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Select an Agent – Questions to Ask

Couple choose real estate agent

Select an Agent – Questions to Ask

Deciding to sell your property is a big decision that doesn’t come without careful consideration. It’s likely to be one of the biggest financial transactions you’ll ever make, so it’s important to do your research to select an agent who’s right for your needs.

Do they have experience in dealing with your special circumstances? If you have a disability or aged restrictions, it is essential that your agent fully understands the implications of the proceeds of your property to ensure your proceed funds are divested in such a way so as not to place your pension entitlements at risk.

Do they understand the many implications of ageing in place principles or Universal Housing Design for seniors?  We do!

One important part of this equation is asking the right questions when you interview your shortlisted agents.

Agent Interview Questions:

Here are the top 10 questions that should be on your list:

1. How long have you been a real estate agent and why  your interest in seniors as a specialty?

Part of what you are paying for when you hire a great real estate agent is someone who has “seen it all” and knows how to read people and situations. An experienced real estate agent will have years of negotiating skills and offer you the benefit of his or her wisdom

2. What similar properties have you sold for seniors?

Not only will you find out what they’ve learned about buyers in the market for properties like yours, they may already have some suitable buyers in mind that recently missed out on a property near you.

3. What is the sentiment in the market for properties like mine?

A good agent can give you an intelligent rundown of how many people are showing up to open houses, how interest compares to this time last year, what the current auction clearance rate is, and how fast properties are selling.

4. How are you different to other agents in the area? What would past clients say are your strengths?

All agents are different, and so are all clients. So there is no perfect answer to this question. However, hearing what others have to say about an agent can help you decide what qualities are most important to you.

Whether they say its “going the extra mile to make the whole process easier” or “giving regular updates and communicating better than others”, see what resonates with you to choose your best agent.

5. What would you emphasise in selling my house?

Another way of asking this question is: “What is the 30 second pitch for my house?” Real estate agents will meet a lot of people and have the chance to tell them about your property. You want to hear how they would highlight the top selling points of your home in a nutshell, to see if you’re happy with the way they would market it to prospective buyers. If you’re sold, chances are they will be too

6. What type of sale process do you recommend and why?

Fixed price, auction, and offers by negotiation or private treaty? A good agent will be able to explain which particular method they recommend to sell your place, and why it’s best for your property in this market. This should be based on real facts, such as what works for your specific type of property and also your own objectives.

7. What marketing plan and advertising plan do you recommend as part of that process?

It’s typical in Australia for real estate agents to come to an interview with a proposed marketing and advertising plan for your property. This usually involves a significant upfront cash outlay for you, so it’s worth investigating as part of the overall package. Comparing the marketing plans and costs of your shortlisted agents can help you determine who will attract the right buyers, and deliver the best value.

8. Using that sales method and marketing plan, what sale price do you think is achievable?

This is the question you’re probably MOST interested in getting the answer to! However, we recommend asking it towards the end of the interview, so you can get a better idea of an agent’s overall expertise, and show them you’ve done your research too. Warning: There’s a dodgy practice where the not-so-good real estate agents try to “buy the listing” by quoting you a sky high price they know isn’t achievable. So make sure you also ask how they arrived at that figure!

9. How long would you expect my property to be on the market before getting offers in that price range?

This will give you a good idea of the agent’s confidence and how fast different agents usually get results. Typically, the best time to sell your property is within the first few weeks on the market, when it’s “new” to buyers. The last thing you want is your home still on the market months later – buyers start to wonder “what’s wrong with it?”

10. What commission do you charge?  

The other crucial question you’ll be keen to ask is what commission the agent charges. A great real estate agent can confidently justify their price if it’s higher than cheaper alternatives, and experience shows you’ll be better off with the best real estate agent rather than the cheapest. Why? Well if you look at the high-end and low-end estimates of the agents, you’ll soon see the difference in price far outweighs differences between commission structures. So it’s worth choosing an agent who works hard and has a proven track record of delivering top sales for clients.

Choosing the best real estate agent as a senior is a big decision, and it’s the key to not only selling your property successfully and getting the very best price but assisting you to settle into your new property and surroundings.