We all know what real estate agents do. With their sharp suits and wide smiles, they’re the ones greeting you at the open inspection or answering questions before the auctioneer starts their spiel.
But did you know that real estate agents also do a lot of work behind the scenes? Before, during and after your sale, they’re working hard to get you the best possible price.
Here are seven things a real estate agent does to help sell your house, even when you’re not watching.
Before the sale
1. Building a buyer database
Having a list of buyers already on hand allows agents to do a few things.
They can contact a few ‘qualified’ buyers who they know are looking for properties like yours and arrange private inspections before the home officially hits the market. This helps gauge market interest and set a fair price. It might even mean you get an early offer and can save on marketing costs.
Building that database is an ongoing job. Agents chat to potential buyers at open inspections and auctions to get a feel for what they’re looking for. With their permission, they record those details for future use. A good agent won’t leave it there, either. They will nurture those leads by staying in contact and checking whether they’re still looking.
2. Researching comparable properties
In order to get the right price for your property, agents must understand the market. This takes skill and experience. Agents keep a database of the properties they’ve sold, including location, size and condition. They also keep an eye on their competitors, so that they know whether other agents are beating them on listing price.
Lastly, they receive information on quarterly median house prices and auction results, future property forecasts and legislative updates. This means that when they come to advise you on how much your property could sell for, they’re drawing on a vast pool of knowledge.
3. Keeping abreast of market trends
It’s important that your home is marketed to the right people, the right way. 15 years ago, that would typically mean putting a print advert in the classifieds section of your local newspaper. Today, print listings are mostly used for unusual or prestige properties, and framed to appeal to niche buyers.
Different parts of Australia favour different marketing techniques. Auctions are nearly ubiquitous on the east coast, whereas the smaller capitals tend to favour private treaty.
Agents spend a lot of their time keeping up with trends. Through their association with professional bodies, networking events and ongoing professional development, they make sure they can advise which approach is best for the buyers you want to attract.
During the sale
4. Responding to buyer enquiries
When the listing is live, agents spend a lot of their time on the phone. In fact, sellers who decide to ‘go it alone’ and sell their own properties are often amazed at how much time this task takes.
Agents can field several calls an hour for a hot property and should expect to answer a wide range of questions about the home, location and seller motivation.
5. Showcasing the positives
Presenting your home in the best possible light goes beyond decluttering and cleaning. Agents use their skill and experience to turn negatives into positives and create a good impression in the minds of buyers.
Tired kitchen? Great opportunity to create something new! The property doesn’t face north? It’ll stay cooler in summer!
Where a seller might sound defensive or emotional about their house, an agent can bring a dispassionate eye to the game. By treating the buyer with respect and answering their concerns head on, they can often make a better sale.
6. Hosting the opens
This is one of your real estate agent’s more visible tasks. But even here, plenty goes on behind the scenes.
Before the doors are swung open, your agent will have made sure that your house is looking as good as possible. That might mean turning on the lights and opening all the curtains and blinds, checking for any mess you’ve overlooked, even pulling some weeds that have grown up on the entrance path.
After the sale
7. Liaising between buyer and seller
During the settlement process, an agent keeps both buyer and seller up to date with developments. If the buyer’s bank doesn’t finalise the loan in time, settlement might need to be delayed.
There may need to be some clarification about what’s included. Sellers may get in touch to ask if there’s any way settlement could be moved up. While your solicitor or conveyancer can handle some of these queries, it’s common for the agent to be involved as well. Discussions at this stage can help get all parties to a smooth settlement.
And of course, the agent will also be on hand on settlement day to make sure the buyer gets the keys – and maybe even a bottle of champagne!