Get a referral

Your home is generally one of the largest assets you own, so it’s crucial to deal with an agent you can trust. One of the best ways of choosing an agent to sell your home is to get a referral from someone you trust.

If you cannot get a referral, ring up 3 or 4 of your local agents and interview them. To decide on which agents to call, look through the papers to find out which agents are selling properties for good prices in your area. These are the agents to target.

Interview the agent

Select 3 or 4 agents and invite them to separately inspect your property and provide an appraisal of your home. The appraisal should include an estimate of the sale price of your home, based on previous sales of similar properties in your suburb.

As part of your appraisal, the agent should provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) for your home. The CMA should include:

1. At least 3 recent sales in your area of properties similar to yours
2. Average house prices in your suburb
3. Properties similar to yours that are currently for sale
4. A list of properties the agent has recently sold, including the sale price

Selling your home can be a very emotional and stressful time in your life, so it is important to select an agent who you feel comfortable with as well as one who has the best strategy to obtain you the highest possible price.

Beware of the pitfalls

The agent with the lowest commission rate and/or the highest valuation for your property is NOT necessarily the best option …choose wisely

Some agents try to win business by charging you a very low fee to sell your home. Whilst this may be a great benefit for you, think about the implications this may have on your sale. It may make the agent look for a quick sale at a lower price so they don’t have to spend much time on selling your property. The commission rate is an important factor in determining which agent to use, but you must consider all the other benefits an agent can also help you with.

Some agents also try to win business by giving you a very high valuation range to sell your home. Whilst this might be what you want, it is important for the value range to be realistic. Setting price expectations that are too high can make it very difficult to sell your property and often results in disappointment when you need to accept a lower price. Make sure the agent supports their price estimate with recent sales of similar properties in your area. If they are not consistent with the valuation provided by the agent, ask for an explanation as to why it is different.

Type of agreements

There are several possible options:

1. Exclusive Agency Agreement – Where you deal only with one real estate agent, whose fee is payable regardless of how the property is sold
2. Sole Agency Agreement – The same as an exclusive agency agreement, except that the owner may sell his or her property privately without paying the agent’s fee
3. Open Agency Agreement – Where you engage a number of real estate agents, and only the agent who sells your property receives the commission. Under this agreement, you may gain extended coverage, but could find that the sale of your property becomes a much lower priority than if you had engaged an exclusive agent
4. Auction Agency Agreement – Where your agent organises the auction of your home
5. Multiple Listing Agency Agreement (multi-list) – which is also an exclusive agency agreement where you appoint one agent to sell your home, and that agent agrees to work in conjunction with other multi-list agents to sell your property

Decide on inclusions and exclusions

You will need to think about what inclusions you intend to sell with your home, or whether you want to note in the contract that certain items are excluded. Things to consider:

Whatever you decide, it will need to be written in the contract of sale, so advise your solicitor/conveyancer.

Agree on marketing campaign

The marketing campaign can often determine the success of your sale, so make sure you spend time on developing the right campaign for your home and your budget. A typical marketing campaign will include:

Make sure your advertisement and photos are appealing and interesting to get as many people interested as possible.

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