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.