1. How many years of experience do you have as an agent?
Keep an open mind. While an experienced agent will have honed their negotiating skills and know how to read people and situations, a newer agent may use their energy and enthusiasm to work harder to achieve your ideal outcome.
2. What makes you different from other agents in the area, according to your previous clients?
Hearing what previous clients say about an agent can help you decide what qualities you’re looking for in yours. Perhaps you want someone who ‘goes the extra mile to make the process easier’ or ‘communicates more clearly and more often than others’.
3. What’s the current atmosphere in the market for properties like mine?
Asking this questions will reveal an agent’s understanding of the market and will show that you’re a savvy seller. An agent should be able to tell you how many people are showing up to open houses compared to this time last year, what the current auction clearance rate is and how long properties are on the market before being sold.
4. Over the last six months, what properties have you sold that are similar to mine?
Talk to them about their recent sales to see what they’ve learned about buyers in your market. They may also have suitable people in mind who recently missed out on a similar property. Before you shortlist your agents, it’s worth using ratemyagent.com.au to see their sales record.
5. In terms of sale process, do you recommend fixed price, auction, negotiation or private tender and why?
An agent should be able to explain why a certain method is the best one to follow to achieve your sale price. This should be based on your objectives and what has proven to work well for your type of property.
6. What would you highlight to potential buyers about my house? (Also: what is the 30-second pitch for my house?)
Agents will have the chance to tell many different people about your property. You want to hear how they’d convey the selling points to them. Imagine you’re a prospective buyer when you hear the agent’s answer: if you’re sold, others probably will be too.
7. What marketing plan do you propose? In Australia, agents often come to an interview with a marketing plan proposal. Compare these plans and their associated costs to see what agent will attract the right buyers and give you the best value.
8. How long do you think my property will be on the market before we get suitable offers?
The best time to sell your property is usually within the first few weeks on the market, when it’s still ‘new’ to prospective buyers. When it’s on the market for many months, they may start to think something’s wrong with it. You want to know that your agent is confident in and committed to getting the right result as fast as possible.
9. Using your proposed sales method and marketing plan, what sale price is achievable?
We recommend that you ask this question towards the end of your interview. This gives you the chance to understand how your agent came up with the figure they quote you, i.e. are they informed by their proven expertise or are they quoting a fantastic price but unachievable price to win your business?
10. What commission do you charge?
It’s important to go with the best real estate agent for you, not necessarily the one with the least commission. Look at the high-end and low-end estimates: you’ll see that the difference in price outweighs differences between commission structures. A great agent will be able to justify their higher price and have a track record of delivering top sales for their clients.