Livingston & Molloy Real Estate
32 Denham Street Rockhampton
07 49214955Contact us
The prospect of buying or selling a home can either be an exciting or a terrifying one, depending on who you listen to. While some friends will boast of having a smooth sail, others will constantly point out the pitfalls. And whether it’s your first home or your tenth, you still might find yourself heading into unknown territory. That’s why it pays to be aware of the differences between fact and fiction. This will not only help you to avoid those ‘pitfalls’, but also to make your experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
This will guide you through the process of signing up with an agent, dispelling any myths and rumours that might hamper you in your quest to sell your home.
The proof is in the pudding!
Effective advertising and promotion are one thing. An effective salesperson is another. A full-page advert with an impressive listing of homes doesn’t necessarily mean that that agency is selling a lot of properties. The real test is in how many homes they have sold in your area.
When it comes down to it, that’s all that matters – hard evidence. If the agent has been successful in your area, then it probably means that they know that particular market well and will be able to target the right buyers for your property. More importantly, it shows that they are a hard-working salesperson.
So here are a few simple things you should do before signing an agent. Firstly, ask around locally – speak to family and friends who have bought or sold in your area; an enthusiastic and hard-working agent will always leave a good impression on others. Also, when you sit down with the agent make sure they can give you a list of homes they have sold in your neighbourhood. You may even want to grab contact names so that you can speak to the clients personally about their experience with that particular agent. Anyone can blow their own trumpet, but not everyone can sell a home for top price!
Too many fingers in the pie!
Some people sign up with so many different real estate agencies they can’t see the house for the signs! Using multiple agents can sometimes prolong the selling process. It’s a bit like having too many cooks in the kitchen – everyone is having a say but no one person is fully dedicated to, or responsible for, the final outcome. An agent who has exclusive selling rights will have greater motivation, and will give their full attention to your home knowing that the sale rests on their shoulders. If the testimonies show that your chosen agent has sold well in your area, then hopefully they will be the only person you need to sell your home. It’s also important to know that sole agency is the Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s preferred selling method.
If you’ve got it flaunt it!
If you don’t like the idea of having a ‘For Sale’ sign outside your house then you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential buyers. Weekend drivers will often roam the streets of the area they’re interested in looking for suitable properties. A ‘For Sale’ sign is the only way of attracting this type of buyer.
Many people looking for a new home operate in this way because they like to look in their own time, outside of business hours. So don’t leave them in the dark! Let them know loud and clear that your home is available.
Playing your cards right!
We all know that the initial price tag you put on your home is not necessarily the price you end up with. And a lot of the time your final amount will be decided at the negotiating table. If you don’t have a skilled negotiator representing you, then you may not end up with the best possible price. With so many buyers out there it’s easy to sell a home, but not so easy to sell for your top price. An experienced salesperson with the right skills should not only fetch you a good price but also do it as smoothly and as quickly as possible. You only need to research an agent’s track record a little to find out how successful they have been at securing top price. And rest assured that if they make you a few thousands dollars extra, you won’t regret having spent the time to do it.
Before you hand over your hard-earned money to an agent, be sure that they are going to work equally as hard for you. Make sure you know exactly what it is they plan to deliver, and how they plan to deliver it. You wouldn’t let a builder start on your home without any plans, so why let a real estate agent! What you need to know before you give them the go-ahead, is…
1. What they are going to do to sell your home?
2. How you will know they are doing what they promised?
3. What they will do if they fail to meet those promises?
Sit down with your agent and you will soon get an idea of whether or not they have a detailed plan that seems appropriate for your home and area. And don’t be afraid to ask them what they will do if they aren’t getting results down the track. It’s impossible for an agent to guarantee a specific price, but what they can guarantee is that they will work their hardest to get it for you, and that they will keep you informed of their progress along the way. This way you can be sure of keeping the agent on their toes.
Put your money where your mouth is!
Many people fall into the trap of listing with the agent who quotes the highest price for their property. While the lure of such a high price might seem irresistible, keep in mind that a quoted price isn’t necessarily the price that you will get. In fact you may not even come close to getting it, and
if you don’t accept a lower offer, all the precious time and money you have invested in selling the property will go down the drain. If you do accept a lower offer you will walk away far short of the asking price. By setting the price too high you are bound for disappointment, not to mention that you cut out half the buying market before you even get started. So once the agent has given you an appraisal of the property make sure that he can guarantee achieving that price and that he has clear ideas on how to reach it. Once again, do your research by talking to past clients of the agent, comparing the quoted amount to the actual amount received in the sale. This is the only way to find out the true ability of the salesperson. After all, actions speak louder than words.
