Choosing A Real Estate Agent

Choosing a real estate agent can be a tricky mission, but firstly, a real estate agent should be professional and knowledgeable at all times, experienced, helpful and open when discussing costs. When we say 'best' real estate agent, we mean the best for you. There is no concrete criteria that makes individual agents better than one another. A real estate agent should meet the needs of the individual. As we are unable to asses your personal circumstances or preferences, you will need to decide what 'best for you' means. It may be worth talking to an independent advisor or other 3rd party if you want more information. This article contains only general information.

Before dealing with real estate agencies, check to see if they are members of their state or territory’s Real Estate Institute. The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is the national professional association for the real estate industry in Australia, and has subsidiary Real Estate Institutes in each state and territory.

Selling A Property

Real estate agents will fall over themselves to get your business when you decide to sell a property. This is where their main wealth comes from and they will offer incentive after incentive to tempt you. So, where do you start?

Don't assume that the agent giving you the highest selling price is the one to trust. Remember, each agent you approach is in competition with every other agent in the area. If someone else offers you a better quote, they know they stand to lose your business. The more real estate agents in an area, the higher, and possibly unrealistic, the quoted price will be.

Instead of demanding a potentially inflated quote, ask them what they will do to sell your house and get the highest possible price. Interview them and don't be afraid to ask how long they have been a real estate agent, how long in this particular area, how many houses they have sold for what prices. Demand progress reports and make sure they are willing to do everything they can to sell your house for you.

Compare costs. Most agents still get paid by taking a percentage of the sale in commission and differences in these percentages can be substantial. A growing number of agents are now offering flat-fee selling and could be worth considering.

It's simple: if you like and respect your agent, and they like and respect you, they will do their job and sell the house for the highest price they can. They should be well-presented, a good communicator and skilled in negotiations. Remember, if you don't like them then other people probably won't either.

Buying A Property

Real estate agents may be employed by the seller to sell their property, but always remember that, as a buyer, you also deserve respect and consideration.

An agent should be willing to offer guidance and information. They should be knowledgeable regarding the area you are looking at buying into and the type of property you require. Agents should always be prepared to forward any reasonable offer you make to the buyer.

Renting Out An Investment Property

When selecting a real estate agent to manage your investment property, it is essential that they are professionally trained and competent. They will be looking after one of the most expensive things you will ever own so, if in doubt, keep looking.

Make sure they are clear on all legal aspects of property management, and are confident they can apply them. Ongoing education is essential as changes to legislation are made regularly.

Again, don't be afraid to ask questions, such as:

  • How long have they been managing properties?
  • How many properties do they currently manage?
  • Have they had formal training and do they engage in ongoing training?

Reassure yourself that the real estate agency acts in a professional manner when showing potential tenants around your property, collecting rent and remitting the rent payments back to you.

It's important to remember that if your property manager likes your house, they will try harder to sell it, resulting in maximised profits for you.

Renting As A Tenant

To the average tenant it seems like real estate agents are in business to help everyone except them. Don't fall into this trap. Real estate agents are legally bound to protect not just the landlord, but the tenant as well.

When selecting an agent to rent from, make sure they are aware of all their legal responsibilities, such as notice periods when entering the premises, collecting rent, supplying emergency telephone numbers and maintenance issues. The agent should be diligent in ensuring the property is a safe and healthy place to live and should be willing to undertake any maintenance necessary without delay.

Your relationship with your letting agent is based on mutual trust and respect. There is a lot of competition around for good tenants so if your agent does not seem professional, don't do business with them.

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