How To Choose The Best Agent To Sell Your Property

Choosing the best agent to sell your property is an important decision that could cost you tens of thousands. Here’s some ideas on how to pick the right agent.

Ryan:  Hopefully we should now be live. Hey, guys. Ryan here, from onproperty.com.au, and welcome to this live Q and A with myself and Ben Everingham, buyer’s agent from Pumped on Property. How’s it going today, Ben?

Ben: Yeah, great, Ryan. Thanks for having me. How are you?

Ryan:  Good. So this is our second soft launch of these live Q and As. We are messing with the technology behind it, because neither of us are tech gurus. We probably won’t have heaps of viewers today, but last time we went live we had 10 to 15 people all asking questions. It was a great deal of fun. I’m looking forward to doing that again.

But to open it up, let’s just talk about … like, before we were talking … you were saying you read some books recently that you thought it would be cool to share with people. Do you want to talk about those books and tell me what they’re about?

Ben:  Yeah. I was reading a couple of books on the plane, because I flew down to Sydney to finish off renovating a property over the weekend. I’m so sore still, dude, like, out of control sore from shoveling and carting wheelbarrows for three days. We can come back to that later, maybe, but one of the books was called-

Ryan: Yeah. Well, remember we did that horror story video for people. So if people have gone and watched that, like, I know over 1,000 people watched that horror story. People love that stuff, man. You’re now renovating that and it’s nearly ready to go on the market, yeah?

Ben: Finished on Friday, so very exciting times. We’re getting it photographed. I just signed the agency agreement. We screened seven different agents down there-

Ryan: Seven, wow.

Ben:  … which has been an interesting process. Yeah, so they all came out to the house on Thursday and I just sort of sat with them, one by one, and walked through the house and talked about their fees and their strategy and all that sort of stuff, which was fun because I haven’t actually employed someone to sell a property for about a two-year period. It was good roll out some of the things that I now know as a more sophisticated buyer’s agent.

Ryan: Let’s talk about that, right. Because most people might go to one, maybe two, real estate agents before they sell a property. You had seven. Did you just get them to come inspect the property one at a time and then … What did you … ? What sort of questions do you ask them, to choose the right one?

Ben: Yeah. I’ve got a little list of questions actually, that I was asking them. I’ll just pull that up now, but the first thing that I did before they came out was identify them on RateMyAgent and OpenAgent where they sit in the pecking order of top performers in the area. That’s a cool thing.

I was also looking on Domain. They’ve got these amazing stats now, on local agents in an area again.

They’ve got total number of properties, but they’ve also got average days on market for the properties that they’re selling, as well as days on market for every single property they’ve sold in the last 12 months, average sales [crosstalk 00:02:53].

Ryan: So rather than just being of an area, it’s per agent, so you can see how quickly agents are selling properties.

Ben: It’s crazy, man, it’s per agent. We ended up choosing an agent who, on average, sells properties for a premium 12% above list price within 22 days. It’s crazy how good the technology’s getting, hey?

Ryan: Sick. For people who are interested, where do they check that out? Is that just domain.com.au?

Ben: That was Domain. So you just literally click onto the agency, the real estate agency, or the actual real estate agent, and all of that information comes out under their portfolio or profile.

Ryan: That’s genius. That’s step number one. That just shortlisted agents for you straight away, hey? So you knew-

Ben: That immediately shortlisted, and then because my mate, the poor bugger, has been out there for, like … literally camping and living in this property for the last nine weeks, renovating it … Dude, I’ve got to send you some photos. It is way worse than I expected it to have been when he got started. I don’t think I told you, but they left all of their stuff in the house before they moved out.

Ryan:  Oh, no.

Ben: He spent the first two weeks … We had two 16 cubic meter bins out the front and he filled both of them, just with their furniture, before he even started gutting the place.

So, yeah. We’d gone onto those sites and had shortlisted, and then one of the questions I asked them, or the first question was, how many properties have you sold in the last 12 months? Not a single one of them came back with the truth. In fact, they were all about … saying they’d sold about 40% more properties than they actually had online. That was a really [crosstalk 00:04:26].

Ryan: Yeah. Did you call them out on it? When they said it, did you be like, “Well, look, I’ve got your statistics here, like, I think you’re lying to me”?

Ben: Straight up said it, bro. I’m like, “Well, I’ve just had a look at online and it says that you’ve sold this many properties, this many days on market, and at this price point,” and they’re just like, straight away on that defensive back foot. Which is a good thing, man. I wanted to see where people were at.

Once I got them to that point, we began to discuss marketing strategy, which I think’s extremely important on sales strategy. One of the effective ways they’re doing it down there is they’re just calling it ‘new to market’ for the first week, getting feedback, and then putting a price on it based on that feedback, which is kind of cool and something we don’t see here, in Queensland, which is interesting.

