family home.

This is where it becomes important to ask questions – and lots of them – as there could potentially be a lot of money at stake down the line if you don’t fully understand the terms of your agreement, or fail to ask about a key aspect of the sale. As the saying goes, ‘There is no such thing as a stupid question’.

What do you want from them?

At the end of the day, it is your house, so you should feel like your needs are being served through your agreement with an agent, not the other way around. So when you start talking to potential agents, make sure you know exactly what you want from them.

Whether you have firm views about the way you want your house to be marketed, or would prefer someone to take the reigns and advise you on the best ways to stage and style your home for sale, now is the time to make sure you get what you want.

Do you feel comfortable?

It’s all well and good having a competent and qualified agent, but this person is going to be managing the sale of your most cherished possession, so you really need to feel comfortable with the agent you choose. There’s no science here though, as it all comes down to how you feel when you’re in the company of the person and the impression you get of them.

Sign on the dotted line

Once you have completed all of these steps, you should hopefully have found yourself the very best real estate agent for the job and be ready to sign on the dotted line.

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