Questions for Your Real Estate Agent if You Are Selling

YNM Real Estate
19 December 2021

If you have decided to sell your home, it is important that you secure the services of a good real estate agent. But how do you determine what “good” is, and what will enable you to decide which real estate agent will be “good” for you?

First of all, you will need to identify an agent that you trust and in whom you have confidence.

Make sure that the agent is licensed in your state – you can contact your relevant state government department to check whether an agent is licensed.

Interview more than one agent – three should enable you to make the right choice.

Consider the prospective agents’ personalities, experience, sales record (evidence of success in your area) and professionalism.

Once you have identified one or more real estate agent(s) with whom you believe you can work, make sure that you clarify the following items.

Ask the agents to outline their proposed marketing plan – this will give you a good idea of their approach to achieving your sale and the likelihood of early success.

Discuss with the agents your requirement to have regular updates and reports on progress.

What is the market value of my property? Consider the market appraisals provided by the agents that you are considering, against the research that you have conducted. Going with an agent that provides an estimated selling price above or below the norm for your area could be a mistake.

How much will I have to pay in commissions and other costs to sell my property? Discuss and agree the commissions payable – all commissions and fees are negotiable. You should expect to pay a fee commensurate with the service that you receive. Ask the agent what costs are payable upfront, and what costs are payable if your property is not sold.

Find out from the real estate agent what types of agency agreement are available, which one is recommended for you and why.

There are three main types of agency agreement:

  • Open listing or general authority. You will be able to list with more than one agency, only paying commission to the agent that sells the property. While you may get more market coverage than with a sole agency, the sale of your property may not be as high a priority for the agents. There's also a risk that you won't achieve the best price if various agents are competing for a quick sale.
  • Exclusive authority/agency. The agent gets paid upon sale, even if the sale ends up being by a different agent or by the vendor themselves. One trap is to sign up for a lengthy contract – you could try one month first, and extend the agreement if you're satisfied.
  • Sole agency. Similar to exclusive agency, except the agent may not be entitled to commission if you sell the property yourself. Don't feel pressured to sign up after your first meeting.

Next, discuss with your agent how the property should be sold – private sale or auction?

The advantages of an auction for sellers include

  • No price limit – good for properties that are unique, in short supply
  • The property will be sold if the reserve price is reached
  • The property will be sold on a specific date – potential buyers have to reach a decision and act quickly
  • Suitable buyer(s) can be identified to negotiate with if a sale is not achieved at auction

The advantages of a private sale for sellers include

  • Time to consider offers
  • Advertising expenses can be less that for an auction
  • No auctioneering fees

Find out from your agent whether any upgrades to your home are advised before putting it on the market. If you are going to spend money on your home prior to selling, you must ensure that you will achieve a higher selling price than if you don’t.

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