Selling Your Home

Choosing an Agent to Sell Your Home

Promises of low commissions, high property valuations, guaranteed sales and even luxury car giveaways are just some of the tactics Sydney agents are using to lure vendors to sign on the dotted line, according to Mercedes Maguire, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald.
"There is a growing number of agents competing for a declining number of listings," CPM Research director John Wakefield says. "We saw real estate agent numbers grow when the market was booming three years ago, which has now caused an over-supply in the market. Competition is tough out there for them."

BresicWhitney co-director Shannan Whitney adds that slashing commissions and overvaluing property are two common tactics agents use to entice vendors.
And, he says, if a low commission and a property value beyond your expectations seem a great deal, you should think again.
"When you overvalue a home," he says, "no one wins because it simply stays on the market, the vendor doesn’t get a sale and the agent doesn’t get his commission, however cheap it is.
"The longer a house stays on the market, the harder it becomes to sell. People rightly assume the house is overvalued or there’s something wrong with it and won’t touch it."
Home owners often presume a low commission equals a better deal. But many in the industry claim an agent who needs to slash his fees has little else to offer.
"If an agent’s only way to get a listing is through cut-rate commissions, you have to wonder if he is the best person to entrust with the sale of your home," Geoff Smith, of LJ Hooker Mosman, says. "If those guys can’t negotiate themselves a decent fee, how are they going to negotiate the best price for your home?"


Paul Harradine and wife Jennifer learnt a valuable lesson when they put their home on the market nine months ago – the cheapest commission is not always the best deal.
Choosing an agency that charged only 1.8 per cent commission, including advertising costs, and with a high valuation on their Curl Curl home, the couple thought they were onto a great deal. But for seven months, not a single offer was made on their property.
It sold two weeks ago for $1.13 million through Michael Clarke and Peter Pagliaro of McGrath Manly, 12 days into their auction campaign.
"Initially I wanted around $1.4 million for the house and a lot of agents told us it wouldn’t get that much but the ones we went with did not try to talk us down," says Harradine, a service delivery manager for Optus.
"On top of that they charged a fairly low commission so I guess we went with a combination of low commission and high expectations for the price our home could get."
In June, the couple decided to cut their losses and interviewed a fresh swag of agents to try to sell their home.
McGrath Manly charged the highest commission of the bunch but the Harradines had a good feeling for the "plan of action" – and their home was promptly sold.
"In hindsight I guess I learned that you should not try to get out of it as cheaply as you can when it comes to selling your home," Harradine says. "There’s so much more that’s important when choosing an agent than how much they charge, like good communication, savvy marketing and good general knowledge."

Taken from an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 22 August 2007 written by Mercedes Maguire.

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