Finding a real estate agent isn’t hard. They’re everywhere.
On billboards, advertising signboards, online, in your local newspaper and basically anywhere that there are homes to sell.
But just because they’re easier to find than a Bintang singlet in Bali doesn’t necessarily mean the right one for you is easy to come across.
And coming across the right one is very important, because otherwise you’re messing with the value or saleability of the single most worthwhile and important asset of your entire life.
Especially when average Australians only sell their homes two or three times in their lifetime. You have to make it count or run the risk of falling short in retirement.
So every dollar counts and sometimes the difference in sales results can be multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the performance of the complete stranger that you engage to sell your house.
So how do you pick the right person for the job and get the most out of the sale of your home?
The first key to a good agent is local knowledge.
A friend or family member may recommend someone who did the right job for them, but if their neighbourhood was nowhere near yours, it stands to reason that their agent will be in unfamiliar territory at your house and therefore not as comfortable in their environment.
A simple lack of knowledge and confidence can make all the difference to their performance and end result, so it might suit you better to find a local expert.
You really need someone with a proven track record in your neighbourhood and there are ways to sort the good from the bad.
Looking at local sold properties online will show which agencies have performed well, while also giving you a decent grasp of what your home might be worth (sorry to break it to you, but buyers may not think it’s worth as much as you do!).
Knowing realistically what it might be worth is important when choosing between agents, because it allows you to cut through the smoke and mirrors.
You don’t want to be fooled by agents offering the cheapest commission or a discount in advertising costs, as the small amount paid in the marketing and selling stage is insignificant when compared to the value of your home, but integral in getting you the right price.
If the agent claims they’ll get you more than what the property is worth before securing the listing, steer clear.
Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and news.com.au
Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing.
His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at news.com.au