Which agent?

commissions & agency agreements

Which agent? 

Most people opt to use an agent and ,as a vendor, your relationship with your agent is an important one. Choose wisely. Listen to the agent’s advice, they know the local market and have a feel for comparative values. They don’t have the emotional prejudices that you have about your own home. A good agent can be invaluable, rather like a pro golfer relies on his caddie. But remember, it’s your responsibility in the end to decide how your home should be sold and for how much.  

Contacting local agents and asking them to appraise your house will give you a chance to appraise them. Interview at least three agents. They won’t charge for this service: it’s one of the ways they get more business. 

Ask them:

  • how long they’ve been in real estate?
  • how long they’ve been working in this area?
  • what they think the property is worth?
  • which houses they’ve sold in the area recently, and how much they fetched?
  • how you can improve the attractiveness and value of your property?
  • how they would promote and market your property?
  • what their fee structure is?
  • each to provide you with a detailed written proposal.

Make a mental note of whether they are pleasant and professional – will potential buyers warm to them? Do they listen to your questions and answer appropriately? If they say they’ll get back to you with some information, do they do it and in a reasonable time? 

Naturally you want to get as much as possible for your property, but don’t necessarily be tempted to go for the agent who gives you the highest estimate of the value of your home. If their estimate is much higher than the others, ask yourself if they may have inflated it simply to get your business, and will they be talking you into lowering your sights when the property fails to attract buyers. Go to the How's My Suburb Performing? section of Hometopia and add the Sales Price/CV Premium to your CV for a ballpark value for your home before you get an appraisal.

Commissions

The level of real estate agents' commissions vary according to the company and may be negotiable to some extent depending upon the local market and the desirability and expected sales price of your home. Around 3 - 4% of the total sale price is about average and most will charge a set administration fee as well, of around $500. All fees attract GST. 

You can check out the standard fees of some of the leading agencies here: Agency Fees.

One agency or many?

It can be tempting to list with numerous agencies, in the hope of reaching a wider cross-section of potential buyers. In general, though, you’re often better to choose a sole agency arrangement if one agent has particularly impressed you, because:

  • they have more incentive to work hard at selling your property, since their efforts aren’t in danger of lining another agent’s pockets
  • numerous agency signs outside your home make it look messy and bring an air of desperation to the proceedings.