In your initial meeting, the agent will need to see your property and should ask a range of questions. Here are some important questions to ask when interviewing agents:
1. How long have you been an agent?
There’s nothing wrong with hiring a freshly licensed agent. However, it depends on their level of training, any track records in a previous industry and whether or not they have access to great mentors. On the plus side, newer agents generally have more time to attend to you and loads of enthusiasm. Some agents with years of experience just continue to do what they’ve been doing since they started which is no longer working in a technological world. While others embrace change and keep finding new ways to help you achieve the result you want.
2. What is the right marketing strategy or plan for me?
- What method will you use to sell my home?
- Is a direct mail campaign right for me? Why or why not?
- Where and how frequent do you place ads?
- What strategy do you use for online marketing?
3. Will you give me references?
- Request to check out references (ask for testimonials from both buyers and sellers)
- Find out if any of the persons giving references are related to the agent
- Ask if you can call the references with more questions
4. What makes you different from your competition?
A good agent will have a ready answer for this question. Each has their own standards, but what I find most sellers are looking for in their agents are: trustworthy and honest; assertive; a negotiator; easily accessible by email or phone; likeable: competent communicators; analytical; and above all confidence. What sellers should also be looking for but often miss entirely is a marketeer!
5. Will you allow me to review papers before I sign?
A good agent will always explain the 'Sales Inspection Report and Exclusive Agency Agreement' before asking you to sign. If you still feel unsure and want your solicitor or conveyancer to review it for you, then just ask. You also have a 24 hour cooling off period in which you can change your mind even after signing.
6. What is your rate?
There is no set or standard rate within the industry. You will find though that the fees usually range between 2% to 3%. Be very aware of the agent who charges you the least amount as it is highly likely that they will do the least amount of work. This scenario is an actual real life case where Agent A charged 2% commission and $600 in marketing fees on a property that buyers (who inspected both) agreed was worth at least $20,000 more than the second property where Agent B charged 3% commission and $3000 in marketing fees. The end result is that Seller A received $35,450 less in their bank. When you add the extra $20,000 (being the better home in the same street) that's potentially a total loss of $55,450. I think the moral here is 'you get what you pay for'.
Agent A @ 2% Agent B @ 3%
Sale Price $580,000 $625,000
Commission $11,600 $18,750
Marketing $600 $3,000
Net Figure to the sellers $567,800 $603,250
7. Do you offer a guarantee?
After signing an agency agreement and engaging your agent, you find that you’re not happy with them (for whatever reason), will the agent allow you to withdraw from the agreement? What is your agent’s policy with regards to cancelled agreements? Have other clients cancelled an agreement with your agent before? These are great questions to ask before signing and make sure you get your guarantee in writing too!
8. What else should I know about you?
Focus on how the agent answers this particular question because there is usually something you don’t know and you should know what it is. You want your agent not to hurry in their dealings with you – to ensure you feel secure and comfortable with their experience, knowledge and skills. Your agent should be able to listen to you and advise you. They should also know how to ask questions to discover what they need to know to meet your requirements.
Remember, no question is a silly one! Ask Annette, the Newcastle Real Estate Agent who enables you to turn the key to where you want to be, as many as you like!