You’d think that comparing real estate agents would be easy?

But it isn’t!

When you put a prized asset in the hands of someone else, we can all agree that we need to feel confident that this individual knows how to give us the service we deserve.

Because of this:

We promise to help you get the best real estate agent based on actual results not the perception of results.

To get to the best for our dollar, smart questions and a little healthy skepticism never hurt anyone.

Today we talk about the critical factors to watch out for in comparing real estate agents in your area.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Be realistic in interviews to avoid setting your expectations too high

Be advised:

Major qualities such as level of commitment and work ethic might be difficult to uncover at the onset.

Try to adapt a 3-prong approach to your line of questioning.

1. First, cover the basics like:

  • experience
  • qualification
  • property specialty

2. Try to get a sense of what type of communicator the agent appears to be. Is the agent a frequent emailer or prefers immediate updates over the phone?

Most importantly:

Make sure you are in sync on the choice of medium.

3. Think of it in terms of your doctor or accountant. You are about to start one of the most significant professional relationship you’ll ever have. It’s about comfort level.

Also:

Personality plays a crucial element to this.

See to it that you match. If you can imagine working with the agent on a daily basis, then you’re a good fit.

2. Seek independent data on local agent performance to find the top agents

A good starting point is to identify all individual agents who sell similar properties to yours in the area.

Why?

This will provide you with a short list of experienced agents to interview.

The top agents should have the experience and track record to sell your property, and importantly, a database of buyers already looking for your property.

Take WREA’s Agent comparison tool, for example. It outlines:

  • all the agents
  • what they’ve sold
  • how long it took
  • prices achieved (versus the advertised price)

This tool helps you quickly identify who sells faster and smarter.

Note:

There’s more to an agent than the numbers he or she represents. Face to face interviews are essential to ensure there is also a personal fit.

3. It’s a numbers game, the more reviews the better

We aren’t just referring to online testimonials, but also real-time feedback from past and current clients.

Let me explain:

An agent who has been in the industry for five years would have accumulated at least 500 contacts or a list of buyers given the reasonable amount of time.

Ask for five or more references from the agent and find the time to talk to them briefly to give you a general sense of how he or she has helped them. Any good agent would be ready to provide this upon request.

4. Matching property and agent profiles to find the right fit

It comes down to branding.

Now listen to this very carefully:

Understanding your property and how your potential buyers perceive it is important.

You want to hire the agent or agency that is efficient and known for selling your type of asset. The same practical principle applies when selling a car.

You wouldn’t want to bring your Mitsubishi Triton to a Porsche salesperson. Though both vehicles serve the purpose of taking you from point A to B, the number of passengers they can carry and the type of roads they’re designed for are completely different.

Makes sense, right?

Agents also have preferred sets of properties they want to sell. Before committing to one, ensure the agent can deliver the services required in selling your property.

5. Excellent record keeper

You’ll know the agent is a keeper if the agent makes it a point to:

  • keep track of payable fees
  • track marketing costs
  • maintain a record of contract lengths
  • note expected sale price ranges
  • offer feedback on inspection numbers
  • be transparent on comments
  • listen to suggestions from potential buyers
  • act in your best interest at all times.

6. Find the agent who can maximise profits

The formula is to get the highest possible price for the lowest possible cost.

How?

Agents perceive marketability of each property differently.

Here is where their varying levels of knowledge and experience come to the forefront. But the end goal remains the same, to sell.

The sooner, the better.

It’s the standard practice to get recommendations from agents on a few minor renovations to increase market appeal. That much you can expect on the onset.

What you’re looking for is the agent who is confident with his or her impact on buyers. Their capacity to persuade them without having to go over budget is key.

One more thing:

Improvements and presentation are not the same thing. A good agent will tell you what to improve in the house to captivate buyers.

Remember:

Highest price in the shortest time with the least cost to you.

That’s the way to go!

7. Monitor their disclosure to ensure trustworthiness

Like any relationship, trust matters.

There are many ways to manifest trustworthiness. Disclosing sales statistics without you having to ask for it is noteworthy.

Keep in mind:

If you don’t think you can trust the agent, then go with your gut and don’t hire.

8. Ensure in-depth knowledge of your property’s market value to be competitively priced

A word of caution:

When you sign an agreement with an agent, you may be locked into it for a particular period.

So before you take the plunge, have an agent give you an evaluation of property prices.

Then:

Invite another agent to do the same.

And then another.

A minimum of three agents from different agencies should be reasonable enough.

9. Verify a comprehensive list of buyers to speed up the process

As we mentioned earlier:

An agent in the industry for five years must already have a substantial contact list directly proportional to his or her number of working years.

But sometimes quality is better than quantity.

In addition to that:

If you are selling a high-profile property, you will want to hire the agent with the most extensive list of luxury property buyers.

10. Maintain strong relationships with third parties to close the deal

Buyers want to deal with agents who will listen to them.

Now, of course:

To close the deal, the agent needs to have a clear communication channel in place. One that’s conducive for open dialogues with solicitors and other parties involved in the transaction.

Agents work in close collaboration with representatives from the buyer and seller’s side, so they need to strike the right balance in developing and maintaining these relationships

Always:

Insist on choosing the good negotiator rather than the slick salesperson.

This will ensure the successful exchange of contracts from both sides.

11. Agree on a fair payment structure to motivate the agent

After all:

It’s the agent that will do the work.

Think of monetizing the agent sufficiently as part of your overall investment for the property.

12. Talk about milestones to stay on track

Believe it or not:

People know more about how to buy a car than they do about how to compare real estate agents.

It’s a once, or twice if you’re lucky, in a lifetime deal.

In summary:

  • Make the right decisions at the right time
  • Understand the amount of work involved – not just from the agent but also from you

Given the right blend of factors that you apply when comparing agents, you will be successful in vetting and selecting the right agent to sell your property.

Conclusion

Believe it or not:

People know more about how to buy a car than they do about how to compare real estate agents.

It’s a once, or twice if you’re lucky, in a lifetime deal.

In summary:

Make the right decisions at the right time
Understand the amount of work involved – not just from the agent but also from you

Given the right blend of factors that you apply when comparing agents, you will be successful in vetting and selecting the right agent to sell your property.

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