Don’t make the same mistakes a lot of owners make and select the wrong agent to sell their property.
Choosing a real estate agent is one of the most important decisions you need to make when selling property. The right agent will not only get you the best price, they should also make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. This is particularly true in the current market, as prices have adjusted and there are fewer buyers around.
Unfortunately, these tighter conditions also mean less income and more competition for agents. This can lead to some negative behaviours, including saying whatever they need to, to get your business.
So… what are the most common mistakes people make when choosing a real estate agent – and how can you avoid them?
Mistake #1: Choosing the agent who suggests the highest sale price.
While you obviously want to get the best price possible, setting your guide / asking price too high is likely to have an adverse effect on your property – with less buyer interest. The first couple of weeks of your property been listed are the most important – so you need to get your guide / asking price right.
As such, you should be wary of any agent that quotes a particularly high sale price – or just agrees with the number you suggest.
To help avoid this mistake, ask potential agents to value your property without giving them an indication of the price you’re looking for. Also, make sure they back up any sales price with recent local comparable sales.
Mistake #2: Choosing the agent with the lowest fees.
Every agent is different – offering different levels of service, experience, skills, strategy and approach. These differences is often reflected in the fees, and the ‘cheapest’ rarely ever means ‘best value’ – it’s a sign to be cautious and carry out further research. Lower fees may also be a sign that an agent has poor negotiation skills.
To help avoid this mistake, test potential agents by asking for a reduction in their fees and see how they respond. If you can negotiate them down quickly / significantly, they probably won’t be able to provide you with the skills and expertise that you require.
Mistake #3: Choosing an agent with weak negotiation skills.
Remember the agent only gains about $100 in additional commission for an extra $5,000 negotiated on the sale price – this could make a huge difference to your situation.
To help avoid this mistake, you need to select a strong negotiator who can read the play, every property and every negotiation is unique. Ask the agent have they had any recent negotiations where they sold the property for more than the client had asked them to accept – ask what strategies they used and verify the information they tell you with speaking or emailing that person.
Mistake #4: Choosing the agency that sells the most properties.
Larger agencies usually have set sales targets that their agents are expected to meet. Often these targets are tied to bonus schemes, meaning they directly impact the agent’s income. This can lead to some negative behaviours – like pressuring sellers to take lower offers and pushing quick sales.
To help avoid this mistake check the real estate agents Facebook page and google reviews – unhappy clients are likely to have left a review. Also you could have a look at the agents recent sales list and you select which owners you would like to contact for a reference.
Mistake #5: Selecting the agent that ‘knows the most buyers’.
Some agents make a range of claims when trying to sign new clients – like that they have the ‘largest database of buyers’. These are designed to impress sellers and make the agent seem like the best choice for selling their property.
Buyers are not exclusive to one agent, all serious buyers will not rely on just one agent to find them a property, they will speak with lots of agent and will constantly look online for new properties coming to market.
To help avoid this mistake, it’s important to maintain a healthy level of scepticism about all claims potential agents make. This is particularly true if they cannot provide credible evidence supporting their claims.
Mistake #6: ‘Settling’ on an agent.
Finding an agent can be an exhausting process and it can be tempting to go with the first person you speak to – or the agent that is most persistent. Unfortunately, these are often not the best choices.
To help avoid this mistake, think about what characteristics you want in an agent and how you want to approach your sales campaign. Based on this, have a checklist of things to look out for when meeting with potential agents.
Mistake #7: Not attending an open for inspection.
Not all agents attend open homes for all of their properties. This is particularly true for larger agencies, who often get more junior team members to run inspections.
To help avoid this mistake, make sure you attend an open for inspection for another property being sold by your potential agent.
Mistake #8: Choosing an agent that doesn’t have a good understanding or knowledge of your suburb.
As the market can vary greatly from suburb to suburb (even street to street, in some areas), a lack of local knowledge can result in incorrect pricing and ineffective marketing. As such, it’s important your agent has a very good understanding of your area. Ideally, they will live / have lived in the area or – at the very least – have significant experience selling properties in your suburb.
To help avoid this mistake, ask potential agents about their connection and understanding of the local area. You can also use your own local knowledge to test their awareness of landmarks and planned developments.
Mistake #9: Choosing an inexperienced agent.
As every property is different, every sales campaign can present unique challenges. As such, having an agent with experience in a wide range of issues, who can provide you with credible advice throughout the process, can be quite comforting.
To help avoid this mistake, ask potential agents about any major issues they’ve previously had and how they resolved them. It’s also important to remember that, being in the industry for many years does not necessarily mean an agent has diverse experience.
Mistake #10: Not doing your own research.
One of the main reasons to hire an agent is to get access to their professional advice and expertise – however, blindly trusting everything they tell you can lead to a disappointing sales result. As such, you need to feel comfortable questioning the advice you’re being given and making your own decisions.
To help avoid this mistake, do your own research in to the local market. This will also allow you to work out when a potential agent is trying to mislead you.