Hiring a professional: how to pick the best real estate agents
Choosing a service provider is always challenging. Whether it’s a plumber or a real estate agent you can’t assess the quality of their service before you buy, as you can with a product you can touch and see. It’s so much easier if you’ve dealt with them before or have the recommendation of a friend. But without them, choosing a real estate agent to sell or manage your property, can be daunting.
So how do you look past the pitch, beyond the promises, to make sure you’re hiring a property professional? It’s now an old saying that ‘success leaves clues’. So too does professionalism.
A property professional is holding themselves accountable to a higher standard than the law requires. For example they’re a member of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, agreeing to be bound to a code of conduct and committing to mandatory training each and every year. They’re raising the bar for themselves and their profession, recognising you entrust them with your largest assets. Calling on government to tighten educational requirements for real estate agents. Not shying away from greater accountability and scrutiny.
The kind of agent you want working for you is one who’s making a career in property. Long term thinking will set them apart when it comes to those critical moments that can make a big difference for you. When they make one extra call to a buyer to ask for more money on your sale. When they do that extra reference check on the tenants for your investment property. Those extra steps taken, not because they have to, but because they know it’s the difference between okay service and great service. And great service leads to recommendations and referrals. The leading agents know this.
Market knowledge is also critical to you. Your agent needs to be ‘plugged in’ to trends and ahead of the market to help guide you. They’re updated, in touch and involved, seeking out new data and reading the latest stats on their area. They’re subscribing and digesting, ensuring your sale price and rents are maximised. Ask them what sources they use.
How do they stay on top of the latest in legislation? Ask them. We have a whole new Act governing agents in Queensland and they need to know it inside out. Tenancy issues change regularly and can have big consequences for you as a landlord. The agent you want attends industry updates and training regularly. Without this they’re simply swinging blind.
The great agents have pride in their career. Ask them – “are you proud of what you do for a living?” The great agents want to be seen as a property professional and they’re serious about greater professionalism in real estate. You’ll see this demonstrated in their involvement in our profession’s peak body, the REIQ.
Next time you’re hiring an agent give these ideas some thought. The agent you want is doing so much more than ‘just turning up’. A few, well-chosen questions will soon set them apart from the crowd.
Note: Bees Nees’ principal Rob Honeycombe is the Chairman of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland. He wrote this article for the Market Outlook column of the Courier Mail.
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