Choosing The Best Agent - September 2022
September 26, 2022 / Written by Rich Harvey
By Guest Blogger, Leanne Pilkington, CEO,
Laing & Simmons and Immediate Past President REINSW
Laing+Simmons CEO Leanne Pilkington this month considers the factors which go into the all-important decision for vendors: which agent to choose.
Selecting the right agent comes down to a number of factors, an important one of which is comfort. Your home is typically your most valuable asset, often there are deep emotional ties as well as the financial ones, so it makes sense to listen to your gut when deciding which agent to work with.
That said, there are some criteria that agents should be able to satisfy. They should be armed with accurate market data, current and qualified, specific to your suburb and your property type.
They should be confident, but that confidence must be justified. It should come from a place of knowledge and experience. In presenting their service to you, an agent should be clear on their reasoning for suggesting a particular strategy and be able to articulate why that strategy will work.
So ask them to detail that strategy. Ask them, should it hypothetically prove unsuccessful, what their plan B and plan C is. Have them explain what their points of difference are. This conversation is all part of getting to know the agent, but you’re also getting to know how they work. Meet with at least three agents for comparison purposes.
The best agents will pride themselves on open, transparent communication and keeping their customers informed throughout the entire journey. But communication is a two-way street and it helps if vendors are clear with agents on the way they preferred to be communicated with.
Regular check-ins, weekly updates, phone calls, texts, emails and so on. At what frequency and on what channel do you want your agent to update you? Let them know.
Once you’ve narrowed down your agent choices, there’s some further research you can do.
It’s rarely done, but it’s worth speaking to a couple of the agent’s recent customers. If the agent is unwilling to offer these contacts, it may be a red flag. Perhaps the agent is concerned those customers won’t speak highly of the service.
Irrespective of the wider reputation of agents in general, the best agents are willing to be judged on their merits.
If you do speak to some of the agent’s recent customers, there are some other additional questions you can ask. How did you find their negotiation technique? Did the price they quoted you turn out to be reasonable? Did the campaign go as planned and if not, were they up front as to why?
Then there’s cost. It’s obviously a major consideration in agent selection, but cheaper doesn’t equal better. Quite the opposite in most cases, in fact. Vendors are free to try to negotiate commission with agents but the best agents are typically firm on their commission because they believe in themselves, their team and their strategy.
Listen to the agent’s strategy, ask them to justify their commission, and then consider if you believe it represents value.
Same goes with marketing and advertising. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to how much you should spend on marketing and again, it comes down the agent’s strategy. In asking an agent to qualify why they think their strategy is best, ask them to detail why the proposed marketing and advertising plan is the best way to go. The best agents have clear reasons for their recommendations.
Like advertising and marketing, an investment in styling your home as part of the sales campaign is something your agent should have considered.
While some homes will benefit from setting a lifestyle vision, others might better be marketed as a blank canvas. But generally speaking, it’s a trend that’s on the increase. In recent times, beautifully-styled homes do tend to sell faster and for more, but it all comes down to you, your property, your needs and whether your agent’s strategy is the right one.
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