We say this time and time again: selling a home is a high-value transaction and it’s therefore super important that do everything right. This includes finding an agent who you feel best meets your needs. It’s never a bad idea to do a bit of background checking and ask potential agents a few questions to determine whether that agent is a good fit for you. The types of questions you will ask your real estate agent will depend on your specific goals and needs, whether it be a fast sale or a trustworthy and personable agent.
In our experience, clients ask questions based on four key requirements: trust, results, customer service, and cost.
- What would your past clients say about you?
There is no better way to gauge the value and service you will get from an agent than to refer to testimonials from their past clients. Be careful, though, because when you’re asking this question, you’re basically just hoping that the agent will be honest with you. This is why asking this next question is a good idea:
- Can I contact your previous clients for references?
Previous clients have walked in your shoes and have no reason to be dishonest about their experience. This way, you get the cold, hard truth. Good agents will happily provide you with references and contact details of past clients so that you can ask them what they thought of the agent’s service.
- If you had to mislead or deceive a buyer to get a deal across the line, would you?
If you are looking for a genuine and trustworthy agent, this is an important question to ask. Agents who are willing to mislead buyers are probably willing to mislead sellers too, so you should be wary of agents who answer yes to this question.
- What is your average days on market?
This basically tells you how many days it usually takes an agent to sell a property. When you ask this question, remember to take into consideration the typical type of property the agent sells and the general location, as these variables will affect the average days on market.
- How often do you achieve a sale price above the owner’s expectations?
If an agent has been able to exceed seller’s expectations in the past, that’s a good indicator that he or she is a good salesperson and negotiator and will be able to get you the best deal possible for your property.
- What makes you a good negotiator?
If you’re looking for someone who will get you the best results, they need to have good negotiation skills. Agents are basically intermediaries between you and the buyer so being able to please both parties is really important.
Customer Service –
- How often do you contact your clients?
Selling your property can be stressful, and you might want to know what is happening every step of the way. If this is the case, finding out up front how often your agent will contact you can be a vital piece of information that will make the selling process a lot easier for you.
- How frequently do you send your clients reports with statistics and feedback from OFIs?
As above, if you want to know what’s happening with the sale of your home, you should ask your real estate agent this question. This is particularly important if you’re selling the home you live in because you probably want to know who’s been to inspect your home. A good agent will contact you after every inspection to let you know how many parties came through and whether any offers were made.
- Is there any other value you add that I should know about?
What else will the agent do that sets them apart from other agents? Ask yourself whether the things they list are important to you.
- What is your commission fee? Is it negotiable?
If the cost is important to you, you definitely want to know how much the agent is going to charge you. Their fee should be stated as a percentage of the property’s sale price, inclusive of GST. Bear in mind that if you choose an agent with the cheapest commission, that might be a reflection on the agent’s skills or their willingness to work hard for you.
- Does the commission you charge vary between clients?
This question will help you find out whether you can get a better deal on commission. Some agents will do a scaled commission or offer a lower/higher commission than usual depending on the price of your property.
- How much is the marketing going to cost? Can you cover the cost?
Marketing costs can vary widely depending on the type of property you are selling, the method of selling and the type of campaign you’re running. For example, auctions generally cost a bit more than private treaty sales, so you should ask for an estimate on how much the cost will be and whether the agency will cover the marketing costs or which specific costs they might be willing to cover.
In the end, you should ask any questions that you feel are important and that you want to be answered before you sign a contract. You might only have to ask one question or you might want to ask 20. The important thing is to stick to your gut and pick an agent that you know will work for you.
If you have a question you would like to ask an agent, you can contact Anthony Oddo on 0430 028 254 or [email protected]. He will happily give you any information you want to know!