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11 questions to ask an estate agent before handing over the keys

11 questions to ask an estate agent before handing over the keys

Posted 10 May 2021

Ask these questions and follow these rules, so you make the right choice when selling.

Every month forty thousand Australian's google 'sell my home, sell my house online' or 'sell my house without an agent. Approximately 500,000 of us actually end up selling up and moving every year. So choosing the right estate agent to 'sell a home' and represent you is a significant question for many people.

It is not dissimilar to choosing the right dog for your family. Choose wisely. Don't be swayed by shiny coat, cute smile, flashy cars and marketing material.  Do your research and follow these simple steps, and you will be well on the way to choosing the right agent for your situation.

Interview at least three agents before making your decision on which agent will sell your home for you. Also, remember it is perfectly acceptable and highly recommended that you negotiate the commission and the marketing costs.  

Importantly, keep a record of the interviews and the answers so you can make your decision later.  

Choose the agency you feel has your best interests at heart, who has communicated openly and honestly with you and has answered all the questions. 

These are the eleven key questions you should ask the estate agents you interview:

  1. Do you have a database, and how do you use, update and manage this?
  2. How do you value my house?
  3. Will you be the agent managing the sale from start to finish?
  4. How do you manage the inspections?
  5. What general and social media marketing do you do and why? 
  6. Do you use virtual tours? If not why not?
  7. How do you report back, and how often do you do that?
  8. What do you do with any feedback on price?
  9. What marketing and analytic reports do you provide?
  10. How do the agencies other team members help you sell my house?
  11. If we are unhappy with your service, can we end the agreement early?

Secondly, the following outlines what you should expect from your chosen Agency and Agent:

  1. For security and excellent customer service requests, the agency sends two agents to any open house event.  This situation does not apply to private inspections.

  2. One agent welcomes and collects the details of all inspectors and ensures your home is secure at all times. 

  3. The second agent should be available to chat with buyers about the home's features and attributes and answer any questions. This agent should ideally be the agent with an intimate knowledge of the place.

  4. On departure, one agent should be connecting with buyers, finding out if they are interested and can be contacted about the home.

  5. After the Open House or inspection, as the owner you should expect a text or email report within 2 hours of the numbers through and the feedback received from buyers. 

  6. Within three days of any inspection, you should expect a more comprehensive report on all the potential buyers and actions proposed by the agent and agency.

  7. Analytic reports on your advertising results and feedback on the price should occur weekly, if not more often.
These are not demanding tasks but are so essential and are often the source of the biggest complaints against agents and agencies. It's simple, really; it's all about good communication.   

When you finally choose an agency, they will require you to sign a listing agreement. Our advice is to limit this agreement to 60 days.

You may also like to consider how many of the above tasks are actions you and your partner could do yourself. 

Selling your own home is not that complicated, and an astute person or couple can handle the whole process.

 The most important part is the legal process completed by a solicitor or conveyancer and not a real estate agent.

So don't be intimidated by the selling process. Your home is your biggest asset, educate yourself and choose the best agent or method of sale which suits you.

Julie O'Donohue
Founder Next Address

*This is an ABS statistic.
Updated 15 May2020

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