How to Find the Best Real Estate Agent

A mate of mine who’s a real estate agent rang me from the pub this week: “Just made $18,000 commission, mate. Did the deal on the phone from the boozer.”

He was gently jibing me about my column last week, in which I questioned the commissions people are paying agents in a booming market.

Finding the best

Now I’m going to get myself even deeper in trouble with my mates – by telling you how to find the very best real estate agent to sell your property.

When it comes time to sell, most homeowners ring up a couple of local real estate agents and arrange a time for them to come over and give a valuation. Don’t do it – not yet anyway.

Most agents have spent many hours perfecting their listing pitch – they have all the right closing techniques designed to get you to sign on the dotted line. Keep them out of your home.

Instead, jump on the net and find a similar home to yours that’s for sale in your area. Ring the listing agent and inquire about buying the property. Do they answer your call? If not, do they ring back promptly? Are they enthusiastic about the home?

If they pass that test, go to one of their open-for-inspections. Are they on time? Do they take the time to get to know the prospective buyers, who will likely be the same people looking to buy yours, or do they hang out the front and chat to their mates on the mobile?

Stay on point

Once you’ve found the right real estate agent (and it may take a few shadow-shops), don’t let them talk you into paying for a costly marketing campaign. As I said last week, the industry secret is that it’s more about promoting the agent and the agency than the property.

Then finally, after they’ve told you how much they think they can sell your place for (and before they ask you to sign on), ask them: “If you make me lower my final price, do you agree to lower your final commission?”

Of course, my real estate mate back at the bar would say: “Yeah, but how many people are going to be bothered doing all that?”

Well, probably the person who understands that selling a home isn’t that hard, especially in a booming market. It’s worth spending a few hours researching before shelling out five figures to someone for a few weeks’ work!

I’ve got a feeling I’ll be drinking alone this week when my mates read this.