How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

Gary Pittard – Pittard Training

Lisa: Today’s industry expert is Gary Pittard. Gary owns Pittard Training Group and he trains thousands of real estate agents on the best practice way to sell and list property: the best way for the vendor (the seller); the best way for the buyer; and the best way for the real estate office. Gary knows a lot of real estate agents and knows inside real estate. He will be able to help you with the top ten tips on how to look for the best real estate agent for you. So I am really looking forward to what Gary has to say today.

Gary: Ten things to consider when choosing a real estate agent. Tip number 1 is to think carefully about your reason for selling! You might think that this has nothing to do with selecting a real estate agent, but your chance of a successful sale, with a result that you are happy with, depends very much on the reason why you want to sell. Human beings are goal oriented creatures. So if we put our property on the market with such ideas like “Oh, if I get my price I’ll sell” you will probably end up with a frustrating experience. Without a clear goal, you are wasting your time and your emotional energy and also a lot of money as well. So the best question you should ask yourself before you put your property on the market is “How will your life improve as a result of this move?” If you can’t discern any improvement, then don’t move; stay where you are.

Tip number 2 is to insist on a guarantee. I mean an iron clad guarantee that binds the agent to give you an honest opinion of your property’s value. Now, the guarantee that the agents I train are happy to sign says that if the property sells below the agent’s figure at the time of quoting for the listing, then the agent will not be paid a commission. Shouldn’t all agents be willing to sign such a guarantee?

Tip number 3 is find an agent you feel comfortable with. You are going to be working with the person that you choose to be your agent for the time it takes to sell your property. So, you need to find someone that you feel comfortable with and someone that you can talk openly with.

Tip number 4 is don’t agree to pay advertising costs. You’d be forgiven to think that some real estate agents are advertising agents by the way that they act. Agents who are asking you for a large up-front payment are actually asking you for money to increase their agency’s profile. Don’t pay to advertise somebody else’s business; if they can’t find you a buyer in a cost effective manner, then go and find an agent who can.

Tip number 5 is be reasonable about advertising. Now fairness is important in any business arrangement. Just because I advise you not to pay the agent’s advertising costs, this doesn’t mean that you should place unreasonable demands on the agent for costly advertising campaigns for weak or impotent media. These days agents who have a good database on their website and are active sales agents who have plenty of signage in the area should be able to find plenty of buyers in your area.

Tip number 6 is choose skill, not opinions. Unless an agent is willing to buy your property, his or her opinion of the value of your property is totally irrelevant. Choose an agent who has undergone and continues to undergo intensive training in negotiating and marketing. Ask to see evidence of the seminars that the agent you choose has recently attended. A good agent knows how to market your property and negotiate the highest price for their home owners. Make sure you get one who’s well trained.

Tip number 7 is choose skill, not the cheapest. If you choose an agent based on who quotes you the highest price or who offers to charge you the lowest fee, you are going to certainly choose the lowest skilled agent. Think about it – if they can’t negotiate a fair fee for themselves, how are they going to be able to negotiate a high price for you?

Tip number 8 is choose an agent who has buyers waiting. The best agents have a list of buyers that contact their agency and they follow up those buyers on a regular basis. You don’t need expensive marketing campaigns if your agent keeps in touch with active buyers who are looking to buy in your area.

Tip number 9 is list exclusively. Pick an agent that you feel will do a good job for you and allow that agent to work for you on an exclusive basis. If you spread your property among several agents, none of them will be interested in you; furthermore no agent will have the luxury of holding out to get the highest price for you. It will become a matter of getting the property sold quickly, rather than getting it sold at the highest price, and certainly if you want the highest price you need somebody working for you, exclusively.

Tip number 10 is quote the price you want or higher. Never allow an agent to quote a price that is less than you are willing to accept. Some agents use a strategy called bait pricing, which they argue brings in more enquiries from prospective purchasers. Now of course what they don’t tell you is that this dodgy trick attracts buyers from a lower price bracket, who therefore make lower offers. I’m sure you’d agree with me if I say to you if you want to sell a property for say $2m, you need a buyer who can pay $2m, don’t you? If an agent suggests lowering your price to attract more buyers, you should not under any circumstance sign with that agent.

So there you are – ten things to consider when choosing a real estate agent. I do hope you find these suggestions helpful and good luck with your sale.

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