BEFORE you whack a ‘For Sale’ sign up on your front lawn, here’s how to find the right seller for your property.

Selling your home is stressful, not least because it’s often just one part of a jigsaw of challenging events.

Your choice of real estate agent is a crucial piece of the jigsaw to get right. This person is going to be right in the thick of your affairs for a while, and you want it to be a good and fruitful relationship. So, where do you start looking? Inside Out has some great tips on how to do it.

‘For Sale’ signs

Once you’ve decided to sell, you start to see these signs everywhere. They represent two things – information and threats. They tell you who has dominance in the market and who has similar listings to yours.

‘There is no doubt in my mind that if there were five boards up in the street for the same agent, you’d get them in to look at your house,’ says Mia Fredrix, an agent based in Sydney’s Drummoyne.

Open inspections

Another way to suss out local agents is to attend open houses, even if you’re not in the market to buy. Watch how agents conduct themselves. Do you like the way you’re greeted? Does the agent follow you around, so you can’t get a moment alone? Are you ignored?

When you’re interviewing agents with an auction in mind, ask who the auctioneer will be and see them in action.


Ask people you know in your area who have sold recently who they used and whether they’d use them again. Return business is the best reference of all.

Letterbox drops

Local knowledge used to be king, but the landscape has changed with the advent of the internet. ‘Before the internet, 80-90 per cent of people we dealt with, buyers and sellers, walked in the door or phoned us,’ said Ms Fredrix.

‘Now, 80-90 per cent of people don’t come through the door. They look you up online, and know all about you before they make contact.’

The interview process

It’s time to get agents in to give you a market appraisal of your property and discuss how they would sell it. Invite as many as you can make time for.

What are you looking for in an agent? One key thing is rapport. Do you get on? Do you feel you can trust them? This is followed closely by reputation and track record. Experience is priceless.

If you have seen them at open inspections, you’ll have already gauged a little bit about how they operate.

Some agents go after buyers with gusto, while others take a ‘softly softly’ approach. Pick an agent who will deal with buyers in a manner you’re comfortable with.

Consider the type of sale that’s been suggested and the proposed marketing campaign. Are you happy with these choices? As for commission, there’s not a great deal of variation between agents. In Sydney, commissions might range from 1.5 to 2.2 per cent. On the other side of the continent, ‘2.5 per cent is pretty standard,’ says agent Jeff Hasluck, who works the southern suburbs of Perth.

If in any doubt about an agent, take the advice of Amanda Lynch, CEO of the Real Estate Institute Of Australia. ‘If you don’t feel an agent is taking your individual circumstances into account, then try another agent. There is a lot of competition in the sector and a good agent will value you as a client.’

10 questions to ask a real estate agent.

1. How did you arrive at this appraisal?

2. Will you be working on the property?

3. How many other properties are you currently handling?

4. What price will you be quoting to prospective buyers?

5. May I see references from past clients?

6. Do you have people in your database looking for a property like this?

7. How long does it normally take you to sell a home similar to mine?

8. How long have you worked as an agent? How long in this area?

9. I don’t want to go to auction and/or hold open inspections. Is sale by private treaty/inspections by appointment possible?

10. How often will I get progress reports?

Things an agent should do

???????????????????????? Record in writing all payable fees, commissions and marketing costs

???????????????????????? Record in writing your length of contract and the expected sale price range (which should match the price quoted to interested buyers)

???????????????????????? Offer feedback on inspection numbers, contracts issued and buyer feedback

???????????????????????? Tell you of all offers received

???????????????????????? Act in your best interest at all times

???????????????????????? Be aware of the sensitive nature of your confidential information

???????????????????????? Be a member of a professional body, such as the Real Estate Institute

Posted by News Limited Network on 17th January, 2015