Choosing the right real estate agent to sell your home is a personal decision – and one that can have very significant financial consequences.

Before you trust the marketing and sale of your valuable investment to just any real estate agent, here are some important questions to ask:

1. Will I be working exclusively with you, or do you hand some aspects of the process to someone else in your office?

It’s rare for an agent to do everything themselves so their answer to this does not need to be seen as an automatically negative thing. It is important, though, to know the extent of what their role entails and the details of any administrative assistants you may be dealing with more. This question is also an important test of their specific skills and expertise – are they actively involved in marketing, negotiating, networking, qualifying buyers, etc? Or are they just the person who turns up and handles the auction?

2. Do you work full-time or part-time as a real estate agent?

Straightforward but important, Is their time and energy focused on you and your needs as a vendor? Or is their attention split by part-time study or another business?

3. How many homes have you sold in my neighbourhood?

Some real estate agents are local experts because they are bound by contract agreement that prohibit them selling in certain suburbs – others are free to do business anywhere. It’s smart to ascertain your real estate agent’s knowledge of the local market to ensure they give you a realistic appraisal of what other homes in the area are selling for and how yours compares. Agents with strong local contacts may have a great database of interested investors keen to buy in the area and this could help drive competition for your property.

4. How many other vendors are you currently representing in the area?

Of course your agent is not only working for you but it is important to know how many other vendors they are working with at the one time – and how similar those properties are to the one you’re putting on the market.

5. Can you give me contact details for any previous clients whose homes you’ve sold?

An adherence to privacy laws will, no doubt, prevent them from handing out all the numbers of their previous vendors but they may have spoken to a couple who are happy to share testimonials and will not mind putting you in touch. Check their personal LinkedIn profile online for any recommendations and references and also Google their name to check for any negative press about bad dealings in the past.

6. Are your fees negotiable?

If their answer is ‘no’ – walk away. All real estate agents should be willing to negotiate. Some offer a flat fee and some offer a percentage of the sale price. Some offer one rate if they achieve within a certain price range, and another if they secure you a higher price. Do your research on recent sales of comparable properties in the area before committing to a incentive-driven rate. The price might be easily achievable through no extra effort of their own and you are committing to giving away a greater percentage simply for them doing the basics of their job.

7. What price do you think my property will attract in the current market – and why?

Their answer to this question will show you their understanding of the local market and this thought process can make or break your best possible outcome.

An experienced real estate agent will refer to recent sales data, look at the current pool of homes that compare to yours, as well as factor in your home’s condition, before answering. If they are relying solely on some computer-generated calculator of potential value – choose another agent.

8. What is your marketing plan for my property?Agents have differing opinions on this but the ones who want to convince you to spend thousands of dollars in advertising for local print media are often only doing so to help advertise their own business and attract their next vendors. These days, smart campaigns can be run almost exclusively online, with access to a strong network of interested buyers an added goldmine that can bring qualified buyers to your property. Ask to see recent marketing for other comparable properties and check the quality of video and photos, as these will help sell your property too.

If you’re in the market to purchase a new property and want to find the best mortgage to suit your needs, talk to the home loan experts in Melbourne, Lending Specialists today.

Refinancing your current mortgage can be a strategic way to take your investment goals further – making funds available for other investment opportunities, or to add value to your existing property.
Here are 6 reasons why refinancing your mortgage can help you build wealth:

1. Shorten the term of your home loan

That 30-year mortgage might have been your only option at the time you secured your finance but if you are at least a couple of years into your repayments and have been building equity in your property, negotiating a better deal to trim years off your loan could save you many thousands of dollars.

While interest rates are low, you might discover that the repayments on a 15-year mortgage are within your budget. If you can afford to pay your loan faster, it makes great financial sense.

Take the first step by entering your financial information into an online mortgage calculator. If the figures show that the new payment estimation is possible, talk to your mortgage broker to check the facts and confirm whether bigger repayments over a shorter time-frame are within your reach. By locking down a new loan repayment schedule you’ll be debt-free faster than you imagined was possible.

2. Reduce your interest rate

Interest rates are currently very low and if your home loan was taken out several years ago, you might find that refinancing at a new rate can save you lots of money. Sometimes, you don’t even need to go through the process of re-applying with a new lender. Do some online research to see the best deals that are out there and compare that to what you’re currently getting. Next, ring your lender and tell them about the interest rate you’ve seen at another institution. Sometimes, the threat of taking your mortgage elsewhere is enough for them to offer to match that rate on the spot. To get the best results, engage a mortgage broking specialist to do the negotiation for you. Chances are, a better loan really is out there with another lender. Your mortgage broker can help you file paperwork for a new mortgage that can trim years off your repayments and save you tens of thousands of dollars too.

3. Refinance to switch from a variable rate to a fixed-rate

Making the switch from variable to fixed rate mortgage can be a genuine benefit – especially when interest rates are low. With a fixed rate mortgage in place, budgeting is easier and enables you to plan clearly for future repayments.

4. Refinance to access investment-building equity

Whether you’re starting a new business or adding to your investment property portfolio, refinancing to access equity in your current property can be a smart way to find funds. Talk to your accountant or your financial planner, as well as your mortgage broker, to make sure that refinancing for this purpose is something you can afford – and sustain. If you’re not good with money, adding more debt to your home loan can create a lot of future stress so make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and that you understand the implications.

5. Refinance To Clear Debts

Refinancing to clear debts is something you should not go into lightly. If the debt is credit card-related, make sure you have a plan – and that you get professional advice from financial professionals.

Adding tens of thousands of dollars to your home loan may seem like a smart way to reduce the overblown interest rates most credit cards offer but if you do not have a strategy to reduce further credit card spending, you will end up in the same trouble with your credit card debt – and have higher repayments on your mortgage to deal with as well.

6. Refinancing To Add Value to Your Property

Accessing cash equity in your property for the purposes of renovating and improving the value of the property can be a smart move – with the right advice. If you’re planning a major renovation, it’s important to understand your intention. If you plan to renovate and sell – talk to a property valuer or local real estate agent to ensure you don’t over-capitalise and invest too much money into a home that won’t get you the return you need. If your renovation plans are more about enhancing your own enjoyment of your property, the decision is more emotional but it is still sensible to be realistic and look at other renovations in the area. You may not want to sell now but who knows what the future will bring? By getting your renovation right now, you can help protect your financial future.

Refinancing does not make sense if:

Building Wealth Requires Planning
With appropriate research, refinancing your property could be one of the best financial decisions you’ve ever made. Of course, all financial decisions should be entered into with care. If in doubt, talk to financial professionals who can give you the right advice to help you weigh up all the pros and cons of your individual situation.


For more information about refinancing your property, talk to your specialist mortgage brokers in Melbourne, Lending Specialists, today.