How to choose a real estate agent
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How to choose a real estate agent

When it comes to selling your home, selecting the right real estate agent is a critical decision that can influence the financial outcome by tens of thousands of dollars. 

Your home is likely your largest financial asset and selling it at the right price is crucial. Additionally, the agent you choose to work with will determine how positive your experience is in terms of stress, communication, and time invested. A good real estate agent will give you an advantage in marketing your home and will help to ensure you get the best price possible. 

In this article, we outline the core factors to look for in a real estate agent and how to know when to look elsewhere. Before taking on this major financial step, here’s what you need to know: 

What does a real estate agent do?

Anyone can legally sell a property, so what is the role of a real estate agent? In short, they are trained to assist people with the process of buying, selling, and renting properties. An agent’s main duties include the following: 
  • Handling documentation
  • Networking with buyers
  • Conducting market research
  • Organising property viewings
  • Advertising properties

Not every professional that sells houses from a recognisable company is a licensed real estate agent. So what’s the difference?

Real estate salesperson

This person works for a real estate company but isn’t a licensed real estate agent. They can carry out real estate work for or on behalf of a licensed agent but they need to be supervised by an agent or branch manager. A real estate salesperson is still licensed by the Real Estate Authority.

Real estate branch manager

At this level, if licensed, this person can supervise salespeople but they are still carrying out real estate work for or on behalf of a licensed agent.

Real estate agent

This is what many people say when they think of someone that can sell houses, even though you don’t need to be an agent to do so. An agent can perform all of the roles of a salesperson and branch manager but doesn’t need anyone’s supervision to do so. This level of licence also enables the person to hire salespeople to work for them.

You can find out more about real estate licences and their responsibilities on the Real Estate Authority's website.

Choosing a real estate agent or salesperson

While all real estate salespeople are licensed under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008, they are not all equal in their approach to helping you buy or sell your property.

Wherever possible, you should speak with a potential agent or salesperson about their methods first. We also recommend attending open homes in the area to see how your local representatives operate and decide if their methods are right for you. Before settling on a real estate professional, consider these 6 key factors: 

1. Interpersonal skills

When choosing between potential salespeople or agents, take note of how they interact with people. Yours will be communicating with a diverse range of buyers so they should have the skills to effectively connect with people professionally. 

Take the time to consider how they communicate with you and how punctual they are. These attributes go a long way in real estate, especially when dealing with high-pressure decisions. Not only will this make your experience easier but it will also attract prospective buyers. The more personable and approachable your representative is, the more likely buyers will be to reach out. 

2. Sales record

Even if an agent has a strong presence in your suburb, you need to examine their actual sales record too. Take a look at the number of properties they have sold, as well as the selling price for each of these homes. Ideally, they should be able to prove their experience working in challenging selling markets, selling properties similar to yours, and properties in your local area. 

3. Market knowledge 

Before hiring a real estate agent, check that they have proven knowledge of your local market. This means they will understand the nuances of the area, including market trends, neighbourhood features, and buyers' preferences. 

Additionally, local agents typically have a better understanding of the laws and regulations that govern real estate transactions in the area. This helps ensure the sale proceeds smoothly and efficiently.

4. Networks and databases

An experienced real estate salesperson should be equipped with an extensive database of active buyers who are eager to buy in your area. That way, they can contact buyers directly to promote your property, saving both time and resources.  

For example, at McDonald Real Estate, we have dozens of active buyers looking for properties in Taranaki. That way, when a seller approaches us, we can quickly find a list of interested buyers.

5. Property marketing packages

When deciding which person to choose, consider how they advertise properties and attract buyers’ attention. For example, some real estate sales specialists offer marketing packages to help promote and sell your property. These typically include a range of services and tools that help to attract potential buyers, generate interest in the property, and ultimately lead to a successful sale.

Marketing packages can include high-quality photos and videos of the property, listings on multiple online platforms, and promoting the property through social media channels and targeted marketing campaigns. Some agents also use virtual tours or 3D modelling software to allow potential buyers to get a better sense of the layout and flow of the property. 

At McDonald Real Estate, alongside our standard marketing packages, we also have the resources to promote your property to our wider database through our marketing emails and on our social media channels. This provides exposure to a much wider audience and helps to generate more interest in your property.

6. Real estate agent fees

Salespeople are usually paid through a commission which is a percentage of the final sale price of the property. The amount an agent charges will vary depending on the type of property and their experience, but this generally falls between 3.5 and 4 per cent for the first $350,000. For any amount above that, the percentage tends to be slightly lower, ranging between 2 and 2.5 per cent.

While it may be tempting to choose a person that charges lower rates, be careful to consider the value they bring above anything else. By paying for a quality salesperson, you may see value from the relationship and the sale price will likely be higher.

What to ask a real estate agent?

When interviewing a potential sales representative, start by asking the following questions: 
  • What is your sales record?
  • Are you licensed?
  • How have your listings performed in the past 6 months?
  • Have you sold many homes in my area? 
  • How well do you know my area?
  • How many days were your recent listings on the market?
  • How would you describe my property to buyers? 
  • How will you market my home?
  • What costs should I anticipate?
  • What sets you apart from your competitors? 

It is also worth checking any reviews or references about that particular salesperson. For each of the McDonald Real Estate team, you can see recent testimonials on their website pages. If possible, get recommendations from your friends and family and request to speak with the salesperson’s current clients. 

Why choose McDonald Real Estate?

If you are based in Taranaki and need a reliable real estate salesperson, the team at McDonald Real Estate is here to help. We’re dedicated to providing a seamless experience for our clients, drawing on our many years of experience in the local market. 

The key advantages of working with us include:
  • Free valuations.
  • A vast network of buyers and agents.
  • Effective marketing packages.
  • Community values.
  • 8 convenient offices around the Taranaki region.
  • 110+ years of local experience.

If you want to know how much your property is worth in the current market, simply schedule a free, no-obligation appraisal with us. We’ll draw on our expertise to provide you with an accurate valuation and share personalised advice for your situation. Get in touch with us today. 

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