We now have firm indications that a significant amount of new stock is about to hit the market as the busiest selling season of the year gets underway. Internal RP Data figures show spring stock levels will be significantly higher than last year, which is great news following several months of severe shortages. It’s also a clear indication that confidence is continuing to build in the property market not only among buyers but sellers too.

If you’re thinking of selling this spring, you’ll need to choose an agent. For this important decision, make sure you take the time to do some research to find the agent who you think will do the best job in securing a premium price for your property.

A premium price is the net result of the agent’s skill, effort and experience. The difference between an unskilled agent and a very good agent could easily amount to a 25 to 30 per cent difference on the sale price, hence choosing your agent is a critical decision.

The first step in the research process is to draw up a short list of agents to interview. It’s a good idea to talk to at least three agents. Here’s how to find them:

  • Seek recommendations from friends, colleagues and neighbours
  • Review the quality of their marketing – newspaper ads and office website
  • Take notice of the number of ads they have in the paper
  • Audition agents by visiting a few open homes and auctions
  • Don’t discount young agents – enthusiasm, energy and knowledge of new technologies can count for a lot and easily compensate lack of longevity!

When interviewing agents, you want to see what skills and talents they have to offer and whether there’s enough rapport for you to be able to work well together. But it’s also an opportunity to find out about the state of the market and compare different opinions and approaches to the sales process.

The skill set you’re looking for includes creative and targeted marketing, superior negotiation skills, outstanding auction strategy and the ability to get into the hearts and minds of buyers and get them excited about owning your property.

You also want an agent who is honest and forthright about things such as improving the presentation of your property.

Your agent must be capable of marketing your property to the maximum number of buyers. The number of buyers introduced to your property has a direct relationship with the final sale price. A good agent will have a large buyer database and will be able to sell the benefits of your property and clearly articulate its advantages over others in the market.

Here are my tips for choosing the best agent:

Don’t pick an agent because they offer the lowest fee. If they’re incapable of negotiating a fee that’s reflective of their skills and talent, how are they going to negotiate a top price for your property?

With regard to what your home is worth, go with an agent who bases their estimated selling price on tangible facts – recent sales data of comparable properties. Ask for a list. Some agents will inflate their appraisal in the hope of winning your business. It’s called ‘buying the listing’. Don’t be fooled!

Make a list of questions and conduct a formal ‘job interview’ with your three agents. Ask whatever you like but remember the following key questions:

  • How long have you been working in this area?
  • What comparable homes you have sold in this area lately?
  • What is the state of the market?
  • How long is it taking you to sell well-priced listings at the moment?
  • How much is my home worth? How have you come up with that figure?
  • Should I sell by auction or private treaty? Why?
  • What marketing strategy do you suggest? Why?
  • What will you do to introduce buyers to my property?
  • How does my property present? What should I do to maximise the sale price?
  • Do you have a list of recent vendors I can speak to?

Most importantly, make sure there’s a good chemistry between you and the agent. Due to the nature of an agent/vendor relationship you’ll need a solid rapport and high level of trust so as to have confidence in their skill and advice.

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.