For some reason, many sellers appoint an agent to sell their homes without any regard to the consequences of employing the wrong person to do the job. There is probably a fairly good reason for this, as sellers know that the agent won't get paid if he doesn't sell the home. However, employing the wrong person can have a major impact on how quickly a property is sold and can seriously affect the eventual selling price.
What we are trying to say is that sellers need to ascertain whether or not an agent is up to the task before they agree to allow the property to be listed, or before granting an agent a sole mandate to market the home.
Good agents generally have a relatively large number of listings. They are proactive in the marketplace and are constantly on the lookout for suitable properties for their buyers. Professional agents tend to focus on one particular area instead of trying to sell in various suburbs. Because of this, they understand the pricing dynamics of that particular region, have an excellent idea of what has been bought and sold and will know what sort of demand the area is currently enjoying. They are usually well known in their area and generally sell on a regular basis.
Any agent who lists a home should be able to provide the seller with a breakdown on how they intend to market the property. Issues such as show days, newspaper and web adverts need to be discussed.
Price is always going to be a factor and any agent should be able to justify his valuation by supplying the seller with hard evidence in the form of a comparative market analysis (CMA). It doesn't matter what the agent thinks the property is worth - the valuation is meaningless unless he can back it up with facts about what similar properties have been sold in the area and at what price.
Although not common practise, it may be an idea to ask the agent for referrals from other sellers with whom he has dealt in the past. Things to ask could, for example, include:
Does the agent make or cancel appointments in good time? In other words, does he let the seller know when he wants to bring a buyer round and likewise, does he inform the seller if the situation changes?
Did the agent consistently bring buyers to view the home or did interest wane after the first couple of weeks? This often indicates whether or not a home is correctly priced as buyers will quickly lose interest if the property is more expensive than similar properties in the area.
Was the marketing plan adhered to and was the previous seller satisfied with the exposure the property received? Was the house put on show as promised?
In a perfect world, only those serious about selling their homes would put them on the market. No one would dream of 'testing' the market by initially inflating the selling price to see if there were any takers. Sadly, this isn't the case and the market is riddled with homes that have had ‘for sale’ boards on the pavement for months or, in some cases, even years.
Those who are serious about selling, and particularly those who have to sell within a certain timeframe, do not have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for a lax agent to sell their homes. They need to start seeing some form of action from the very start and the best way of doing this, is to find the right person to do the job.