Selling property, whether your home or investment property, is a big deal. Quite literally, A, BIG, DEAL. For most, it is the biggest deal you’ll ever do. That’s why you appoint a real estate agent. Real estate agents are masters of the deal. The right agent can pocket you $100,000’s more when the deal is done. Therefore, it is wise to invest time and effort selecting your real estate agent.

As a property stylist, I’m often asked for guidance on selecting Real Estate Agents. “Who is the best real estate agent?” There is no such thing. As you’ll discover reading through our insights, it’s all about selecting the right agent for your property.

Do Your Research

It’s easy to find a local real estate agent. They make it as easy as possible to find them as, naturally, they want to be the agent to sell your home. I only have to look to my fridge to see the face and names of two local agents. Magnet calendars that were dropped in my letterbox at the start of the year are a ready reminder of who serves my suburb. Whatever you do, don’t settle for the first agent you find. The key is to discover all options available in the market. This will require a little more time and effort, but is worth every bit.

Websites such as Local Agent Finder provide an easy option to discover agents active in your suburb. It is worth noting, Local Agent Finder will take commission from your agent on the sale of your property. On an $800,000 sale, they can take a fee of $3000. At the end of the day, this cost may be passed on to you. A better alternative is offered at realestate.com.au. Even a quick search on Google Maps can find agents in your area. Google Maps has the added benefit of providing reviews from verified google users.

Location, location, location. Local, Local, Local

Your real estate agent must know your neighbourhood. I could write a whole post on the importance of local knowledge when selecting your real estate agent. I will one day. In the meantime, let me share this in brief. Your agent needs to set price expectations, sale type, timing and understand the strengths of your property in comparison to current listings. They should have a database of ready buyers and understand the needs of prospective buyers in your neighbourhood.

Prospective buyers are going to know the positive and negative aspects of the suburb (schools, public transport, culture). To maintain meaningful dialogue with prospective buyers your agent needs to be even more knowledgeable. The future of your suburb is also important. A large infrastructure or property development may be about to change the appeal of your suburb. Your agent should be ready to promote, or ease concerns, on factors such as these.

Know Your Prospective Buyers

Your agent has to understand your prospective buyers in order to market the property effectively. If you’ve lived in the neighbourhood for some time, you will have your own insight into the demographic. When speaking to prospective agents, ask them who they see as the targeted buyers and how they will market to them. This will provide you with assurance that they are on the right page.

Ideally, your agent should be relatable. The relationship your agent establishes with buyers influences their perspective of the property. An apartment in the heart of Collingwood, would lend itself to a youthful agent. The key is for the agent to be able to relate to the lifestyle and interest of the targeted buyer.

Presentation

Surprise, surprise. What would The Urbane Property Stylist do? Yes, presentation is key and your agent should be the greatest advocate for this. Ask what services (photography, videography, property styling) are included as standard. Review what examples they can provide to understand the quality your property will receive.

Most agents will offer a range of premium services at an additional cost. Give serious consideration to these. Weigh up the cost/benefit of investing in presentation versus marketing spend. Any serious buyer in your market will be searching either Domain or realestate.com.au. Ensure your property is listed on one of these, and invest any additional marketing budget on presentation. A property with well-presented online photos will bring in more prospective buyers than any printed advertisements.

The Bottom Line

Recall the old saying “You get what you pay for”. This applies true to real estate agents. Low commission options may be tempting, but in most cases the best agents demand the highest commission. Remember, you are not seeking the best agent, but selecting the right agent for your property. So, the best option is not necessarily the most expensive. Judge your prospective agents on all criteria, before finally considering the commission. Let their suitability drive your decision. The right agent will justify any saving made on commission.

Beware of fixed cost options, like new entrants Purple Bricks. The incentive for your agent to pursue the best price or even make the sale may reduce once there is no commission on offer. Customers of this business model have attested to this experience.

Selecting Your Real Estate Agent, The Right Way

When selecting your real estate agent remember these points:

  1. Research – Spend the time to discover all options available to you.
  2. Look local – Ensure your agent knows your prospective buyers. Ideally, your agent will also relate to them.
  3. Presentation – What services are included in their commission? What add-on services can they provide?
  4. Commission – This should be your last consideration. Ensure you are selecting the right agent for the right reasons.

Finally, above and beyond any other consideration is compatibility and trust with your agent. You will be sharing your expectations and circumstances; what can often be personal information. Maintaining open and honest communication with your agent will allow them to perform their role completely and achieve the best result.

Emma Tobin, Lead Stylist and Director at The Urbane Property Stylist.

Emma Tobin, Director and Lead Stylist at The Urbane Property Stylist, holds a B.D. (Interior Design). With over ten years of experience in Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Property Styling, Emma has earned a reputation for her attention to detail and ability to deliver.

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