Hooked on The Bachelor? Forget it. There’s a much bigger challenge than finding love: finding your ideal real estate agent ready for a spring sales campaign.
But just like true love, there’s “something you just can’t quantify” when you’re looking for your perfect agent, says Ray White Double Bay director Elliott Placks. “It’s often about how you feel.
“You want someone you feel isn’t going to undersell your property, will get the maximum price for it and will communicate with you throughout the whole process. Everyone has different wants when they’re selling – do you want someone who’ll consult you about every aspect of the sale, or who’ll work hard behind the scenes and understand what you only want to know?”
An excellent agent will really have many of the best traits of a good potential husband or wife, according to LJ Hooker Mosman settlement specialist Mary-Jane Hamer.
“You need someone who’s a good listener, someone who follows through on what they say they’re going to do, is dedicated to you, knows all your good qualities and is hard-working,” she says. “People often think they can go it alone but what you need is a good result with someone who can squeeze the last cent out of a buyer; not just a result.”
It can be a false economy to try to save on a good real estate agent’s fee, she advises. “Yes, you can buy a cut-price suit in Target, but you can also buy one in David Jones, and which one will you remember?”
There’s little as seductive as a suitor who completely focuses on your wants and needs, and with agents it can be pretty similar. Alison Coopes, of Agency by Alison Coopes, says, “I think the agent has got to have a sense of complete focus on your intentions.
“They have to ensure that the vendor has had every possible door opened to allow them to close, which includes attention to detail in the presentation [of the property], the consistency to be 100 per cent there at every inspection.”
They also have to be there for the long haul, for better or worse. “It’s absolutely non-negotiable that they’ll give up if it doesn’t pan out quickly,” says Coopes. “A client needs to know you’ll hang in there even when it gets tough.”
Relationships are often all about negotiation and sales are no different. “An agent needs to be a very good professional negotiator,” says Christian Payne of Payne Pacific. “You want someone who’ll achieve the highest price, and takes pride in doing that, rather than someone who’s just looking for commission.”
It’s all about looking as good as you can, too. “An agent also needs to understand marketing – not just advertising – but marketing,” he says. “That’s why someone will pay $14 in a restaurant for a bottle of water when they could have got the same thing for free from the tap. It’s about a perception of value.”
Finally, choose someone with an attractive twinkle in their eye. “You want someone who looks hungry and driven with a bit of a spark in their eye,” recommends Santos Sulfaro of Richardson & Wrench Leichhardt.
“If they present themselves well, then there’s also more of a chance they’ll present your property well too.”
But in one important aspect, finding the perfect agent is completely at odds with hitching up with the best bachelor – or bachelorette. While you wouldn’t want either of them to have a bulging little black book, an agent with a large database at their fingertips, says Rebecca Harrison of Raine & Horne Chatswood-Willoughby, can only add to their attractiveness. The Top Ten Questions To Ask Prospective Agents
1. What do you like about my property?
If an agent can’t look around your property and assess, in five seconds, its best qualities, then maybe he or she shouldn’t be a candidate for your sale, says Santos Sulfaro.
2. What’s your track record with previous sales in the area?
Elliott Placks believes the answer will show whether the agent really is an area specialist – or just saying they’re one.
3. What are your fees and what are you offering for them?
We all need to know, but Mary-Jane Hamer says she admires an agent who’ll stand by the fee they charge. If they can’t back themselves on their fee, and negotiate their own price with you, what chance do they have of successfully negotiating a great price on your property?
4. Will you be attending every inspection personally at all times?
It’s completely unacceptable for an agent to send their PA or a secretary to an open-home, says Alison Coopes. They need to be completely focussed on selling your property.
5. Can you unlock a value for my home beyond comparable sales?
You need to find this out, otherwise you may as well go with a cheaper agent, says Christian Payne.
6. How well do you know the area?
It can be a big advantage if your agent actually lives in the area, says Kate Webster of McGrath Inner West. They’ll then know the neighbourhood intimately and all its plus points.
7. Do you have a good database of potential buyers?
Already knowing people who’d be interested in your property, and who trust the agent’s advice, is a major advantage, says Rebecca Harrison.
8. What do you see as the negatives about my property, and how will you overcome them?
A good agent will know and be confident about that, says Sulfaro.
9. How can you guarantee that you won’t undersell my property?
An agent will then go through their pricing strategy to show how they deal in the realms of possibility, rather than what neighbours received, says Payne.
10. If we require a conjunct agent, will you be dealing with them fairly?
Some people like to list their property with two agents, but sometimes the main agent might play games with the other in order to try to win the sale for themselves. “Get a confirmation in writing that will allow the 50 per cent conjunction fee,” recommends Coopes.