You don’t employ a Real Estate Agent very often. When you are employing an agent there are some key questions that you should be asking to ensure that you select the correct one. After all, this is your prime asset that we are talking about, and as I have written about in my post Select Your Agent Carefully your agent can make, or cost, you up to 10% of your homes value.
I have listed some of the questions that you should be asking a prospective agent and what you should be looking for in their response.
When and where were your last 10 sales?
You are looking to see if they are currently active in the marketplace or not. You need to employ an active agent, this is really important.
Not all agents are very active, for example on the North Shore the current sale per Real Estate Agent is 0.4 sales per month, or in other words 1 sale per 10 weeks (approx). You do not want this sort of Agent. They won’t know what is truly happening with the market at the coal face, or have a true handle on price.
What results did you get from your last 10 sales?
Here you want to see List Price vs Sold Price; Assessed Value vs Sold Price (if they can); days on market; internet hits and how many offers they had.
As a point of reference, my average negotiation rise is currently $23,000 above asking. Days on market is 11. All but 2 of my sales this year have been sold under multiple offer. If I don’t get over 2000 internet hits in the first 4 days then I am not happy – A.K.A grumpy!
The current average in Birkenhead and Northcote* is $15,039 under the asking. 35 Days on Market. A normal listing will achieve 400-700 hits in the first 4-5 days.
(*) Figures from REINZ for the April – October for the Birkenhead area, which also covers Northcote.
What marketing do you recommend?
Here you are looking to see if they will give you the best advice or not. If they recommend that ‘you go only online and don’t worry about professional photography or print marketing’ you should run as you are dealing with someone that does not understanding marketing and the importance of it.
The fact is in today’s market we still need to use print marketing i.e. North Shore Homes and Property Press. I have come from an online marketing background, and I test and track everything and the figures of internet hits and open home inspections of properties marketed without print advertising to those without tells a very clear story. I wish that we didn’t need print marketing anymore as I have the skill-sets to ensure that my clients would stand out above the rest, but we still do.
What are your fees? I want a reduction.
Here you aren’t really asking what the fees are, all agents are pretty much the same price bar one or two that are slightly lower or higher. What you are really wanting to do is see how they respond to the fee question, do they squirm or get a little uncomfortable? Do they suddenly offer a reduction in fees? Do they panic?
How an agent handles the fee question will be just how they will handle the price question for your house. You are really testing their skills as a negotiator, and what better place to test it when it is with their money as opposed to yours.
It would give good reason to be concerned if they panic, get uncomfortable or drop their fees quickly or in a large way.
Why should I use you?
An agent that understands marketing will know that they need to have clearly established their brand with good unique selling points. Just like your house has unique features and benefits, agents should as well.
If the response that you get is something along the lines of because I will work the hardest, because I am the best (top Agent blah blah) or I will give you a good price, be concerned.
Can I see your adverts of properties you have marketed?
Here you are looking to see how they market properties. Have they carefully written the advert with the benefits clear with the property? Are they speaking to the target market?
If they have written an advert that is in bullet point style, very sterile and brief or using a headline like ‘lovely home’ , be concerned they don’t understand marketing.
What do you think my home is worth?
This is something to ask quickly into the discussion on the first visit to the house. A good agent won’t give you a price.
Sounds strange I know, some people expect that we should know the market off the top of our head. Fact is that we cannot know that, there are so many sales happening at any one time and we simply cannot know them all. A good agent will look at your house then go around and look at the most recent sales that are comparable to your property.
If you have an agent that comes in and gives a price straight away, ask them how they have come to that price. More often than not they are guessing, which is very dangerous stuff. They may have done research first, but that is still dangerous because they haven’t seen your house yet.
As you can see these are all kinds of trick questions, you are setting traps for the agents to see how they respond. If you are looking at selecting an agent I’d love the opportunity to have a chat with you. You can reach me on 021 85 84 83.