Real Estate Agents….. Well most think that they can be done without but when it comes to seeling your house most of us although we dont like to agree with it couldnt have done without our agent. Now you will probably agree with me more if you had a good agent. This like in any idustry is a risk that will be present but you need to identify which is a good agent. This I have done previous in this blog but I will detail off in another blog post later. In this blog post I mainly want to talk about what the agent will do to get you listed up.
When I say listed up I mean formally signed into an agreement with the agent so that the agent can act on your behalf to sell the property. Here is the catch though and you need to be aware. When you do sign up you are not signing up with the agent as such but with the agency. When you enter into an agreement with a real estate agency to market your home, you are ‘listing your home for sale’. One agent may sign you up and be your main contact, but once you’ve listed your home all the agents in that company can try to sell your home.
The agency works for you and their skill and experience can make a lot of difference. If you dont know an agent yourself already talk with several different agencies to find the one that suits you best because you need to find someone you can trust and can communicate with peoperly. Also look for a company that looks to have a dominant market in the industry. This will really help as they will have greater reach than an agency thats smaller. So when you work with the agent you need to be confident they can do the job on your behalf. You need to ask questions.
Questions to ask the agent
- are you a member of the Real Estate Institute (MREINZ)?
- how long have you been in the business?
- what qualifications do you have?
- what references can you provide?(ask to talk to sellers they’ve worked for)
- how well do you know this area?
- what can you tell me about local trends?
- what buyers do you have on your books?
- how would you market my home?
- what sort of buyers will it appeal to?
- how are you better than your competition?
- what types of promotions do you do?
- what will you do if my home is slow to sell?
- when and how will you report back to me?
- what is your fee?
- would there be any other costs?
- what do you think my home could sell for?
- why do you think that is the right price?
- is there anything I should do to the home?
Two important things to remember
1. A point of warning. Some agents buy a listing. The value an agent puts on your house issometimes partly based on trying to get your business (are you likely to choose the agent who gives you the lowest price?) So how they will try to get the best price for you is more important than the price they quote. The best agent to choose is the one thats going to give you the best price in your pocket at the end of the day. Your buying opportunity is best in the first month. Be very careful not to be overpriced when you come to the market. Be realistic and firm.
2. You want to be sure the agency will try to get the best price for you, not just a quick sale. So look at their approach and experience, not just the sales figures. The experience of the office is just as important as your agent.
Sole or general agency?
A sole agency is when you give one real estate agency the exclusive right to try to sell your home for a certain period. It means you can’t list the property with anyone else or try to sell it privately during that time.
A general agency means you list your home with several agencies and can sell it yourself if you want. Only the agency that sells the home gets the commission.
You generally will get better service from a sole agency because they have more incentive to sell it. My advice is to only sign up for a short time, say one or two months at a time. This will help keep the agency ‘on it’s toes’, give them incentive to sell in that time and it means you can review their performance and change the agreement, or the agency, if things are not working out as you’d like. And on the other side of this in that time you may find that you just cannot accept the market value of your home so you should access if this indeed a waist of time or not.
Home buyers tend to shop around so listing with one agency doesn’t mean fewer buyers.
Ask the agents you talk with for a copy of their listing agreement – this generally is standard practice. This is the contract between you and the agency setting out what the agency will do, how your home will be sold and the fees you agree to pay.
Agreements can vary quite a bit between agents – and you can negotiate what is in them. As with any other legal contract, you should get your lawyer to check the agreement before you sign it.
Before signing, check it includes
- your name and the agency’s name
- the correct details for your home
- the chattels that are or are not for sale
- how the home will be sold
- how and when the agency will report to you (ask for weekly reports)
- the agency fees and costs.
Be careful at this stage of selling. I would always ask for a marketing plan before signing an agreement. Even if it is not a concrete marketing plan you should get a commitment from your agent so that after signing the contract agreement that you will have things start to happen.
From here on in is where it gets exciting for you.