Overestimating the selling price for a property is one of the oldest tricks in the real estate agent’s book. The idea is that the seller will be so impressed by the inflated figure that they will chose this agent over other competitors. But the over-priced property is likely to sit on the market for months, while the seller loses money. This practice, known as buying a listing, is just one trick that real estate agents may use to secure a client’s business. Savvy house-hunters will know how to see through these marketing ploys and spot those genuine brokers willing to go the extra mile.
These tips will help sellers find the right real estate agent to match their needs – and get their property sold.
1. Interview them
Never go into your first meeting with an agent expecting a casual conversation. Treat the meeting as seriously as you would a job interview, with the agent vying for the position and you having the final say. Go armed with a list of specific questions designed to find out more about their experience, sales history and how they operate. As a rule, interview at least three agents before making a final decision.
2. Google them
These days a person’s online persona can tell you plenty about the way they do business. From their website and social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter, you will get a good sense of the type of work they do. Do a quick search for any news articles that have appeared about them or their company. Most importantly, take a look at what online marketing channels they use and how effective they are in reaching potential buyers.
3. Look into licensing
When looking for a real estate agent you can trust, the first thing to take note of is their license and other credentials. Always ensure that you are dealing with a licensed agent. Also take note of their other credentials, such as whether they are a member of national real estate institutes or other property organizations.
4. Ask for references
Both buyers and sellers should always ask an agent for written references from past clients, including their contact details. Call some of the agent’s former clients to ask a range of questions: did the agent communicate well? Did they effectively guide them through the selling process? How long was their property on the market? Above all, would they use this agent again?
5. Look for local expertise
Finding an agent with in-depth local knowledge is key because every neighborhood has its own challenges when it comes to real estate. The ideal property agent will have a proven track record of selling properties in your local area. They will be well versed in factors including the location of amenities, the local environment and even how government regulations are likely to affect the sale. They will know the ins and outs of the local market better than most residents, and for this reason they will always have the upper hand when it comes to getting your property sold.
6. Remember: asking price isn’t everything
While many people will be tempted to focus on the estimated selling price, there are other factors that are much more important. An agent’s negotiation abilities, for example, are key to securing the best deal possible, regardless of the asking price. Ultimately you should look for an agent with whom you can build a good rapport and who can be trusted to look out for your interests throughout the sales process.