Buying or Selling: 10 Essential Questions to Ask Your Agent

Blog Template_Buying or Selling 10 Essential Questions to Ask Your Agent

Selling or buying a property, whether it’s your own home or an investment, can be an exciting but also a nerve-racking time.

The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. A real estate agent can be your best guide and partner throughout this process. They can advise you on market conditions and indicate whether you are receiving or paying a fair price.

It is important to be proactive by asking your agent the right questions. We’ve listed the essential ones below that can help lead to a successful sale or purchase.

Before buying, you should ask:

You are likely going to have a lot of questions about a home you are contemplating buying. This includes finding out about the seller’s motivations and the overall condition of the property. Let’s look at the key ones:

1. What is the history of this property?

You may worry about prying, but most people want to know a little history about the property they are looking to buy. One of the first questions to ask is why the vendor is selling their home. This isn’t about being nosey as this information can be helpful when negotiating a private treaty sale.

It can give you an insight into the mindset seller and workout strategy when submitting your best offer. For example, if they have already bought a new house and are in a hurry to sell, they may be more willing to accept a lower price. Perhaps the property is being sold due to an interstate transfer, a divorce, or the need to downsize.

Ask about the age of the property and any previous ownership changes. A home that has been owned by the same vendor for years is positive as it means they have enjoyed living there – and hopefully, you will, too. Be sure to check about any incidents such as fires or floods that could cause underlying damage.

2. Can you provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) for this area?

Requesting data on recent sales of comparable properties can help to determine if the asking price is reasonable.

A good agent will already know what other homes in your suburb have fetched. So, start by asking if there have been any similar properties that have sold recently. There is no point in comparing the price achieved for a double-storey home with a pool if you are looking to buy a single-level villa with a courtyard. So make sure they are ‘comparative sales’ results.

Your agent should be able to tell you about pricing trends and any peak periods to go to market.

3. What are the zoning regulations of this area?

A local agent can be a wealth of information as they have insights about what is happening in your suburb. These include demographics, pricing, population growth rate and local trends.

Importantly, you need to understand what you can and cannot do with the property – so ask about zoning regulations. This is crucial if you plan to make modifications or use it for specific purposes.

4. Are there any pending legal or financial issues with this property?

Enquire about any disputes or any other encumbrances that might affect the ownership of a property.

If you’re looking to buy an apartment, it is essential to ask for the strata report as it may raise red flags such as potentially costly building defects. It will also provide important details such as the finances of the strata, building insurance and any planned works.

5. What is the energy efficiency rating of this home?

Understanding a home’s environmental impact can help to estimate future utility costs – so this is an important question to ask the selling agent.

The Australian Government is working with State and Territory Governments to develop energy performance assessments for existing homes. This is known as the NatHERS – Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme.

In the meantime, be sure to check if the property is fitted with solar panels, proper insulation, and LED light bulbs which can make a huge difference to your electricity bill.

Before selling, you should ask:

If you are selling, asking questions will help you understand how the agent operates, how your property should be sold, and the costs of the transaction.

1. What specific marketing strategies do you recommend for my property?

Your real estate agent should have a comprehensive marketing plan with Internet, social media, signboards, local marketing, and newspaper advertising to promote your property. Other elements could include professional photography, copywriting, real estate portals, and even a personalised website for your property. The right approach with a combination of elements can ensure your home obtains maximum exposure and the best possible price. Promoting your property is an essential part of achieving a successful sale.  LJ Hooker are experts when it comes to marketing properties – you can find out more information here.

2. Can you show me a timeline of the selling process?

Market conditions and where you live will determine whether it will take a few weeks or even a few months to sell your home. It is important to set realistic expectations, so be sure to ask your agent about the anticipated timeline.

Follow this up by checking on what the current ‘days on the market’ are in your area. This can also help you to plan your next move.

Your agent will suggest whether you should be selling by auction, private treaty, or another option. Remember each method has its advantages and possible drawbacks. Whatever the answer, be assured your agent wants you to achieve the best possible outcome.

3. What improvement would increase the value of my home the most?

Don’t splash out on a brand-new kitchen or bathroom if it will not boost your sale price. Ask real estate agent about any upgrades you should be considering – after all, they have first-hand insight into what buyers are looking for in your area. When renovating for sale, play it safe and opt for changes that will maximise appeal.

It is likely your agent will also suggest using a professional home stylist to make sure your home stands out from the competition. Remember you don’t need to make over every room just the key selling areas such as the kitchen, lounge and master bedroom.

4. What are the potential challenges in selling my property?

While you can’t change your block size or location, you can make changes to improve the street appeal and make any necessary repairs.

Your agent will highlight any areas of concern and possible solutions. For instance, if your interior is dark, it may be worthwhile painting the walls white and adding a skylight. If the garden is over-run with weeds, it may be as simple as getting out the lawn mower.

When your home is in tip-top shape you will be able to command a higher sales price. So, make any repairs before going to market to avoid any hiccups on settlement.

5. How do you handle multiple offers?

It’s essential to know the agent’s strategy for dealing with competitive bidding situations to ensure you get the best deal. You should be kept informed of all offers.

Let your agent knows of your preferred method of communication - whether text, phone call or email so you can respond quickly.

Selling via private treaty can be a real test of your negotiation skills. Check out these tips and tricks for a successful sale.

If you’re ready to find out what your home is worth, contact us for a free expert property appraisal here to get a better understanding of where your house stands in the current market today. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to one of our real estate agents, we invite you to use our agent locator to find an LJ Hooker expert in your local area.

DISCLAIMER - The information provided is for guidance and informational purposes only and does not replace independent business, legal and financial advice which we strongly recommend. Whilst the information is considered true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided. LJ Hooker will not accept responsibility or liability for any reliance on the blog information, including but not limited to, the accuracy, currency or completeness of any information or links.

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