Keeping your finger on the pulse!
Naturally you will want to know what progress is being made while you’re property is on the market. It’s your home and you deserve to know how your money is being spent. A good agent will be approachable at any time to tell you how it is all going. Ultimately the agent will provide a weekly report card detailing what they have done during that time, and a separate report for each showing through your home. This helps you, and your agent, to understand what potential buyers are looking for and what their response was to your home. Too much information is never enough!
You only get out what you put in!
Well, you’ve found an agent who promises to do the same as Joe Bloggs down the road, for half the price. Terrific! Surely the more money you save now the better?
Not necessarily so. A cheaper agent is likely to equate to a cheaper price for your home; they will cut corners and skimp on all the extras that go into getting the highest possible price for your home.
The agent that charges a little bit more obviously has more time and money to put into your marketing campaign, and will often have the backing of a more established and professional agency. Signing with an agent who sets a lower price for your home but promises to sell it straight away will probably do just that – get you a lower price for your home.
Investing in an agent who is willing to spend more time to get you a better price could really pay off.
Trust your instincts!
Unfortunately, the reputation of the real estate agent has been tarnished by a few bad apples. Luckily, not all agents are afflicted with the ‘quick sale’ mentality.
Finding an agent you can trust could well be the most important step you take towards selling your home. As mentioned earlier, great agents will leave a lasting impression on those they work with, which is why it makes sense to talk to the people in your area they have already dealt with. If past clients have any doubts at all about the performance of the agent make sure you find out how well-founded they are.
If, after speaking with the agent you feel that you can’t trust them on a personal level, then don’t trust them with your house. And if they can’t produce hard evidence of their past success in your area, then it’s better to spend a little more time finding someone who can.
First impressions are lasting!
We’ve all heard of love at first sight, but did you know that it also applies in the real estate industry? Often a person’s first glimpse of your home, whether good or bad, will stick, and may determine whether or not they come back for a second look.
While subtle changes, such as a vase of flowers or a touch of paint, may not seem like much to you, they may be all it takes to swing the potential buyer and add thousands of dollars worth of value to your property. Experienced real estate agents will know exactly where those finishing touches are needed, and their knowledge of current housing trends will ensure that your house appeals to today’s buying market.
Your agent should be able to provide you with a checklist of presentation tips plus the names of reliable tradespeople in your area.
Bigger is not always better!
While you can often achieve a lot with a little, the reverse isn’t always the case. A vase of flowers which costs little will easily be returned when you sell the home. A bigger improvement, however, such as reroofing the house, is an expensive job that might cost more than the actual value it adds to your home.
Your agent will be able to advise you of which jobs are worth doing and which aren’t. There’s no point repainting the whole house if all it needs is a touch-up. Some improvements will be of no benefit to the sale, nor to the value of your property, and a good agent will help you to decide which to do and which to leave.
Don’t let the grass grow under
Although it’s important not to rush in at the first sign of a sale, alternatively, it’s not wise to hang on for that ‘one last offer’. This could see you missing out on your best possible price, or, worse still, missing out on a sale altogether.
If you don’t feel confident in making the decision on your own, your agent will help you to weigh up all the offers so that you receive the best possible price under conditions that are suitable to you. Just remember that if your home is priced correctly then it should sell within the first few weeks of going on the market. The offers made within that time will give you a good indication of the price range you can expect.
Not everything is written in the stars!
The price you eventually receive for your property is not a certainty. Potential price will vary depending on how skilled your real estate agent is, and how committed they are to getting maximum value for you. Seeking out the right person for the job is up to you. Once you’ve taken this step the hard work is over. So how do you know when you’ve found the ‘right agent’? As mentioned throughout this booklet do your research – talk to past clients, particularly people who have sold in your area, compare sales made by different agents, and trust your instincts. Don’t be fooled by sweet talk. Make sure your decision to sign with an agent is backed up by hard evidence and testimonials.
Selling your home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. Find an agent you can rely on so that the dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare. After all, a real estate agent’s job is not just to sell your home. They should guide you through the entire experience with minimum stress and minimum cost to you. From setting a price, to advising you on how best to present your home, your agent should be there for you every step of the way.