Not all estate agents are created equal. So just how do you tell which ones you can trust and will do a world-class job? In answering that question you will need to look both at the estate agency and the individual agent.
For most people, selling a property means selling one of your biggest assets. Your choice in agent can make a difference of hundreds of thousands of Rands.
Here are some pointers you would do well to take into account:
1. Choose a company and agent with a track record. Nothing speaks louder than facts. Ask what their market share is, how long they’ve been in business, and what testimonials they have from past clients. Ask what recent sales they’ve done, what their average percentage drop in price is, and what their average selling time is. Some evidence of their claims would be a good idea.
2. Next, ask the agent what strategies they will employ to sell your home, and what options they have for you. You should be given a choice of options so that you can choose what suits you and your circumstances. If they have no options, shouldn’t you be looking for someone who has them?
3. Ask what marketing they will use to get you the best price. If their marketing is the same as everyone else’s then can you expect the result to be better? Facts show that the better the marketing the more you will sell for. And by the way, you will need the marketing plan in writing. If it’s not in writing it probably won’t be what you think it is…
4. Does their marketing include print advertising? Facts prove that it should. Often an agency’s reluctance to use print is mainly to costs. Chat to an agency that does use print to find out why you need it.
5. What is the service you will get? Tired of empty promises? Then ask for their service promise in writing.
6. What is your recourse if you give the agency your mandate and they don’t fulfil their marketing promise to you? Does their sole mandate agreement have a clause allowing you to cancel the mandate if they don’t deliver what they promise? If not, then don’t sign it. Far too often we hear of sellers who sign a mandate and simply don’t get what they were promised – and they’re often tied into a mandate with no benefits.
7. Is the company part of a national or international franchise? If so, then there is a good chance you will benefit from referrals that the franchise receives from their other offices. Referrals are significantly lower in independent (non-franchise) offices.
8. Lastly – do you like the agent? Do you like and trust them? Are they just blowing their own trumpet about how good they are – or are they sincerely listening to you? Are they going to work with you to get you the best result – or do they just want what’s good for them?
A word of caution: the agent that put’s the highest value on your property is usually the agent who can’t offer you any strategic advantage other than overpricing – which will eventually mean you sell for much less than you should.
Evaluate the agent using the facts above and select the one who proves to you that you can trust them. Don’t settle for less!
Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa
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