Stuck wondering how to find a real estate agent that can deliver the best possible result when selling your house? Choosing a real estate agent can be a minefield. This guide is designed to walk you through the process in the simplest way possible.
There are now nearly 15,000 real estate agents in New Zealand and as you would expect from any profession, there is a wide range in quality. Some agents consistently achieve better results for their clients.
Since your home is a valuable asset, a better result can mean a big difference financially. Selling can also become a stressful process if it doesn’t go to plan.
So it’s worth taking the time to find real estate agents who are proven to perform well.
But how can you tell? How do you learn how to find a real estate agent in the first place, and how do you choose between multiple good options?
In this guide we break down how to find the best real estate agent.
The process is based on evidence gathered through analyzing thousands of sales records, customer ratings, feedback from home-owners and industry experts.
With the knowledge gained from reading this article, you’ll be able to confidently identify and hire a top performing agent to sell your property.
1) Identify the top local sellers
If you’re just starting your research, start by identifying agents that are currently selling or have recently sold multiple properties in your area.
These are the agents that are regularly interacting with potential buyers in your target market. So they will better understand their needs, budget and expectations. This will help when setting the right sales strategy, preparing an accurate appraisal, creating a marketing plan and preparing your home for sale.
It also means they are more likely to bring a higher volume of qualified buyers through your property, since they are regularly meeting buyers in the course of marketing other listings.
2) Eliminate inexperienced agents
As with most professions, there is no substitute for experience.
An experienced agent has worked through different market cycles and understands the sales strategies required to achieve results in up, down and flat markets. They are familiar with a wider range of potential issues and can resolve them quickly if they arise. They have also had more opportunities to learn which home presentation options, marketing techniques and negotiation tactics work best.
So when you’re considering an agent, check how long they have been selling real estate ﹣ both in terms of years and also total properties sold ﹣ and eliminate those that you feel are still new to the industry. Choosing the right real estate agent is just as much a process of avoiding choosing the wrong one – so be fairly strict with eliminating contenders that don’t have a proven track record.
3) Obtain and assess appraisals
Before you can hire an agent, they are required to complete an appraisal of your property. The appraisal will include a sale price estimate based on comparable sales and current market conditions.
Everyone wants the best price for their home, so it can be tempting to hire the agent who prepares the highest appraisal.
But the reality is, some agents will appraise your home above market value in order to secure the listing.
So how do you tell if an appraisal is too optimistic?
Find out more about the process they use to prepare the appraisal. Look for signs they have followed a systematic and thorough process. Check which properties they have selected as comparable sales and verify they are appropriate ﹣ they should be of a similar age, floor area, location, land size, and condition.
If there is a discrepancy between the appraised value and the sale price of comparable properties ﹣ find out why they have appraised your property at a higher level.
4) Evaluate their proposed sales strategy
The most important elements of a successful sales strategy include marketing, method of sale and presentation.
Pay attention to where an agent’s proposed strategy differs from the best practices for these elements, as described below.
If there are variations, it is possible that special circumstances apply to your property or the target buyer profile that your agent is targeting. Just make sure the agent can justify those variations to your satisfaction.
Sales strategy best practices
Marketing. Most buyers start online, so your advertising campaign should focus on digital channels. A listing on TradeMe and RealEstate.co.nz is essential. Great photos are critical to advertising online too ﹣ so use a professional photographer. Print advertising is less effective and likely not justified unless there are special circumstances.
Method of sale. The highest performing sales methods are those that generate a sense of competition among buyers, set a deadline for offers and market the property without a price. Tender, deadline sale and auction can all achieve this result.
Presentation. How you prepare your home for sale and present it during the marketing process is important. Done correctly you can increase the perceived value of your property and remove barriers that might put off some buyers or reduce their offer. Your agent should be able to help you identify maintenance issues to sort out and provide presentation tips, including home staging ideas, to present your property at it’s best.
5) Check feedback from previous customers
Check independent ratings and reviews online. Everyone interprets rating systems and scores differently, so don’t be alarmed by the occasional imperfect review. But a poor overall rating should raise an alarm bell.
You can also ask to speak with previous clients and get their feedback directly. Most top agents should have no trouble finding two or three recent clients that are happy to provide a reference.
How AgentIQ Can Help
We’ve built all of the factors described in this article into a real estate agent finder that analyses data to identify which agents are selling similar properties in your area for the best prices and the highest customer ratings.