One of the most critical elements in selling your home is selecting the right agent. The process of hiring an agent should be similar to that of hiring an employee – the wrong hire could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
When it comes to hiring your agent, remember that just like an employee – past performance dictates future performance. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn to an agent by charm, bullying tactics, telling you what to do, being ultra nice or making promises like: “we are going to deliver the world to you”; “we will get you the best result”; “ I promise to get you the maximum dollars”; “we are the area specialists”; “we turn over the most number of properties” – the list goes on and on…
When selecting your agent, it is paramount that the seller or vendor really understands the selling practices of the agent and the agent’s ability to demonstrate and master the sales and marketing process. A seller has to focus on the facts and not the promises or perceptions.
TIPS ON HIRING AN AGENT
It is a good idea to take notes on each agent covering your selection criteria. Focus on key attributes required of a sales agent and drill into each, as you would as an employer in a job interview.
Probe for real life examples such as:
- Can the agent actually sell or is the agent an order taker?
- What is the agent’s sales process? Do they have an understanding of the steps in the sales process? (There can be six to ten steps)
- How does the agent identify a real buyer? How does the agent reply to buyer enquiries? Written or verbal?
- How does the agent market your property? Is it relevant? Does it match the buyer demographic for your area?
- Which other people other than the agent will be involved in the sales process/marketing? What skills do they bring to the table?
- How many sales is the agent currently working on? Too many can be an area of concern – you don’t want the agent spreading himself too thinly.
- What percentage of the agent’s time will you actually receive?
- Can the agent demonstrate past sales, show previous agency agreements and provide results against them?
- How does the agent arrive at your market appraisal price? Ask for proof.
- Can the agent provide past vendors and buyers as a personal reference point? Focus primarily on the sales result and the agent’s ability to engage and negotiate.
- Can the agent demonstrate conflict resolution? Ask for examples.
- Can the agent demonstrate the ability to manage time and work effectively?
- Does the agent display empathy, trust, credibility and flexibility? What is the agent’s interpersonal communication style?
- Does the agent have the right negotiation components – understanding issues, assessing power and influence, setting objectives, planning concessions,developing strategies, choosing techniques and tactics, planning and negotiation.
“What are the strengths and weaknesses of our home?”
YOU MUST ASK YOUR AGENT THIS QUESTION TO AVOID CONDITIONING!
It is absolutely imperative that when discussing your go-to- market strategy with the agent that everything is put on the table – and I mean everything.
Ask the agent about aspects of your property that may be of concern to buyers. Some agents will promise you blue sky at the start but will then lower your expectations, wear you down, and ultimately convince you that your property is not desired, citing these negative elements.
A great real estate agent will be aware of the limitations of each property and should be up front with you about them BEFORE you go to market. This will ensure that these issues are not raised DURING the sales campaign as a tool to lower your expectations.
Lowering your expectations is a form of conditioning that many real estate agents engage in. You don’t want any surprises AFTER you have started your campaign!
The following are examples of surprises used by agents to condition sellers. They are unfortunately all too commonplace:
- There is little backyard
- No one wants your property
- Floor plan does not appeal
- Too much work to be done
- Wrong aspect
TOTAL TRANSPARENCY- AGENT AND VENDOR
Make sure you get the relationship off to a good start with total transparency on every aspect of selling your home.
Get an agreement from the agent of the price expectation he will be advising potential buyers (you may want to validate this by sending a friend to an open house). You don’t want a situation with the agent telling you one price and the buyers another. These tactics are a recipe for disaster, disappointment and the grounds for lowering expectations. Some agents are only focussed on commission and not on your result!!
We suggest the agent compile a weekly written report on all activity and comments outlining the sales funnel of likely buyers and where they are up to in the sales process. So when the agent brings an offer to the table you can immediately relate to actual buyer, their drivers and background.
Total transparency and communication lowers the chances of changes to your expectation with regard to selling price.
You want no surprises on sale or auction day.
Andrew Bruce & Samia Malouf
Riverview Realty is a boutique agency focused on achieving the maximum price, with a client engagement that is above the industry standard. We call it the “Ultimate Experience” which forms part of our unique selling proposition.
Ph. 02 9420 0083, 59 Tambourine Bay Road, Riverview.
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