Tips on selecting the right agent

Private Property South Africa
RE/MAX

It goes without saying that if a homeowner decides to sell their property; they want to sell it for best possible price, within the shortest period of time, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

“Of course the phase that the market is in and where the home is situated will have a massive impact on the ability to achieve those objectives. However, another important determining aspect that the homeowner will have more control over is the real estate agent they choose to work with through the process,” says Goslett. “The past financial challenges of the recession along with stricter legislation imposed on those within the property industry has weeded out the ‘bad apples’ leaving professionals who truly have a passion for what they do, for the most part. That said, it is still important that a seller chooses an agent that they are comfortable with and trust enough to assist them in getting the best return on their investment. Working with the right agent will simplify the process and make it far less overwhelming.”

The question is how does a seller know who is the right agent for them? Goslett says that there are a few things that a seller can look out for when making their decision:

“As a general rule, it is good to look out for agents who work specifically in the area in which the home is situated, as they will have a good working knowledge of the area and a list of potential buyers who would potentially like to purchase property there,” he says. “Phone the number given on a sign board or visit the local agency office to speak to agents and get an idea of who they are. It is essential that there is trust between the agent and the seller and that the seller and agent are able to communicate effectively. It is important for both to be able to discuss matters openly and honestly.”

According to Goslett the seller should talk to the agent about how they intend to market the property. “This is important because it will have an impact on how many buyers want to view the property and how long it stays on the market. The longer a property is on the market, the less likely it is that the seller will get their asking price,” he explains. “Another suggestion is to look at whether the agent or brand lists properties on a national website or just the smaller local ones, as the more exposure the home gets, the higher the chance there is of finding a suitable buyer.”

Goslett notes that once the seller has found an agent they feel they want to work with, it’s time to have the property evaluated. This valuation should be based on the location of the property, current market conditions and the average price that similar houses have recently sold for in the area. An over evaluation will only prolong or kill the sale of the property by chasing away potential buyers. Beware of agents that give high valuations just to secure a sole mandate on the property.

“Don’t forget to discuss and agree upon commission upfront,” says Goslett, “Although it may be tempting; don’t choose an agent just because they offer the lowest commission rate. The commission should be based on whether the agent fulfilled their mandate and how well that was executed.” He adds that it is also important to remember that agents from larger, reputable agencies offer the backing, experience, considerable marketing benefits and access to a bigger database of potential buyers that only a large company can offer.

Last but by no means least, is the type of mandate that will be given to the agent. “Come to an agreement that works for both parties. And remember that a good agent will present you with a marketing plan that they believe will help them fulfil the obligations of the mandate,” Goslett concludes.

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