Sell with Confidence
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By Michael McMahon

IT”S harder to sell a home in a softer property market which means the agent you choose

should have the skills to get results.

This is what you should look to find the best agent to sell your house in the current market.

1. Find an a gent you have already heard about. Your agent should be visible in the marketplace

and in your community and be known as a local expert running a successful business. Landmark

agencies usually have marketing programs in place to attract the most buyers in quieter markets. Go

with an agent who has successful experience of selling in quieter markets.

2. Go with an agent you genuinely like. Your agent should make an effort to get to know you,

understand your values and what you need to achieve from the sale in terms of price and timing and

what it means for your life and your family – not just get you signed up and do a hard sell.

3. Marketing is key in quiet markets. There are no longer plenty of buyers out there so your agent

has to have strong skills and work hard to get you a result. Watch out for agents who say you can

get a top result by cutting back on your marketing spend. In a quiet market you need to attract

every person who is vaguely interested in your home and that includes passive marketing such as

newspaper advertising and online campaigns.

4. Go with an agent who has a good track record of pricing accurately. Check out their track

record, looking at what they have sold, how long it was on the market and what they quoted it at.

Even a small mismatch on the price can mean your house stays longer on the market than you would


Make sure the agent has access to quality data from a reputable source and can explain how they

arrived at your price. Use online tools to check out similar homes to yours to get a feel for what is

realistic before your agent presents it to the market.

5.Go with an agent who will tell you what you need to hear – not what you want to hear:

The best agents will tell you the truth about the price – which might hurt – and the truth about time on

market. You need to be ready for that! The worst agents are quick to assure you before you list with

them that sure, they will get you the price you want even if it is not realistic. They will then call you a

couple of weeks later to tell you the market has suddenly “slowed” and they need to revise the price.

Use the “tell me about your failures” question to get a sanity check. If the agent tells you they haven’t

had any failures, ask yourself whether that is realistic.

6.The cheapest agent is the one who gets you the best price – not the cheapest commission. Like

in most elements of life you get what you pay for in real estate. A good agent should be able to justify

their commission level and show you why they are worth that amount. Billionaire property developer

Donald Trump says his recipe for success with agents is to pay them higher than standard rates to

motivate them to achieve top results. Consider negotiating a bonus if the agent gets above the price

you want and a baseline for the minimum price they quote. It will encourage them more than yelling at


7.Look for an agent with top negotiating skills. In a quieter market the skills of your agent to bring

buyers to a price you can accept are key. The way to test the agents negotiation skills are to consider

how he or she is handling you as a vendor – do you feel you are being managed firmly but fairly and

your agent is trustworthy and a great communicator who understands your needs and will fight in your

corner for that result? Or do you feel hectored and that they just want you to take the lowest price and

go away so they can sell something else.

8.Be a smart client. Most vendors worry agents are going to rip them off or charge them too much to

get a substandard result. This is understandable as your home is your most valuable asset and you

want to protect that investment and get the best for your family. But the only way to do that is to be a

smart client and base your decisions on knowledge, not fear. Do your own homework on the market.

Research properties similar to yours to find out what they are achieving at sale and check out those

that are on the market to see what your competition is like. Work together with your agent to market

the home to it’s best advantage, make sure they are in regular communication and listen to the advice

your agent gives you. Look for an agent that wants you to be as informed as you can – not keep you in

the dark.

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