As a homeowner, you’ve probably been told time and again that using an agent to sell a property is an essential part of the process. What you may not know is exactly why that is, or what you can expect that agent to bring to the table.
“The first thing to understand is that successfully selling a property today is about much more than just connecting buyers and sellers. There’s a whole lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, but the better the agent, the less the seller ever sees of this process.”
According to Albutt, a good agent’s role begins long before they meet a particular seller. They need to be experts in their area, and that takes experience, investigation and access to some powerful industry tools. This helps create a foundation of knowledge on which to base sales recommendations like listing prices, and builds a professional reputation that attracts potential buyers from a wide and diverse pool.
This kind of brand visibility, alone, is a valuable asset to be able to offer sellers, but extends far beyond networking once the sales process begins.
“To achieve top sales figures, agents need to have a very detailed understanding of their target market to be able to assist sellers in maximising their property’s appeal within that demographic,” says Albutt. “They also need strong negotiation skills and an understanding of buyer psychology to navigate the offer process in the seller’s favour as far as possible within the boundaries of the law.”
These skills take time, training and talent to master, but aren’t always apparent to the seller who is paying the agent’s fee. This, Albutt says, can create problems if sellers begin to doubt the value of their agent, or mistrust their advice if they aren’t aware of the underlying context. As a result, he believes “soft skills” are equally important for a good estate agent to have.
“Sellers usually understand the need for an agent with a great reputation in their area, high brand visibility, excellent marketing skills and a wide professional network,” he says. “What they often overlook are the softer skills like communication – something that is vital not only to develop buyer relationships, but also to maintain transparency and trust between agent and seller.”
This transparency should be clear from day one, beginning with a detailed comparative market analysis of the seller’s property, including a strengths and weaknesses assessment.
“The last thing you want is an agent who ‘butters you up’ with compliments and then brings you offers well under what they lead you to expect – or worse, no offers at all,” says Albutt. “A good agent will ensure you understand the reasons behind the recommended listing price, have a good overview of your competition, and are aware of market circumstances that could impact your sale – both positively and negatively.”
Albutt says an experienced agent should also be able to give you exact details on how, when and where they plan to market your home, what kind of buyers they expect to attract, and what you can do to help the process. He explains that this kind of information helps sellers understand what’s going on behind the scenes and relax knowing that their agent is genuinely earning their professional fee.
Your agent should feel like a partner, he says. “Someone you can talk to and trust, who has the time to answer your questions and the expertise to guide you through the full sale’s process. A good agent should be able to address all pain points and leave you confident in their skills and strategy.”