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Questions you need to ask your real estate agent

Questions to ask your real estate agent

Past experience

It’s an assumption we make on many things in day-to-day life: Past performance is the best predictor of future behaviour. We believe this of our employees, spouses, family members and even corporate brands. The same applies to agents. Someone who has been in the industry for ten years and only has a couple dozen sales is not nearly as active or successful as someone who has hundreds of campaigns under their belt. It is important to ask what experience your agent has in dealing with properties similar to your own, those who have good experience with similar properties would have built a good database of people looking for properties like your own and know how to best present your home on the market to appeal to those key buyers.


Someone who says they specialise in properties like yours doesn't mean anything if they don't have case studies or proof of their success with them. Ultimately you need to decide after talking with them if they are confident in what they are talking about and you feel they have the right experience in dealing with a property like yours, if you are unsure about someone, ask for some testimonials from past clients.


Most agents have these availiable for potential new clients to read through, what better way to get an idea of what an agent is like than seeing what people who have dealt with them think!







Knowledge of the market

You’ll likely listen to multiple presentations before choosing a real estate agent, and if they’re all good – how will you know who to choose? Market knowledge can be a great indicator of how well prepared someone is to handle the sale of your home.


An understanding and awareness of houses for sale in your area can often make up for a lack of a track record. Every agent starts somewhere. If you’re talking to someone who has only been in the industry for a few months, their dedication to understanding and interpreting local sales stats and market conditions could be a good barometer of their overall skill.


Fortunately for new agents in the Harcourts family, they have the backing of not only other agents in their local branch, but the entirety of New Zealand’s largest real estate agency.







Past clients and reccomendations

Think of this like a job interview – the agents you’re talking to certainly do! And as with any good job interview, there should be references on hand. Ask the agents you talk with to provide recent testimonials or letters from vendors that can attest to their performance.


According to recent research by CoreLogic RP Data, 68 per cent of people surveyed said they would recommend their real estate agent to family or friends. This could be a great place to start if your not confident in your ability to pick a good salesperson for the job.







Ask what things are most important to you

When you interview a few agents, they will generally come prepared with a presentation. This will cover a lot of information and should give you a pretty good idea of their personality, sales skills and background. However, if you have questions that concern you, don’t be afraid to bring them up.


For example, average time on market is not something often discussed at this stage – CoreLogic RP Data shows this only features in around 28 per cent of presentations, but if you need to sell within a certain timeframe, this could be really important to you, so make sure to ask! This could particularly be the case if you’ve been looking at homes for sale and need to make a move on a new opportunity.







What marketing is best

Some agents will choose to discuss marketing tactics and costs at the outset. It may seem uncomfortable to talk about dollar figures so early on in the relationship, but it’s important.


Understanding this will not only give you an idea of their marketing savvy, but it will also prepare you for the practical implications of running a campaign to sell your real estate. This can include time set aside for photography, house dressing, and money for these as well as advertising costs.


At the end of the day, the real estate agent you choose will have a big effect on the sale of your property, so make sure you’re fully prepared. Take advice from family and friends if need be. If you’re still unsure, talk to one someone in our management team – they’ll be able to tell you which of their agents specialise in your area and type of property, and could answer a lot of the questions you have.