How to interview your real estate agent

Interview agent

When it comes to selling your home, choosing a real estate agent is one of the biggest and most crucial decisions you’ll make. OBrien Real Estate Chelsea’s Tanja Neven-Jones shares her top tips for finding the right agent.

Interviewing agents can be daunting – but arm yourself with the right questions, and you’ll be a step ahead.

How long have you been in real estate?

We’re seeing a more challenging market this year, as banks tighten up credit in response to changes in lending criteria.

Agents who have been around for more than 10 years have navigated through the Global Financial Crisis and the difficulties that come with longer days on market.

They’ve had to think outside the box when it comes to getting a deal done – so they’re better prepared to deal with the current market.

What’s your good news story?

Time in the industry is important, but so are results. Ask the agent to share a little about their experience, their recent sales, and a time they exceeded expectations for their client (and how they made that happen). That will give you a good insight into how they operate.

What’s my property worth?

What’s your property likely to sell for, and why? Ask for a list of comparable sales in your area, and how they relate to your home. What’s the pricing strategy – do they recommend a price range, a fixed price or price on application? Why?

Which sales method will you use?

This one’s really important. It’s not about which sales method is best for the agent, but which is best for your home and potential buyers. And is that based on price point, the buyers, the market or something else?

For example, in the Chelsea area, an expected sale price under $700,000 falls into first-home buyer territory. We know first-home buyers don’t particularly like auctions, so an auction could eliminate 80 per cent of your marketplace. But a private sale would allow 100 per cent of the market to vie for the home.

How will you market my property?

Make sure the agent is thinking about which buyers your home will attract – where they’re from, which stage of life they’re in, and how they’re going to reach them.

For example, traditional marketing methods such as print advertising may be more suitable for older down-sizers, while online and social media marketing may be better for more digital-savvy buyers.

You’ll also want to know how much marketing will cost, and whether it will need to be paid upfront.

How flexible are you with open for inspections?

Buyers are gold right now – so it’s important to open up properties at times that suit them.

At OBrien, we hold open for inspections on Saturdays, Sundays and even on public holidays, to try to cast a wide net for our vendors. Will your agent do midweek and weekend opens? Will they answer the phone on a public holiday?

Find out how hard they will they work for your sale.

How do you deal with multiple offers?

If there is more than one offer on your property, how does the agent handle it from start to finish? Do they go back and ask for more money from the buyer, or do they only give them one opportunity?

You want to know that your agent is handling the buyer with respect, but also giving them every opportunity to buy the property.

You don’t want a situation where a buyer is prepared to make another offer, but isn’t given an opportunity to do so.

Do you work in a team?

Will your agent have a colleague taking names and numbers at open for inspections so they are free to do what you are employing them to do – sell your home, sell the area, and talk to buyers?

Why should I employee you as my agent?

From a distance, agents might seem pretty much the same – so briefly find out how they are different from their competitors, and how they’ll work harder.

How much is home worth

What’s your commission?

This is one of the most common questions asked by vendors. And while commission is definitely one thing to consider, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.

Commissions are negotiable, and it’s how the agent handles this question that you should be looking at closely – because it will give you a good indication of their negotiation skills.

An agent who’s willing to ask, “what do you want to pay me?” is willing to have that conversation with the buyer as well.

Make sure to ask about any other expenses associated with selling, such as conveyancing and marketing.

Do you have a rapport with the agent?

You’re going to be working closely with the agent over coming weeks, so you want to get along. ¬†Finding someone you really connect with and trust is vital.

Whether you choose an agent based on personality, strategy, commission or a friend’s recommendation, asking these questions will help you understand what lies ahead. Good luck!

Thinking of selling? Meet the team at OBrien Real Estate Chelsea or ask us about a market appraisal by filling in the form below:


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