Going it alone and selling your property without an agent might seem like a great idea – their average commission is around $12,000, after all.
But there are good reasons to having one on board. Here are some of the key advantages of using an agent.
What’s your time worth? Consider that to sell a property effectively, someone needs to set up a marketing campaign, research and price the property, meet buyers at open for inspections, follow those buyers up, and then go through the process of actually selling it.
Clearly, you’re looking at a significant time investment. An agent does that heavy lifting for you.
They say you can’t buy experience, but in actual fact you can: your agent’s.
Buyer’s advocate and former agent Luke Assigal, from Parley Property Advisory, says that as a vendor you’re paying for an agent’s expertise and intimate knowledge of their local property market.
“You use an agent purely because they’re experienced and have knowledge in the area. A good agent will sit down with you and tell you how your property should be presented and advise on the best marketing campaign,” Assigal says, adding that every sale or negotiation is different, and an agent can guide you through the pitfalls.
Assigal says one of the biggest advantages of using an agent is that it’s their job to be available at the times most buyers want, which is almost certain to be more often than you are. Your lack of availability is likely to turn some buyers off, as well as ensuring you’ll have less people through the property than if you let an agent handle it.
“I went through a property on the weekend. When I looked at it online, straight away I could see there was no vendor or agent on it, so I actually had to call the number on the screen, which went to a pre-recorded message,” Assigal says.
“I put the property ID in there and then they released to me the vendor’s direct number. I called the vendor direct and couldn’t get through the property for a week. So it was very restrictive, and if you want to sell the property you need to show as many people through as possible.”
There’s no point in saving $10,000 in agent commissions but lose five to 10 times that amount because you don’t know the true value of your own home.
Assigal says vendors who sell their property themselves are often caught short.
“They’re trying to save some money, so they’ll save the commission but they’ll lose $50,000 in the process,” he says.
“Pricing properties is an art. Price it too low and you’ll get too many buyers and they’ll be annoyed. Price it too high and you’ll get no buyers, so you need to price it effectively.”
How do you sort out the genuine buyers from the time wasters? Agents know the telltale signs.
“When you get a buyer through, there’s a list of questions and a process you’ll go through with that buyer to see if they’re interested in the property. One: are they financed – are they actually worth talking to? Two: what are they interested in and what do they like about the property,” Assigal says.
“The agent gives that information back to the vendor, so the vendor can take that on board.”
Don’t underestimate the power of marketing in real estate. A well presented and well promoted property has considerably more chance of achieving a great price than a home that’s relying on buyers stumbling across it.
“Agents give you access to their network. An active agent will have a network of buyers they can potentially put in the property,” Assigal says.
“Because the market is going silly at the moment, if you can access a pool of 2000 more buyers by marketing it effectively, that might give you two more buyers at auction, who might pay 15 per cent more, and hey, you’ve just gone over the reserve.”
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