Deciding to sell your property is a big step. Consider the pros and cons of selling before you look for a real estate agent. When you're sure you want to sell, you want to get the best possible price for your home. A real estate agent's job is to make sure you do get the best price. They can only do this if your home is presentable and they get buyers through the door to inspect your property.
First things first: understand what an agent does
Your chances of success are better if you understand what a good real estate agent does. From day one, a good real estate agent will do their utmost to help you. They may ask some things of you:
- Does the street view make your house look appealing? If not, a good real estate agent may ask you to tidy up your lawn, repair your fence or even paint your exterior.
- Does your interior make your home look as large as possible? They may suggest painting dark walls a lighter colour or removing some furniture and clutter.
- Is your backyard and patio presentable? You may need to hire a gardener to tidy up your backyard or your agent may suggest having your decking repolished.
A good real estate agent will be sensitive, but honest. They know from experience that a well-presented home attracts more potential buyers and adds to the value of the house.
A good real estate agent doesn't leave the ball in your court. They will take an active role in getting buyers through your door. Traits to consider when choosing a real estate agent lists six of the most important traits:
- Gender doesn't matter
It may seem like honesty and empathy don't go hand-in-hand, but an honest real estate agent tells you what you need to know because they do empathise with you.
The difference between a good real estate agent and a not so good one
Take another look at the traits of a good real estate agent and you will know how to choose a good one. However, some agents know how to present themselves in the best light, but drop the ball after they get your listing:
- Professionalism means a real estate agent works on your behalf until your property is sold.
- A good real estate agent will communicate with you regularly. Whether it's good news or bad, they will contact you and discuss your sale. If you have to contact them more often than they contact you, they may have put your property on the back burner.
- A good real estate agent has years of experience to draw on. Over the years, they will have acquired a good reputation in their community. A not so good real estate agent will not have as good a reputation.
When you sign an agreement with a real estate agent, read the fine print. Don't sign an agreement that forces you to allow them to represent you for an extended period of time. A 60 day agreement should be enough for you to find out if you've chosen a good real estate agent.
Finding the right agent
How do you know if you've found the right real estate agent? You can take a shotgun approach and visit different agents in your suburb, but you may be disappointed. One thing all real estate agents know how to do is make a good initial impression.
If you use OpenAgent, you can compare real estate agents first. This will save you legwork and help you find the right agent for you. Venietta Slama-Powell faced the almost impossible task of selling her mother's home after she passed away. She didn't know what properties were selling for in Abbotsford and didn't know which real estate agents had a good reputation. On top of that, she was still grieving.
Venietta used OpenAgent. In her words:
"OpenAgent provided me with the confidence of finding the best real estate agent within the area."
As a result, she was able to sell the house prior to auction for $1.2 million. She was more than happy with the result.
Making expectations clear from the start
People sell property for a variety of reasons. Some need to make a quick sale because they are moving out of state for work. Others don't mind waiting, but they want to get the best price for their property.
A real estate agent is not a mind reader. If you make your expectations clear from the start, they will be able to work out a selling strategy that works for you.
Also be clear about your financial circumstances. Do you:
- Have enough money to pay for advertising?
- Can you do the necessary renovations?
- Are you behind in payments due to the loss of a job?
It may be embarrassing, but remember: a good real estate agent is empathetic. They know from experience that some clients struggle with their finances while others can easily afford to pay for extensive advertising and renovations. They won't take sides, but will work with you to ensure the best outcome for you. Nor will they favour a richer client. Your sale will be as important to them as any other.
Transparency and honesty is key
Transparency and honesty is key to any successful sale. You need to feel comfortable enough with your real estate agent to be transparent and honest with them. They need to be transparent and honest with you.
As mentioned above, some sellers have more money for renovations than others. While renovating your home can pay big dividends, if you don't have the money or can't raise it, there are still many things you can do to make your home more attractive to buyers.
No matter what your financial circumstances are, a good real estate agent will work with you to increase the value of your house. You don't need to spend a fortune to tidy up your yard or repair your fence. It costs nothing to remove clutter in the home and give it a thorough cleaning. You may not be able to paint the exterior or repair your roof, but there are other, less expensive ways to make your property more presentable. A good real estate agent will tell you inexpensive ways to improve your property.
They will also be honest enough to tell you if you are expecting to fetch too high a price for your property. It's well-known that a renovated property fetches a far higher price than one that's not in such good condition. If you can't do the necessary renovations, you may have to settle for less, even if a house of the same age and size in the same neighbourhood fetched a higher selling price.
Scheduling meetings and catch-ups with your real estate agent
Real estate agents are busy people and often handle several clients at the same time. This is not an excuse to ignore you or your property. A good agent will always be available to discuss your sale with you. They may not be able to schedule a meeting immediately, but a good real estate agent will set time aside to catch up with you.
One way to ensure you're always abreast of the situation is to schedule short meetings at regular intervals. If you can talk with your real estate agent once a week, you won't feel in the dark. Any good real estate agent will be more than happy to get together with you once a week. You may not have an extensive conversation, but they can tell you the good news or the bad news and you can discuss strategies for selling your home.
How to deal with miscommunication and disagreements
Selling your home can be stressful. There's always the chance that you and your real estate agent will miscommunicate or disagree. Does that mean you've chosen the wrong real estate agent? Not necessarily.
When you talk on the phone or even if you talk with your agent in person, there is always the chance of miscommunication. Don't hesitate to ask questions to clear up the issue. Real estate agents sometimes can take some things for granted. A good real estate agent is more than happy to clear up any miscommunications. If you're unclear about anything, just ask. They will explain it to you in greater detail.
A good real estate agent will always be honest with you. They may not tell you what you want to hear, but they will be honest. If they have bad news for you, they will back it up with facts. A good real estate agent will never just tell you, "I'm the expert, so listen to me." They will discuss your sale with you. If you disagree with them, they will never take it personally. They will listen to your argument and present you with facts. If you're right, they will be happy to admit it.
Ultimately, you and your real estate agent should be able to work together to get buyers through the door and sell your property for the highest possible price. It may require some give and take, but a good real estate agent will always be on your side.