How to choose a real estate agent to help sell your home

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Canstar Blue research shows the majority of Kiwis are happy with their real estate agent. But for people who are wanting a change or don’t know where to start when looking for a real-estate agent, here are some tips that may steer you in the right direction.

You can choose to sell your home privately, saving you the cost of a real estate agent – however, sellers generally go through a real estate agent to conduct the sale. Essentially, real estate agents are paid a commission or fee by you – as the seller – to use their professional experiences and skills to sell your house. The right real estate agent could help you sell your home quickly and efficiently or, on the other hand, the wrong agent might botch the transaction. This is where it becomes important you put effort into choosing the most suitable real estate agent.

Keep in mind, a “buyer’s agent” is different to a real estate agent working on behalf of the seller. This agent is useful for people looking to buy a house – especially first home buyers – who are only just entering the complex world of the housing market. A buyer’s agent is someone who works on behalf of the buyer and may support the buyer in their negotiations. Whereas the real estate agent – otherwise known as the “seller’s agent” is hired to sell the house for the current homeowner.

So, how do you find and choose a good real estate agent?

Looking for a real estate agent

Many agents have multiple specialties – such as specific housing types and particular suburbs – so don’t be afraid to ask agents what their sweet spot is. You need someone who specialises in the type of house you’re selling as an inefficient real estate agent can mean a huge difference in the amount your house sells for.

Make sure you choose a real estate agent who is working full-time. You need someone who is available to liaise with potential buyers and show them around your house whenever time slots are available. Communication is key.

Ask for recommendations

As Mark Sumich of Cahill Real Estate told the NZ Herald, “The best criteria is personal reference.” 65% of survey respondents said they would recommend their real estate agent to a friend, so asking around is definitely a good start.

Sumich added, “It’s critical to get someone who you can trust, especially when the market is difficult, because you could be in for a three-to-four-month relationship. Ask your friends who they have had a good, trusting relationship with.”

Avoid your rellies

Don’t pick a relative to do the job if you can help it. We know it seems like it must make things easier, but real estate sales are fraught with tension and many things can and do go wrong. You don’t need that kind of frustration and resentment creeping into a family relationship.

Ask questions

Interview three or four agents before picking one. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions to see whether they’ll do a good job for your situation. Here are some questions you could ask:

  • Are you a member of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ)? What code of ethics do you comply with?
  • How long have you been buying and selling in this area? (You don’t want someone who is learning on the job with you.)
  • How many listings do you currently have on the go? (Look for balance – they have enough homes to show they are trusted and credible, but aren’t too busy to help you sell yours.)
  • How many homes have you sold in the area? Can you please give me a list of properties sold in the past 6 months, listing the asking price and the sales price for each property? (They need to know what prices are realistic)
  • How often – and how – will you communicate with me? (This needs to suit your timeframe for open homes and moving out).
  • Can you provide references or testimonials from your clients from this year?
  • How much will it cost me? (Look for the agent’s commission and ask about any other fees.)

Check the Real Estate Authority for complaints

 The Real Estate Authority (REA) is the regulator for the real estate sector and it has a great website, settled.govt.nzwhich will help you learn about the property transaction process.  While they are the authority who licenses real estate agents, the REA also have a public register, making it easier for you to sift out the good real estate agents from the not so good. You can use the public register to find out if a particular real estate agent has had any complaints upheld against them in the last three years.

Picking a winner

After you’ve done your research, it’s time to pick a winner and we’re here to help you out in this department. If you’re wanting a tried and trusted real estate agency, you can view the most recent Canstar Blue NZ award winner for most satisfied customers here. Good luck with the sale!

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