Here’s how to get the most out of your estate agent

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

It’s advisable to keep in constant contact with your agent when selling your home, rather than sitting back and waiting for things to happen.

You’ve decided to sell your home. You've tidied up the outside, had a bit of a spring clean on the inside, done a spot of general decluttering and set up appointments with a couple of agents to help you figure out how much the property is worth. The agent gives you a valuation and voila, all the hard work is done - or is it? Can sellers sit back and take things easy while the agent works his magic, or should they take an active approach and contact the agent on a regular basis in order to find out what's happening?

Why you need to keep in regular contact

As a rule, agents should maintain regular contact with sellers, but unfortunately agents are human and as such can and do make mistakes, including perhaps not always phoning buyers as often as they should. This doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have any feedback, it simply means that they forgot. People who come to view your home always give some sort of feedback and this, should they decide not to buy, can be of enormous help when dealing with prospective buyers in the future. For example, if the most discussed issue is the cost, it may be time to lower your expectations - and your price. If, on the other hand, most comments centre on the overall state of the property, get out those paint brushes and/or spruce up the home to make it more attractive to potential purchasers. Regardless of the feedback you are getting, listen carefully to what the agent is telling you and instead of shooting the messenger by adopting a ‘what do they know anyway’ stance, absorb what's being said and act upon it.

Dealing with offers

It's also advisable to communicate with your agent once offers start coming in. A good offer often isn't dependent only on price. A cash sale (even if the offer is lower than the asking price) is generally far better than an offer which depends on the sale of another home or on the purchaser being granted a bond. Discuss the merits of each and every offer with your estate agent before making a decision to accept, or before rejecting an offer outright.

The discussions with your agent should continue while you wait for bond approval or for the buyer to sell his existing home. We're not suggesting you stalk your agent and become some sort of a phone pest, but calling once a week to discuss any progress made will not only keep you in the loop, it will also encourage the agent to stay on top of things.

Give a glowing reference

Once the sale has been completed, tell people about the experience. More successful agents will tell you that most sales are due to referrals and/or repeat business. Why not make another buyer or seller’s experience a pleasant one by spreading the word about how well your agent performed?

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