A Real Home Sellers Journey
We join Bianca and Christian as they head down the path of selling their home. Over the next 4 weeks we will follow them and share their experiences from deciding to sell, choosing an agent, preparing their home, marketing their home and hopefully selling it.
Here is part one that looks at the first steps to selling, why they decided to sell, how they determined the value and 9 important questions to ask when interviewing an agent...we hope you enjoy it.
Why sell, how much and who will sell it
A Roller Coaster of Emotions
For anyone who has ever been through the process of selling a house then you know what a roller coaster it can be. For those about to jump on the real estate ride we follow a couple that share their experiences from deciding to sell post auction.
If you are considering putting a property on the market it is a good idea, and a bit of fun, to visit properties open for inspection in your area. This not only gives you an idea of property values but a chance to listen to what buyers are asking agents. It is also an opportunity for you to ask an agent any questions that might be helpful to your own sale.
Bianca (41 years old) works in financial services and her husband Christian (36 years old) is in the IT industry. They are hoping to sell their house in Miranda in Sydney's Southern suburbs to assist with the development of a property in Gymea Bay.
There is an emotional attachment to the property as it is the one Bianca grew up in with her parents. 'I moved out in my 20’s and mum and dad continued to live there. I moved back in four or five years later for a short period before marrying Christian and moving to our own place,' said Bianca.
Although market conditions and interest rates are currently attractive for both buyers and sellers, they were not an influence on the reason to put the property on the market. Bianca now owns the apartment and has decided to sell simply due to the fact that it is the right time. 'The property is not suitable for my parents anymore as it's a forth floor apartment and there is no lift. We also need to raise the capital to develop our new place,' said Bianca.
To get an idea of the value of the property the couple looked at what had sold in the area over the past weeks. 'It's quite a unique property so it's difficult to do a direct comparison. We also looked at information from RP Data as to what had sold recently and also what prices other apartments in the building were attracting. With all that information we got a pretty good idea on the figure of the value of the property,' said Bianca.
'I had a valuer look at the place six to eight months ago for tax purposes so that was the only external input. With the market changing so rapidly, you can't rely on dated valuations,' said Bianca. Christian's father is the director of LJ Hooker Sutherland franchise and with many years of real estate experience he was also able to help with obtaining the property value.
The process of selecting an agent was pretty straightforward. 'There was no selection process involved. One of Christian's dads' agents is looking after the sale for us. She had sold a property previously for us so it just made sense to use her again. We know and trust her, which makes the whole procedure that much easier,' said Bianca.
For those not fortunate enough to have someone who knows the ins and outs of the real estate business, selecting an agent is an integral part of the selling process. The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) website explains that a property is generally the single largest asset someone has so it is important to deal with an agent you know you can trust. They suggest when choosing an agent to check whether they are a member of the respective Real Estate Institute in their state or territory as they are bound by strict codes of conduct.
9 Interview Questions to Ask an Agent
Here are 9 interview questions that may come in handy when talking to your Real Estate Agent
1. What have you sold recently?
This will enable you to not only see their success rate, but also the kinds of homes they're selling. For example, if you're selling your two bedroom house, you won't want an agent that has predominantly been selling units.
2. Do you have any references from previous clients?
A good real estate agent will happily provide you with a list of previous clients that you can speak with. If not, then you know that something might be amiss.
3. Can you show me your licence and registration?
Sounds like something an American cop would say in a tacky TV show right? Only ask this if you're unable to find their licence details online with your relevant state authority. All real estate agents must go through a stringent licensing process before they are legally allowed to practice - the penalties for working without one are worse than being caught operating a car without a drivers licence.
4. How would you sell my house and why?
There are several ways to sell a home, and all have their strengths and weaknesses depending on the local market. Asking this question is a good way to gauge the agent's knowledge of the property market, with your area in particular.
For example: "I would sell your home by auction, as figures from last week show that homes in your area sold with an 80 per cent success rate."
5. What advertising do you recommend?
Most of the time, the marketing of your home comes out of your pocket, so you want to be clear on what you're actually paying for. Discuss the different options available, how they would like to advertise your proprety and how much this will cost.
6. How much do you think my home is worth?
This is probably the question you're most interested in! Be wary of agents that give you an unrealistic price - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask what their opinion of market value is based on, as well as some examples of similar homes that have sold.
7. How long do you think it will be on the market?
This will give you an idea of the agent's expectations. You can compare it to the current average market time in your area to gain a better understanding.
8. What's your commission?
Find out how much the agent will charge you for their services, and then ask them to justify their fees - especially if they're more expensive than other agents. Remember that you're not looking for the cheapest, but the one who will offer you the most for their costs.
9. What makes you different?
With this question, you leave it to the agents to seal the deal and sell themselves. They'll be able to tell you why they're better than their competition, both as an agent and agency.