Things to consider when choosing a real estate agent
1. Avoid ‘free’ agent recommendation sites
There has been a spike in the number of websites claiming they can remove the guesswork and find an agent for you for free. Too good to be true? Absolutely. Almost all of these sites require the agent to give up some of their commission to secure the vendor’s business.
The best operators get by without paying for business and don’t use these sites so there is a real risk you could be paired with a sub-par agent. This could result in you not achieving the maximum sale price for your home.
The only person who should be choosing an agent for you is you. Want a second opinion? A recommendation from a trusted friend is worth its weight in gold.
2. Does the agent know your target audience?
When you sit down with a prospective agent it pays to quiz them on how they intend to position your property – who do they define as your target market? A good agent should provide clear guidance on your property’s appeal, and tailor your marketing strategy to this target market.
With a clear understanding of your future buyer, your agent will also be better placed to provide advice on things like minor renovations, staging and styling.
3. Is the agent utilising market data?
Agents have access to a wealth of property data to help them make informed decisions when selling a home. A strong grasp of local market data is essential to setting your price guide, sale type and what it will take to set your property apart from the rest.
4. Does your agent have local area knowledge?
Find an agent who specialises in your suburb. Local knowledge of schools, demographics, public transport options and local attractions are invaluable when dealing with prospective buyers.
According to research from market researchers GFK, 58 per cent of Australian home buyers look to buy within 5 kilometres of their current address, while 91 per cent look to move within 40 kilometres of their current address. That’s why it is critical that your agent has an in-depth understanding of your neighbourhood because it’s likely your future buyer will.
Your agent should also know about what’s coming up in your suburb. Things like new developments, new shopping centres or even incoming infrastructure, like light-rail, can make all the difference to buyers.
5. What will the multi-channel marketing campaign look like?
Some agents don’t have their potential clients’ best interest at heart when they suggest a minimal advertising budget.
An effective advertising campaign can add tens of thousands of dollars to your sale price and help you reach a sale faster. High-performing agents understand this, and will position advertising as an investment rather than a cost.
Ask your agent which marketing avenues they intend to include. Advertising your property across multiple channels – including digital, print and social – dramatically increases your ability to connect with your target audience, some of whom might not even be actively looking.
6. What digital-listing types are on offer?
When it comes to digital advertising, not all property listings are created equal. The number of views and buyer inquiries generated by your ad will depend on your ad size, search results ranking, and advertising duration.
Ensure your agent clarifies which digital listing type will be included in their marketing campaign. Agents who suggest high-exposure listings will likely be committed to delivering substantially more competition for your property.
7. How do I get my property on social media?
According to research from Facebook, the second-most discovered product/service on the platform in Australia is real estate. Given there are 11 million Australians on Facebook every day, it is more important than ever to make sure your property is appearing in the feed of your buyers.
Agents will often offer to feature your home on their social pages, but it is important to ask your agent how they intend to put your property in front of the broad spectrum of buyers who aren’t in their group of followers.
The best agents will understand paid social, and how it can help you connect with a highly targeted buying audience. There are alsoproducts available that can removed the guesswork from social and put your property in front qualified buyers.
8. Ask about the agent’s database
Behind every good agent is a good database. Inquire as to how your agent intends to promote your property to their existing database of buyers.
But while an agent’s database is important, it cannot be solely relied on. The key driver of higher house prices is competition between buyers and the best way to foster competition is to give your property the most exposure you can.
It is also important to remember that most interstate and overseas buyers will not be on your agent’s database.
9. Professional photography and video
Professional photography is a must when advertising your property, while professional video will give you an edge. Ask your agent which video options they include as part of their marketing package – and ask for examples of prior work.
Good videos will showcase your property’s best selling features and potential using high-quality footage and overlays. Drone footage of your property can also add the wow factor and differentiate your home from similar listings in your area.
Even in a softer market the best agents can still secure business without slashing the size of their commission. It can be tempting to go with the agent with the cheapest fees but remember, when it comes to selling your home, you get what you pay for.