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The Top 10 Essential Questions To Ask Before Appointing Your Estate Agent

Man asking a real estate agent questions before appointing

Choosing an estate agent to sell your property is a daunting task, particularly if you have not sold a property before. Trying to determine which agent is right for you can be helped by asking a few key questions.

1. For how long have you been an Estate Agent?

Experience definitely counts in the industry– but that doesn’t mean that the oldest agent is necessarily the best. The real estate agent is someone who has had enough experience to handle all aspects of the sale, combined with the enthusiasm and motivation required to secure a buyer for you.

2. Which Properties have you sold Recently in the area? And do you have any Buyers that Missed out who Might be Interested in my Property?

Agents will often have a type of property that they are best at selling, due to their location, experience and personal preferences. Ideally, you should get an agent that has sold at least five or six properties similar to yours in the past 12 months. They should be in a similar suburb and be comparative in price & type. Real estate is a relationship and word-of-mouth business. Ask your agent if they have a database of clients that have missed out on previous sales – they may already have a few clients in mind.

3. What Selling Price do you Think I can Achieve?

Prospective agents will always give you a sale price they think they can achieve for your property. The most important question to ask is ’On what are you basing that?’ A good real estate agent will support the estimate with recent sales of similar properties in your area from both their agency and others. Make sure they can support the suggested sale price with evidence – you don’t want to fall for the trap of securing the agent who simply says they can get the best price for you. Make them prove it.

4. What Kind of Advertising will you do for my Property? And how will it help?

Advertising takes place in two forms
  1. Traditional – newspapers, signboards, agency window display and brochures.
  2. Digital – online advertising that reaches clients through their digital devices such as online listings on agency and third party websites (Rightmove, PrimeLocation or Zoopla for example) and email marketing/brochures.
Depending on the type of property and its location, digital media options may be enough – it’s worth looking at what similar properties are doing in your area.

5. How long do you Think it will take to sell my Property? And why?

Don’t expect the agent to give you the exact number of days that it will take to sell your property. This question is just to gauge the agent’s understanding of the current market, the factors that are impacting your area and how these will contribute to the selling process. Unless you want to auction your house, in which case you can set a specific date.

6. How Would you Answer a Potential Buyer that Asked:

  • For how long has this property been on the market?
  • Why is the vendor selling?
  • How much will the vendor accept?
Asking these questions is a great way to gauge whether you are comfortable with the types of responses your estate agent is giving to potential buyers, and to let the agent know what you want them to say.

7. How Much do you Charge? Are you Willing to Negotiate?

This is an important question: you are not looking for the cheapest agent with this question, you are interested in what is included in their fees. You are looking for a good negotiator and value for money – a good estate agent will be able to confidently justify their price.

8. Do you Insist on Sole Agent Agreements? How much does your fee vary?

While the general rule is that by entering into a sole agent agreement with an estate agent, your property will have less exposure than if you have agreements with multiple agents. As agencies will often change their fee structures accordingly, it’s worth thinking about which option you prefer.

9. Do you have Past References I can Contact?

A good estate agent will happily supply you with a list of previous clients that they have dealt with. Even a new agent will be able to provide some sort of positive reference – even if it’s just a past employer. Don’t be afraid to check references before appointing an agent.

Some examples of questions you may like to ask references are:
  • What did you like about the agent?
  • How long did the property take to sell?
  • Was there anything you thought the agent could have done better?
  • Did the agent secure the sale price you wanted to achieve?

10. What Makes you Different to Other Estate Agents?

This question will allow the agent to demonstrate what stands them apart from their competition, both as an individual agent and as an agency.

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