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Five Questions To Ask A Real Estate Agent Before You Sell

Five Questions To Ask A Real Estate Agent Before You Sell

I really enjoy questions. They give me the ability to address any issues that a potential client might have, and it allows the conversation to progress to a deeper level. This process will often uncover fears or uncertainties about the sales process.

While at a presentation the other day the owner asked about my negotiating skills. This lead the conversation down a path about the skills of a good agent. In this month’s barometer, we look at some of the key skills your agent should have. Many agents are excellent at self-promotion, but are they the most effective agent to market your home for sale?

1. Market Awareness – How Well Does Your Agent Know the Market?

A good real estate agent will have an understanding on how the market is performing and how to best position your property in that market.  The property market can do a 180 on as little as an LVR change. A good agent will be aware of how wider policy and economic changes can affect a market and be ready to react quickly. When you are interviewing agents a good question to ask would be:

“How do you change your approach in different markets”?

2. Plan B – What is Your Sales Back Up Plan?

When it comes to presenting a marketing strategy, a lot of weight is placed on the best method of sale for your property. Whether an agent is pitching Auction, Tender, or BEO, there is always a war story which can demonstrate just how successful that method can be.  Equally as important as the initial method is to discuss your ‘plan b’, or back up plan. This is the marketing strategy you will implement if your property doesn’t sell in a given period e.g. two-week tender. A property which doesn’t sell under the hammer or on the tender date is not unsaleable, but it is important to quickly switch tacks to keep the momentum in the campaign. Using market feedback gathered from buyers in the first weeks of the campaign will allow an agent to quickly move to a secondary method, which will often include some price guidance. In the majority of cases, this is an effective way to reinvigorate your campaign. Not only that but it will help avoid a prolonged time on the market and reduce the perception that there is something wrong with your property. A good question to ask a prospective agent is:

“What is our plan B should the property not sell at the Tender/Auction/Deadline date”

3. Advertising – What is the Best Advertising to Sell a House

Just like sales methods, all agents will have a convincing argument for why, particularly in the case of print media, you should pay for advertising via certain channels. Advertising a property for sale is about getting the property in front of the eyeballs of those who could potentially buy it. So it’s important to know how to do this most effectively. The age of the eyeballs, i.e your target market, will guide you on where you on where best to spend your advertising dollar. In the case of advertising,  Ask your agent:

“Where do my target market search for real estate?”

4. Keeping Calm – Picking the Best Real Estate Agent

There is no need for an agent to panic when everything thing is going well. There is also no need for an agent to panic when it’s not. During the boom time, little goes wrong, and the newest of agents can still generate great results. It’s when things start to slow down that issues can arise. These ‘issues’ will be things which are often completely out of you or your agent’s control. What you can control, however, is the careful selection of an agent who has the knowledge and skill to problem solve. And they should do this while keeping parties engaged and confident in the process. An agent who panics or does not have the experience to navigate a tricky deal will cause your property damage and could cost you thousands.
A good question to ask:

“Can you provide an example of a tricky deal you have successfully navigated to sale”?

5. Good zones and bad zones – What is a Comparable Sale?

When you engage an agent, it is their job to provide you with an estimated sales range for your home. Agents are required to derive this range based on sales of properties which are approximately comparable with yours. Being armed with good information upfront allows you to make confident and informed decisions in the sales process. The only person that knows what the property is going to sell for is you. A poor market assessment (one that has been given little thought or performed with minimal skill) does not help you when it comes to assessing if an offer is worth considering or if you can do better. To ensure you are getting the best possible advice upfront ask your agent:

“Why did you select these sales and can you explain what makes them comparable to my home?

The Wellington Market

The Wellington market has started its seasonal run into Christmas with stock levels on the rise but still well below their long-term average. Lower levels of stock can give the illusion that the market is more active than normal with a significant increase in open home attendees over the past month. That being said, discussion among colleagues and other property related professionals has uncovered some uncertainty about what is really happening. It has been suggested that perhaps we are in the ‘dead cat bounce’ period. Going forward, we anticipate the change of government should help prop up the Wellington market as traditionally a Labour-run government operates with a larger staff. In addition, their ‘first year of free tertiary education’ policy is likely to put some pressure on University and student style accommodation.


Average sale price by Ward:


November Fun Facts

You fireworksmay have already started to hear the familiar pop, popping of fireworks in your neighbourhood. But why do we celebrate this day with such a bang?

Did you know?

  • Guy Fawkes is the celebration of the failed “Gunpowder Plot” of 1605, the failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics (one named Guy Fawkes).
  • Fawkes was tortured for four days before admitting to his part in the Gunpowder Plot and giving the names of his co-conspirators. The National Archives in the UK hold his two signed confessions.
  • The slang term of calling another person “guy” comes from the name Guy Fawkes. The original meaning was “an ugly, repulsive person.” Over time it just referred to a man.
  • A Chinese cook accidentally discovered fireworks during the 10th century. He mixed three kitchen ingredients and set the concoction alight. The result was colourful flames.

If you haven’t heard, this will be the last year Wellington City Council will be putting on a big Fire Works display for Guy Fawkes, as from next year they are moving it to Matariki.

See this years display at 9pm, Saturday 4th November 2017.


If you, or anyone you know, could benefit from a considered market assessment by Wellington’s only licensed agent and registered property valuer, please do not hesitate to call. We are always very happy to help.


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