Choosing your preferred agent
As you probably know already, your agent selection will be an important one, and will impact heavily on both the financial outcome and the emotional cost of the process. The trouble is, it’s hard to know who to believe and trust, so we often default to someone we like, or to someone that’s been recommended by a friend, and then hope for the best. Personally, I believe hope is not enough when it comes to the sale of such a valued asset, and I also believe that the process needn’t require such a leap-of-faith.
In my experience, the process of preparing, marketing, negotiating and concluding an outstanding real estate sale is a very clear and structured process, and your preferred agent should be very comfortable answering a few key questions about this journey. These questions are intended to help you identify any potential issues well before you sign an agency agreement, and a competent agent should take these in their stride.
What process do you go through to decide the recommended method of sale?
This question will help you decide whether the recommended method of sale takes your needs, and the prevailing market conditions, into account. The recommended method should be clearly justified, easily understood and based around your needs.
What are the benefits of your property to prospective buyers?
The last thing you need is an agent that lists features. Instead, your premium price will only be achieved through marketing that focuses on the benefits of the features, thereby engaging with prospective purchasers on a more emotional level. This requires skill and experience.
Who do you think my ideal buyer will be?
A good marketer should have this in the bag. Without a clear target market (there may be secondary targets too) it is impossible to set the bait correctly. Remember, we are looking to land a King Fish, so let’s target King Fish, the rest will come anyway.
What marketing channels would you recommend for our property?
This is a bit of a trick question, because the marketing approach should be tailored to suit both the current market conditions and the unique selling proposition of your property. In other words, this should ideally be arrived at through collaboration with you and a scientific approach to the marketing plan. After all, if we are not expert marketers, then what are we?
How will your personal brand or company brand impact the final sale price?
The truth? It is highly unlikely to have much impact at all. Most agent and company marketing is designed to attract more listings, and is of little consequence to the buying public. With the pervasiveness of the property websites and social media, buyers now chase property, not agents. The days of the secret list of buyers in a salesperson’s back pocket are long gone.
Why should I/we engage you as our preferred agent?
If your agent is unable to provide you with clear and concise benefits of listing with them, then you should think twice before engaging them. Ultimately your agent’s skill and work ethic is going to have more impact on the outcome than anything else.
Will you discount your commission?
I think this is a very important question, but the reason for asking it is not really aimed at getting a discounted commission rate. Top agents, are those that can achieve the maximum price the market will stand at any given point in time. Selecting your agent because they are the cheapest, often costs you far more in the end. The maximum price is only obtained by the very best marketers and negotiators, and if an agent too easily negotiates away their commission, then you should question their ability to negotiate the best price for your property too.
Naturally the final selection is yours to make, however transparency, responsibility and a collaborative approach to marketing strategy, are in my DNA, and if I don’t win your business, then hopefully I’ve helped you to make a better informed decision.
Remember, Real Estate is a measurable process of preparing, marketing and negotiating so you should enter any agency agreement, not only with hope, but with confidence too.