According to a recent survey conducted by leading independent market research company, Roy Morgan on how people selected their real estate agent, the majority of sellers polled said they would interview more agents next time they sell.
- 38% of respondents to the survey said they interviewed just one agent before making their decision on who to use,
- 55% chose to interview two or three agents before making their decision, and
- 8% interviewed more than three agents.
When asked to choose which influences had helped them decide on their agent, 58% said they were influenced by seeing an agent successfully sell a local property while 36% relied on recommendation by friends.
Other influences were:
- Newspaper advertising – 5%
- Seeing the agent’s website/listing on a real estate portal – 18%
- Local signboards – 12%
Interestingly (given the popularity of social media these days) only 3% of vendors said they had been influenced by an agent through their social media.
The approach vendors took to selecting an agent was an insight into the disconnect between some vendor expectations, their behaviour and their experience with real estate agents.
Given that the sale of a home is one of the most important financial transactions many of us will ever undertake (in many cases more than once in a lifetime) it makes sense to take the process of selecting someone to sell that important asset very seriously.
Here are some questions we think you should ask during agents during the selection process:
- How will you target the right buyers for my property?
There’s more to targeting buyers than advertising alone. While a professionally prepared tailored marketing campaign that targets the right buyers is vital, your agent should also be actively contacting buyers looking for a property like yours. Unfortunately too many agents wait for a buyer to come to them.
- How do you calculate what my property is worth and can you substantiate the figure?
Many people are lured by the promise of a high price without being told how that price was calculated and how it will be achieved. Ask an agent to explain how they arrived at a figure when appraising your home to ensure it’s not simply a number designed to draw you in. Nothing will damage the integrity of a sale faster than a home that’s unrealistically priced. It’s important to ensure your agent prices your property in line with current market values to avoid it becoming stale on the market.
- How will you achieve the best sales result for me?
When it comes to achieving the best possible price there are 3 key factors to look for – attention to detail (on everything from property presentation and local knowledge to follow-up communication); highly skilled negotiation skills (why not put the agent to the test by role playing a negotiation with them); and last but not least, friendly, professional service, without the pressure (buyers see straight through the ‘pushy salesperson spiel’).
- Can you show me the results and testimonials from your last 3 sales?
If an agent can’t show you recent sales results and testimonials (not results from 3 years ago) then how can you be sure they have what it takes to achieve top dollar in the current market?
- How often will I hear from you? And how do you communicate with prospective buyers?
There’s nothing more frustrating than an agent that fails to keep you fully informed during the sales campaign. You should never have to ask for information. Ask each prospective agent how he or she intends to communicate with you and with prospective buyers of your property. You may be surprised to learn how many buyers fail to be contacted after an inspection, even in a tough market.