Real estate is a big business and the people who work in this industry are called real estate agents. Real estate agents make a living, and quite often a good one, by helping people like you buy and sell homes. If you’re looking to sell property, you may be asking yourself: “do I need a real estate agent?” The short answer is, it’s, of course, optional to get an agent to assist you in selling your home. However, an agent with the correct skill-set and professionalism will make your journey a safe and profitable one.
The pros and cons of working with a real estate agent
To reduce the hassle that comes with buying or selling a home, many people choose to go through a real estate agent. Having an agent handle all the legwork saves the seller or the buyer a great amount of hassle. With a real estate agent, all you need to do is ensure your home is well-staged and presents at its best, and the real estate agent will do the rest.
Without an agent you’ll need to spend your time putting up signs, writing and purchasing ads, as well as fielding calls from people who may or may not be truly interested. In fact, some buyers won’t consider a property that’s for sale without an agent, because they don’t want the confrontation of dealing with the owner.
There are positives and negatives that come with using a real estate agent.
Positives may include:
- Real estate agents possess market knowledge and experience that the general public has no idea about, and have little or no access to. This is quite helpful in determining a proper, accurate and workable asking price for your home.
- They are good negotiators and should be able to help you get a higher selling price than you would get by selling on your own. Remember that an agent’s main goal is to ensure that your home sells. They have no particular attachment to it, and so will not panic if a sale flops. They’ll just move on to the next buyer.
The biggest negative:
- You will need to part with a few extra dollars in terms of commission. It’s usually a percentage of the home’s sale price.
Whether you go through a real estate agent depends on whether you have the time, patience, skills and confidence to do everything yourself. Although it’s becoming somewhat easier to sell your own home, listing your apartment through a real estate agent can save you lots of time, effort and hassle. Particularly because of the Body Corporate issues that can arise! You would also need to abide by the requirements for Disclosure Statements and other relevant paperwork.
By selling your own apartment, you have the advantage of not having to pay fees to a real estate agent. Yet, if you choose your agent well, you’ll get a professional who can use their marketing and sales skills and experience to maximise your sale price. Ultimately, they help improve your end result – i.e. the money you end up with at the end.
The role of the agent
It’s a fact in the real estate industry that 20% of real estate agents account for more than 80% of property sales. That top 20% also tend to achieve the best price results for their clients.
If you decide to use an agent to assist in the selling of your property, their primary role should be to protect your interests in the sale. Their job is also to understand the intricacies that go hand in hand with apartment sales.
This includes giving you accurate information on the market, attaining the highest price that your property can sell for, marketing it and ensuring it’s at the frontline to sell as fast as possible. It also includes ensuring that this process runs smoothly.
A good agent will always do everything in their power to promote the features and benefits of your property effectively and consistently to the marketplace. They’re aware that their reputation is also at stake.
You need to be very selective and careful when selecting an agent to assist you in the sale. The less skilled and committed your agent is, the lower the price your property will sell for and the longer it will stay on the market.
How to source and evaluate agents
There are a great many real estate agents out there, all claiming to be the best! How do you select one who will put your best interests before their own need to make a name for themselves and get a commission? The following might just help you do that.
Our 7-step checklist to source a real estate agent
- Make a list of all the agents you perceive to be most active or accomplished. This perception can come from your personal experience with them, what they specialise in (particularly when you are selling something specific like an apartment), their product knowledge, how they showcase their properties, how they make you (or your buyers) feel and what their core focus is.
- Rank each of the agents on your list. Do this by checking on their profile how often they turn the “For Sale” signs into a “SOLD” one.
- Analyse their marketing strategies. For example, the use of flyers and brochures in letterboxes and how strong or effective their marketing strategies are.
- Check out their online presence. What online marketing strategies do they use? Are they up to date with technology, do they follow the latest trends, can they spell (!!) and is their marketing targeting the correct demographic?
- What is their success rate? This is easily measured by asking for a “list to sell ratio”. This is the number of properties they’ve listed, compared to the number they’ve actually sold.
- What is their average discount rate? This is the difference between the advertised price and the price the property ends up selling for.
- Stay away from sites such as OpenAgent and LocalAgentFinder. These sites won’t give you the best agents in the area. They’re normally connected with agents that have agreed to pay up to 20% of the commission rate for referral business they haven’t been able to attract themselves.
Evaluate your agent’s marketing expertise and record of success
Any agent you consider to assist you should be conversant with the evolving marketing trends of recent years. Especially with the incredible impact of digital communication technology! They also need to be confident and knowledgeable in the intricate details of apartment sale contracts, body corporates, by-laws, disclosure statements, CMS documents and more. If you’re selling an apartment, they must have experienced apartment life, so they know how to talk to buyers about the benefits.
The agent must be able to access and use up-to-the-minute marketing tools and strategies to attract as many suitable buyers as possible. When looking online, see whether they use things like professional photographs, virtual tour software, video marketing, database marketing and social media marketing. It suggests that the agent is keeping up with the trends in the market and you will not go wrong in choosing them.
Once you identify an agent you want to work with, be sure to enquire about their track record. How successful are they in giving results? Ask questions such as where they live, how long they have lived there and why. If selling an apartment, ask them to give you a rundown on what they know about apartment sales and how they differ from other styles of property. Ask about their working tenure in the industry, their work history, what sales they have made recently and for what price range.
Find out how long it would take them to sell your apartment and how many prospective buyers they have for your kind of property. Discover what their marketing methods are and whether they have a network of trusted trade and professional suppliers who can help you prepare your home for sale.
Don’t forget to ask what their agent fee would be at the end of the sale. Remember, the cheapest agent can often be the most expensive in the long run! To secure business they have to offer the lowest fees, as they are not strong negotiators.
Ready to sell your apartment?
It’s up to you whether you choose to use a real estate agent or not, but working with one can certainly help you get the maximum price for your apartment. Just make sure to do your research, so you can feel confident that your choice will pay off. To sum it up – be sure to engage with the best sales agent who displays professionalism and a passion for what they do, and who can deliver results.