Selecting the right real estate agent is a pivotal decision that can profoundly impact the success of your home-selling journey. A skilled agent is not merely a facilitator but a strategic partner, navigating the complexities of the market to ensure optimal outcomes.
“Choosing a real estate agent is a pivotal decision in the home-selling journey, influencing not only the speed of the sale but also its overall success and even your return on investment,” says Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty. “The choice of a real estate agent is a decision that goes beyond simply listing a property; it is a partnership and both parties need to be on the same page and share the same vision.”
Geffen advises sellers to look out for early signs that their chosen agent may not be the ideal match, enabling corrective action for a smoother transaction:
- Lack of proactive communication: If your agent is consistently unresponsive, slow to return calls or emails, or doesn’t keep you informed about your sale’s progress, it’s a red flag. Have an open conversation to set clear expectations on communication.
- Limited market knowledge: If your agent struggles with property values, market trends, or insightful advice, it may hinder informed decisions. Ask about recent sales, market trends, and local real estate understanding. Cross-reference with your research.
- Ineffective marketing strategies: If your agent relies on traditional methods without a digital presence, your property may not reach its full audience. Discuss the marketing plan, including online strategies, social media, and events, and request adjustments if needed.
- Overpromising and underdelivering: If your agent makes unrealistic promises, it may indicate a lack of integrity. Discuss realistic expectations based on market conditions, comparable sales, and property attributes.
- Lack of negotiation skills: If your agent struggles to negotiate effectively, it can lead to unfavourable terms or lower sale prices. Inquire about their negotiation experiences and successes, communicating your priorities.
- Limited availability and accessibility: If your agent has limited availability, it can impede the sales process. Clearly communicate your expectations regarding availability and responsiveness from the start.
What sellers can do
- Honest conversation: Arrange a meeting with your agent to talk about your concerns. Provide specific examples and share your expectations for the future.
- Mediation: If both parties are willing to find a solution, consider mediation. A neutral third party can help guide the conversation and explore potential solutions.
- Consult with the brokerage/agency: If the agent is part of a larger agency, reach out to the agency’s management for assistance.
- Release from the contract: If issues persist, you can cancel the contract under the Consumer Protection Act by giving 20 working days’ notice. Keep in mind, you may incur costs and need to start the process again, so it’s advisable to try resolving the issues first.
- Legal advice: Legal action should be a last resort. Seek legal advice to understand your options and the terms of the listing agreement. This step is usually taken in extreme cases where contractual obligations are not met.
“A successful real estate journey hinges on a collaborative and transparent relationship between sellers and their chosen agents, ensuring that both parties work in tandem towards a common goal – selling the property for the best possible outcome,” says Geffen.