Ryan:  Yeah. So they don’t just go straight to the market with a price of what you’re asking, they’re like, just say, “new to market,” for a week?

Ben:  Yeah, and they bring in a lot of people on the Thursday before the Saturday’s first open home, as an executive or a pre-offer type thing, of just a walkthrough, they call it. Again, it’s kind of just a different way of marketing, and obviously it’s the flavor of the month down there because all seven agents presented the exact same strategy.

Then I talked about the power of their database and how many properties they’re selling in that specific suburb and if they had anyone on file at the moment that might be looking for it, because that’s the obviously easiest way to sell a property. If you’ve got someone looking for that, they missed it, so you can feed them into this.

We talked about their percentages as a business, their marketing fees. I gave all of them the opportunity to go on a bonus style structure. So if you get, let’s say, above $530,000, for every dollar above that, I’ll give you an extra 10% of the dollar, or 10 cents in the dollar for every dollar above.

Which can be pretty powerful if you’re selling it for 20 or 30 grand above.

Ryan: Yeah. Were they keen on that, or no?

Ben: The top, top performers were 100% straight on it, or even suggesting it, because why wouldn’t you back yourself if you’re good? Then the last thing that I did is a trick that I always use for agents, which is, I try to negotiate down on their rates and their marketing fees.

Then I immediately just put a line through any agent that immediately gives me a concession on their fees, because I think, if you’re giving me a concession on your fees, you’re not going to be … you’re going to be giving the client the opportunity to put in a price below what we want to accept.

Ryan: Yeah. That’s so funny, because it’s like a backwards strategy. They think you want to negotiate, but really you’re like just … you want to see how good a negotiator they are. How many people struck out-

Ben: Yeah, so-

Ryan:  … in that aspect, by asking them to negotiate on their fees?

Ben: It reduced it straight down to one.

Ryan: Is that last one, is that the one you went with?

Ben:  Yeah. Yeah, he’s a interesting dude. He’s probably between your age and my age, like 30. He’s super money hungry, slick in a dirty way, but a non-dirty way, if you know what I mean.

Ryan: I kind of [crosstalk 00:07:42], yeah.

Ben: Just that right amount of hard-ass agentness, but really personable sort of young guy, good looking guy. He’s by far made the most sales. He’s making them quick. He’s investing all the money that he makes out of his business back into buying more property, which I really like because he understood investment and, more than anything else, he’d sold more properties above 500k than any other agent. Even though my property’s not a premium property, I want him to present it like it is. That was the process that we went through, which was a bit of fun.

Ryan:  That’s cool.

Ben: The builder that I’ve been working with, who’s a good mate from school, he went around and actually just pretended to be a punter at one of each of the agents’ seven properties, to see what it was like working with them and seeing them. Immediately after he did that he said that this guy was the number one. He came with a fair bias, but you can get a good experience from seeing what they’re like, pretending to be someone.

Ryan: So he went in pretending to be a customer looking to buy a property, to kind of see who the best agents were?

Ben: Exactly, yeah. He went in and just played the game and, obviously, who somebody is on the day is probably who they’re going to be for you.

Ryan: Dude, this is such good information for people. Firstly, domain.com.au, go on there, the stats there are amazing, as well a realestate.com.au, they have some … Oh, no, what was it? RateMyAgent-

Ben: RateMyAgent.

Ryan: … as well. Ask them. Look at multiple different people. Ask them how many they’ve sold and then tell them they’re lying. I love that. Then, yeah, go and pretend you’re a customer with them, obviously before you have them come in, maybe. Then, yeah, ask them to negotiate on price. Is there anything else that you would suggest people do?

Ben: There’s some funny guys that came along, man. One guy said to me that he’d sold 15 properties in the last 12 months, and then I had his data and I’m like, “It looks like you’ve actually only been in the industry for two months and haven’t made a sale yet.” He’s like, “Yeah, that’s true,” and then he just walked out. He did even say-

Ryan: He just left? Did he just leave?

Ben: Yeah, just left. I’m just like, “Just leave, bro. Like, there’s nothing else you could say, here.” The industry is so filled with interesting characters, man. And that’s a regional area. Imagine trying to sell or buy from these guys in the CDB. It just reaffirmed that you can’t believe anything but the data.

Now that RateMyAgent, realestate.com, RP Data, and Domain are giving you so much information, there’s … the old bullshit agent isn’t going to be able to survive for many more years, once people start getting educated and onto this stuff-

Ryan: Yeah, because-

Ben: … which is … it’s a good thing for the consumer, to have that power.

Ryan: Yeah, dude, that’s so good. That’s so funny.

Hey, guys. I hope that you enjoy the answer to this question, which came from my live Q and A episode with Ben on YouTube. We will be doing more of these in the future.

If you want to check out Ben, then he is offering free strategy sessions to On Property listeners. To find out more about that, go to onproperty.com.au/session, and you can see all the details over there. That’s it for today, and until next time, stay positive.

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