Choosing An Agent To Act For You

It’s impossible to overstate how important it is for anyone planning to employ an agent to sell his or her property to discover exactly what fees will be charged and for what reasons.

One agent may say, "I don’t charge for advertising". The next may offer an apparently low fee for advertising and add an "administration fee". It can become a bit of a cocktail, and in fact that’s a good way to look at it. You wouldn’t drink a cocktail handed to you by a stranger at a bar without asking what’s in it; when selling your most valuable assest, you certainly should ask what you will receive for your money.

There are many questions you can ask of an agent before you sign his or her contract of service. Here are a few that Strong Property agents regard as crucial - and will answer without hesitation or condescension.

Who’s paying for advertising and to what limit?

Exactly where and how often will advertising appear, and at what size? (An unprofessional agent may consider a 4x4 photograph in a back-street agency window as fulfilling any "advertising" agreement.)

Is there an administration fee, and if so exactly what does it cover? (Justifiable expenses would include photography, photocopying, website and database alterations and other similar work undertaken by office or sales staff.)

What is the total amount you’ll pay if there is a sale (ie, the commission plus advertising and administration)?

What is the amount payable if the property doesn’t sell?

Who is paying for search costs?

Is the agent paying the same advertising rates as he or she is charging you?

As the would-be vendor, you should have your own shopping list to be checked off as an agent "applies" for the "position vacant". The important thing to remember when engaging an agent to sell your property is that the cheapest is not necessarily the best (and you probably subconsciously know this, or you’d be selling your home yourself).

It’s rather unlikely that you’d automatically choose the cheapest obstetrician or wedding florist - you would look for the person who’d provide the best result for you. The same should apply to a property sale - the "best result" here is the best price earned for your home or unit, and the agent you employ to do that should be the person you believe has the best campaign strategy to do just that. So, be prepared for the possibility that you’ll pay a little above the cheapest rate up-front - and your pockets will be heavier on settlement day.