How To Choose A Real Estate Agent

By BRENDON SKIPPER in M2 Magazine, December 2017

Selling your home is likely to be one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make.

Once you’ve made the decision to sell, one of the first steps to ensuring you get the best price for your home is engaging a real estate agent that knows your area and the type of house you are selling. Real estate agents are experts in the process of buying and selling property and it’s important not to underestimate the value of their professional expertise. But how do you find the right agent for your situation?

There are several ways to find an agent:

·         Word of mouth: Ask friends, family members and colleagues for personal references.

·         The internet: realestate.co.nz has most of the licensed real estate agents in New Zealand listed on the site. You can view them by office, name or region.

·         Attend open home inspections: This will give you a chance to see agents in action and how they may present your home.

When deciding on the agent, do your due diligence. Talk to several agents in your area, then compare costs, taking into account the services, level of skill, experience and marketing options each agent offers. Question the types of houses each agent typically sells; you want to choose one that is experienced in selling homes similar to yours.

Once you’ve found the right agent, what should your expectations be? A good agent can give you access to market appraisal and data, and will walk you through the process from the initial planning of the sale of your home to closing the deal on your next property purchase. They can also help you determine your buying power and refer you to lenders who are best qualified to help you.

Your agent should be familiar with your district and its zonings, as well as having up-to-date knowledge of changes in land use (including probable future changes based on apparent trends), as well as the laws and by-laws relating to property. They should be able to advise you on the best method of sale for your property e.g. by auction, tender or by negotiation (private treaty).

It’s important that you choose the selling method you’re comfortable with. Carefully consider the proposed plan for marketing your home to potential buyers, you want to ensure you are pushing your home out far and wide. Also ask your chosen agent for advice on cosmetic improvements that will help maximise the selling price.

Your real estate agent will also assist with the complexities of the negotiating process to ensure you not only get the best price, but also to ensure that other factors in the sale and purchase agreement fall into place, e.g. financing, terms, date of possession, chattels and inclusion/exclusion of repairs.

A CHECKLIST OF QUESTIONS TO ASK

Are you a member of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ)?

How long have you been working as a real estate agent?

How long have you been operating in the area?

How many properties have you sold in the area in the past 12 months, and what were the prices achieved?

What is your proposed marketing strategy and why is this the most suitable means of marketing my property?

Will you provide progress reports once the marketing plan is underway?

Are you able to provide references/testimonials from recent clients?

What is the code of ethics you adhere to?

What costs will I incur (i.e. agent’s commission, marketing costs and other fees)?

What contract duration do you propose?

If selling at auction what will happen if the property fails to sell?