Selling your home is a huge undertaking, after all its your biggest asset. So before handing over the keys to your castle and putting your financial future into the hands of someone you may have known for less than 60 minutes you need to do your due diligence.
After all, if you bought a new TV or gizmo you would spend hours researching the right one….so why not your agent. You only get one chance to sell your home and there are no do-overs, so do your research and get it right. Choose wisely and you will be rewarded with a great experience and a great result. Choose incorrectly and well, you know the answer to that one!
As agent’s we are programmed to sell, and when being interviewed by clients we are always trying to put our best foot forward. So, here are 5 Questions that every home owner should ask when interviewing prospective agents:
How many clients do you look after at any one time?
Why should you care and why is this important? Real estate transactions are by their nature very time intensive. Agents that overload themselves with hundreds of listings are unable to service all their clients well. It’s not a criticism – it’s just common sense. Agents that manage a smaller number of clients provide a more focused approach to the clients they are working with and generally sell in a far shorter period of time at a better price.
A great way of testing this is to email an enquiry to an agent and see how long they take to get back to you, who calls you back, and what the customer service is like. After all this is how they are going to be treating the possible ‘buyers’ of your home.
What is your average days on Market?
Translation – how long does it actually take you to sell a house? Most agents should be able to tell you this off the top of their head. It’s a great guide to the agents abilities. Homes that are over-priced tend to sit on the market for a long time and end up selling for less than what they would have if priced properly. Agents that regularly over price property to win the hearts (and homes!) of prospective clients are usually the ones that take a long time to sell.
Drive around your area and check out for sale signs. Agents in your area that are putting homes under offer quickly are your best bet. It is usually good indicator that they have a strong database of buyers and are accurate with their appraisal prices.
Can I speak to previous clients?
Translation – Do you do what you say you’re going to do? Lets face it, there is no better way of finding out how good an agent actually is than asking someone who has used them. Good agents will be happy to supply a list of clients and their phone numbers. Most will even be happy for you to choose a home at random so that we aren’t just giving you the people that like us!
Rating website such as www.ratemyagent.com are great reference points to see what other clients have thought of their services. Agents that sell a lot of homes but don’t have many testimonials should raise a red flag. Googling the shortlist of agents and including the word ‘real estate’ in your search will also give you a good overview of them and their work.
Will it actually be ‘you’ doing my home opens?
Lets face it, we choose an agent because of the person. Not their agency or their team. So for most home owners, they want the person they trust and have connected with to be the one opening the home. After all you have hired them for their skill set and negotiating abilities, not an assistant.
Once again this comes back to agents that carry too many homes at once. Its looks great for them on the internet but there is simply no physical way they can have the time to open everyone’s home themselves. So what happens is, you usually end up with a junior team member or member of the admin staff standing at your front door.
It’s simply a case of getting what you paid for. You wouldn’t buy a TV and then put up with an inferior one being delivered and selling your home has a lot more $$ riding on it.
What sort of regular feedback will I get?
You have just spent 4 hours cleaning the house, shouting at the kids and hiding everything in the cupboards. Your rush out the door and sit eagerly waiting at a café for an hour…….and……the only thing you are thinking about is how many people came through?, did anyone like my house enough to buy it?
One of the number one complaints from home sellers about agents is the lack of feedback they receive both immediately after the home open as well as during the process. They may have many properties to represent and your number one thought after the end of the home open is “where is my phone call’.
Set good expectations with your agent research them well with previous clients and ratings web sites. Once again, an agent who carries a moderate amount of listings and is careful not to over commit is more able to give you the service and care you require through what can often be a stressful and anxious time.