Checklist for choosing an estate agent

Private Property South Africa

Real estate advertising these days will have you believe that you should not waste your money when you can get the same service for a fraction of the price – which would be good advice, if only it were accurate.

Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, warns consumers not to base their decision for listing a property with an agent or agency on something like commission fees, but rather on an agent’s ability to sell the home in the fastest amount of time and for as close to full-value as possible.

“Don’t let money blind you. The highest evaluation isn’t necessarily the most accurate, and the lowest commission will not necessarily end up saving you money. Homes that sit on the market for long periods of time, either because an agent isn’t doing enough to market the property or because the home is priced incorrectly, lose more and more appeal over time. Sellers are eventually forced to lower their initial asking prices and sell their homes for a lot less than what they would have received if the home was marketed correctly and priced accurately at the start,” explains Goslett.

To help sellers choose a real estate professional that can be relied upon to deliver on their promises, Goslett suggests that sellers ask the following questions before agreeing to market their homes with any real estate professional:

  1. “The very first question sellers need to ask is whether this person is qualified with a valid FFC and registered with the EAAB that regulates the industry. Dealing with an estate agent who doesn’t have these credentials puts sellers at risk of working through somebody who may not be up to date with all the necessary requirements in handling property transactions.”

  2. “Next, sellers should ask whether this estate agent has a proven track record of completed sales. The best way to know if an agent can live up to his/her promises is if they’ve been able to do so for others in the past. Ask them how long it took to make their last sale and whether or not they have any sales achievement awards to prove their merit.”

    Read more: 10 characteristics of successful estate agents

  3. “It is also helpful if an agent is affiliated to an established brand whose resources can be tapped into in order to help sell the home in the quickest amount of time. Brands with a large national and international reach give properties the widest amount of exposure which tends to help sell homes faster.”

  4. “Once presented with an evaluation, sellers should ask to be walked through how the estate agent arrived at the number, and then carefully consider if it makes sense. An accurate evaluation will factor in things such as specific features of the home, value of properties sold in the suburb, and current economic conditions affecting buyer’s ability to purchase.”

  5. “Lastly, sellers should consider whether this specific real estate professional has the kind of personality, knowledge, and internal drive to make sure your property sells at the highest accurate price and in the shortest amount of time. Consider how easily contactable this agent is, and whether this person is knowledgeable about the local market and the real estate industry in general. Remember – an agent’s commission is not just for selling a home, but also for his/her time in helping you navigate through all the complicated realities of presenting an offer and finalizing the paperwork.”

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