The reality is that they are very involved in one of the largest financial transactions of your life, and are pivotal in making sure you get the highest possible price for your property. And like any relationship, you need to work at it to get the best out of them. Make no mistake, it is a balancing act - you need to know they are doing everything they said they would, while giving them the space to do their thing.
It all starts with finding the best real estate agent.
Finding the right agent
Your agent should act as your trusted advisor and be ready to fight your corner and help you achieve your property goals. You should be looking to have an open relationship with them, built on mutual trust and respect. In terms of qualities, they should be honest, professional, approachable and a good communicator.
Once you have hired an agent, you need to make sure they are doing their job. Here is how:
Make sure you get an accurate valuation
Getting an accurate valuation on your property is vital to ensure you get the highest possible price in the shortest timeframe. Besides online valuation tools and websites the initial appraisal you get from your real estate agent is your best guide on an asking price. Too high and your property will not sell, too low and you risk, literally, selling yourself short. If interest in your property is slow your agent should be telling you if they think the price is too high, and recommending a more realistic one.
If interest in your property is slow your agent should be telling you if they think the price is too high
Create ground rules and expectations
To ensure you have a good relationship with your agent look to set some ground rules and expectations from day one. Like how often you want to be updated, otherwise you are setting the relationship up for failure. The best real estate agents always book appointments ahead of time, call ahead, and give you time to get your home ready for a viewing. They need to realise that you have a life that still needs to function while the sale process is underway.
Listen to your real estate agent’s advice
If you hire a top performing local agent, which should be your goal, then you need to be prepared to listen to their advice. If they are saying your asking price is too high, or that you need to invest in another marketing channel, take the time to consider their opinion. Based on their expertise and experience of the local market they are likely to be right. If you persist in ignoring their advice you are likely to break your mutual understanding and trust.
Communicating with your real estate agent
You should be hearing from your agent at least once a week or more. If you aren't, tell them it isn’t good enough. They should be letting you know every time someone enquires about your property or makes an offer. The offer may be lower than your asking price, but ultimately you make the call. A good agent should always be available to address your concerns as they come up.
A good agent should always be available to address your concerns as they come up
Agree on a marketing strategy for your property
A poorly marketed property is either not going to sell or be on the market for months. At best you will end up accepting a ridiculously low offer. To avoid these scenarios ensure you agent has a clear marketing strategy to get the most eyeballs on your property. That involves you taking the time to go through every detail, like which photos are used, with a fine-toothed comb. Your property description must also list all the selling points you want to highlight. Your agent also needs to be marketing your property to the right audience. All these details should be clearly itemised in your agent’s initial marketing strategy proposal. And remember, it's not always a good idea to try and get a cheaper deal on advertising because this doesn't empower your agent to get the best price or attract the right buyers for your property.
Make sure that a sale is progressing so it can be nurtured through to completion
Some agents could have dozens of properties on their books, and there is the possibility you may slip off their radar. If your agent is not as communicative as you would like, don’t be shy to shout. Ask them for more regular updates. You need to be sure that the sale is progressing and you can help nurture it through to completion.
If your agent is not as communicative as you would like, don’t be shy to shout
Can you change agents?
Then you can start looking for a new agent in your area and get your property sold.
Use our Smart Seller’s Guide to make sure your sale goes smoothly. We also have useful tools like our Real Estate Commission Calculator to help you work out what the average commission is in your area.