Depending on the state of the real estate market where you live and the amount of initial groundwork you’ve done in the home-selling process, you may be faced with an array of choice when it comes to choosing a real estate professional. Here’s a guide to selecting the best one.
1. Does the real estate agent KNOW their property STUFF?
Often, knowledge in the property game is king when it comes to successful real estate agent results. An excellent agent will not only know their industry benchmarks and requirements inside out, they should know legal, conveyancing, council, property statistics and the current state of the market backwards and forwards as well.
Here are a few questions a great real estate agent should be able to answer (beyond just “what’s my house worth?”):
• What have properties similar to mine been selling for?
• How quickly are properties in my street or area selling?
• Which is the best type of sale for my property (e.g auction, deadline sale etc)
• How many people are likely to view the ads you schedule in our marketing campaign?
• Do we need consent for the garage or sleep-out we built?
• Who is responsible for maintaining the boundary fence or shared driveway?
• Do you know a good plumber who can fix our leaky toilet?
• What is the regulation height for a pool fence?
📣 OK… but what if they DON’T know their stuff?
Maybe the agent you prefer is new to the area, or maybe you’re selling in a different part of town but you’d like to use a real estate agent you’ve met in another area, one who doesn’t have intimate knowledge of the place in which you’re selling. Maybe they’re a learn-as-they-go type. With every ‘rule’ there comes exceptions, and it’s up to you to balance the real estate agent’s attributes in order to make a choice. No one agent is perfect, and it may be unrealistic to expect a tick in every box. If the real estate agent you are gravitating towards doesn’t have area knowledge, look for signs they’re willing and open to seek out answers for you, that they’re connected with other real estate agents who can help, and that they’re personable and approachable enough to engage potential buyers. Even if they don’t have all the answers at the start, these traits will show you that particular agent is aware of and actively compensating for any shortcomings in their knowledge space.
2. Is the agent COMMUNICATING effectively, and in a timely fashion?
Communication is an absolutely crucial element of being a successful real estate agent, and the first indication of how well a real estate agent is going to communicate with your potential buyers is how well they communicate with you. Communication covers verbal, non-verbal and written aspects of exchanging information, and you’ll know that a real estate agent has performed well in this area when you feel satisfied they’ve laid out everything they can offer you, answered any queries and given you a general impression of confidence in their ability to sell your home. Conveying all of this in an acceptable timeframe is also important - even if an agent can’t answer your queries immediately, reaching out to confirm they have your message and will respond within a promised timeframe, and making sure their response is delivered within that timeframe, will help you feel confident that your needs are important to them.
📣 OK… but what if they DON’T communicate well?
This is probably not a point you want to downplay. While you can forgive a multitude of personal communication tics or styles which may be quirky, unique or just don't have a broad appeal (after all, you only need one buyer!) your sense that a chosen real estate agent has laid out the right formula to sell your home is really important. If you feel that the offering, structure, fee schedule, marketing plan or other vital points have not been communicated well enough, and the agent has not done enough to reassure or clarify any of these points for you, it may be a better idea to look seriously at the next agent on your list.
3. How does the real estate agent’s offering COMPARE to others?
Besides the more human elements of communication, personality, vibe and presentation, you’ll want to lay the agents’ offers side-by-side and make a straight comparison. This is where MyPitchList comes in handy, because it allows you to easily compare offers (called pitches) from various agents in your area, all of whom are bidding for your listing and letting you know exactly what they can do for you. Once you’ve compared the figures and the finer points, you’ll have a clearer picture of which agent is right for you.
4. Does the agent seem to MATCH the buyer?
Start by thinking about who is the perfect new resident for your home. If you’re a growing family looking for more space, your perfect buyer may be a young family just starting out. If you’re a city-dweller looking to move to the suburbs, your perfect buyer may be an empty-nest couple making the opposite move. (If you struggle figuring this out, a good real estate agent will be able to guide you.) Once you identify your target buyer, you might want to consider how well each potential agent matches that profile. Does the agent seem like they’d have empathy with and knowledge of the target demographic? For example, a rural specialist may be able to communicate more effectively with a city family looking for a lifestyle property than an apartment specialist would. And that same apartment specialist’s unique agent skill set will no doubt be a better match for our empty nesters looking for an exciting new life in the city. Aligning the agent’s persona, speciality and experience to your unique property can be a smart move in terms of attracting buyers. Remember - many buyers out there are faced with plenty of choice, and their relative enthusiasm for your particular home may come down to their experience with your real estate agent and their sense that the agent is matching them with just the right property for their needs.
📣 OK… but what if they DON'T seem to match?
Again, rules are made to be broken. Some real estate agents are going to have the innate ability to get on with any buyer and impress them with your home’s potential. Also, some buyers are not going to care a jot whether they vibe with your agent or not. Perhaps, for you, the real estate commissions and fees are the most important factor, and that’s completely ok. Let your intuition guide you, and if you feel like an agent is a good fit regardless, go with your gut.
5. How do you FEEL about the agent? And how do others feel?
Because real estate is ultimately made of bricks, mortar, weatherboard, steel and glass, it’s easy to forget that real estate is really a people-centred business. The crucial role played by the real estate agent can be a deeply personal one for both parties. So can the major decision to sell or buy a home; a decision which involves a ton of emotions, whether you recognise them at the time or not. For most of us, our home is our basic security blanket, and our shelter from the storm of life. It’s only natural to feel an emotional significance when selling and buying property. With this feeling-based reality in mind, it’s also not unreasonable to want to enjoy the company of your chosen real estate agent, or at least not dislike having them around! If you like the agent, you get on well with them or at least think they’re an ok sort of person, the sometimes-tumultuous process of selling your house will be much smoother for you. Check in with your feelings before making a final choice with your head, because often this instinct is our best guide.
📣 OK… but what if I DON'T really KNOW?
If you can’t figure out how you feel about a potential real estate agent, look for other people’s opinions. The best real estate agents have testimonials to share from previous clients they’ve worked with. If they don’t - perhaps they’re a bit new to the real estate game to have built up any history - just ask if you can talk to one of their career or personal referees. The real estate agent is bound to have made an impression somewhere along the line, and by reaching out to a person who knows them well and can speak to their character, personal traits or work ethic, you may or may not start to see some alignment with your own impressions of their fit to sell your property for you.
So… consider these main points when you’re assessing a range of real estate agents. How well do they know their stuff, or how confident do you feel in their intention and ability to find out what they don’t know? Are they communicating clearly and effectively with you, and will, therefore, with your potential buyers? How does the agent’s offering compare to others? Do you feel the agent’s skill set and persona is a good match for the buyer you can see purchasing your home? And how do you, and others, feel about the agent? These considerations should help you move to a place where you are more or less confident about the majority of these points, and that should ultimately direct you to the perfect choice of real estate agent for your current property sale.