Going to market with your property can be an emotional journey. That is one of a few reasons you would hire/contract a Real Estate Professional. It's not easy to listen to Buyer criticism of your home during presentation. Not to mention the negotiation of price, the legal and contractual concerns along with monitoring the finance of the Purchaser and dealing with issues during the course of meeting terms.

A Seller should consider the Real Estate Agent as a business partner. If you approach the process of selling your home with this in mind then you tend to listen more tenativly to the advice provided and begin to detach yourself of the event knowing that the agent will look after your needs and reach a comprise between Seller and Buyer.

Here are a few tips on how to interview and select the agent you would like to work with:
1. You have to like the person and be able to get along with them. Remember, this is a "business partner" whom you should be able to communicate with on both the good and the bad news. Work with someone who you feel you can trust.

2. Don't fall for the agent that gives you the largest evaluation on your property. There are agents out there that inflate their figures to attempt to sway you as the Seller to only work with them. The danger here is that Buyers are analysing markets and they are well aware what are considered "market related prices", so if you come in with an inflated figure on your property then you stand the risk of achieving a lower price than the correctly priced valuation. The reason for this is that your property would be marketed at the inflated price - which would steer off Buyers. This then means that your property will be Price-Counselled to a lower number to meet the Buyers perception. The extended time frame on the market makes the property appear as a "stale" or undesirable property and when a potential Buyer does take interest; they often put an offer well below the asking price.

3. Commission negotiation can be a difficult thing for you as a Seller to do with the agent; especially if negotiation is not your strength. Be cautious to settle for the agent whose commission immediately drops to the lowest possible commission. My reason for saying that is that if your prospective agent quickly drops to his lowest commission with little haggle
then imagine what would happen with the Buyer when an offer is presented. Remember, the agent that works for you should have negotiation skills and be able to achieve the best possible price for you, the Seller. Don't sacrifice your quality of service from your agent as it may affect you more by trying save money from agent commission versus what your final sale price of your property will be.

4. Don't be a billboard. There are Sellers that believe that if they hire more agents then they stand a better chance of reaching their price. This is false! Having more agents causes two specific problems for you as a Seller; A) you will more than likely have multiple boards in front of your property and as well as multiple advertising links on-line. This creates the
perception of "Seller Desperation" and Buyers would always put a lower offer than the desired number being marketed - even if the property is priced correctly. B) If multiple agents are assisting you in the sale of your property then it is not guaranteed that they are focusing all their effort on the property. The reality is; if you as a Seller are not willing to invest trust in your agent then why should the agent invest time and money into actively marketing your property with the chance of losing that time and money. Remember, the agent is a "business partner" and should be treated as such. Hiring one agent ensures accountability and you only need to communicate with one person.

5. Ending the partnership. Many Sellers think that if they agree and sign for a 6 month mandate that they are bound to that agent. Truth is this contract can be ended at any given time. The only requirement is the following; A) you as the Seller will need to give Written Notice to the agent/agency acting on your behalf; and B) there will be a 21 day period
after receipt of the Written Notification where the out-going agent may still take buyers through and close off the existing Buyers that he may have attracted to the property. It is advisable for the agent to submit you a list of clients that they have taken through your property in order for you to be judged Double Commission. This means that is the second agent hired sells the property to a Buyer and that same Buyer was introduced by
the First agent; then you stand at risk to be charged double commission. Always request the list of Buyers the first agent took through.

6. The agent should have a Fidelity Fund Certificate. This certificate allows an agent to trade in the industry of Real Estate and carries the proper accreditation and support. Each agent should carry a card indicating their valid registration and that they are compliant to the Estate Agency Affairs Board requirements. This licence is renewed every year, but only if
the agent is compliant. It is not advisable to work with an agent who is non-compliant as the person is attempting to complete a profession that they are not certified/accredited to do so.

This article was written by one of our very capable real estate team members, Marc Van Heerden. Marc can be contacted on 073 198 9369 for all your real estate requirements.