How many real estate agents should I ask to appraise my property for sale?

Before I consider appraising any property for sale I ask the seller if they’re considering the appraisal of other agents. These answer is almost always ‘yes’. Property sellers are like any consumer, some buy on price, and others on service or relationship.

The local real estate market, like that in most cities and suburbs of Australia, is highly congested (and, occasionally and unfortunately, cut-throat — if not on price expectations, certainly on fees). In Albury and Wodonga, some newer agencies are charging as little as 1 percent plus advertising. That’s not only hard to match, it’s impossible to beat. Others lead on getting you top dollar from a boundless list of pre-qualified buyers, and promise as much.

Whether a reality or anecdotally, getting more than one agent, maybe several makes sense, right?

Price or reserve

All real estate agents in both Victoria and New South Wales are required to provide comparative market analysis for each of the properties they appraise for sale (or auction or expression of interest). Comparative market analysis was introduced by state governments as a kind of magic bullet to eradicate rogue agents promising over-inflated but unattainable prices just to get a listing. Though suburb and property data is fixed for a given time and place, a comparative market analysis is editable to fit the agent’s narrative, or more commonly, their appetite for a new listing.

Regardless what an agent provides in a comparative market analysis to support their price or price range, as a seller, you can list your property for whatever you’d like to achieve. Your agent isn’t a mind reader, so if you’ve got a price in mind, go with that, and see what agent is prepared to help you achieve it, and how, then include that in the agency agreement.

Commission

Is an agent’s fee negotiable? Absolutely! Industry stalwarts, such as Ray White, will charge a standard fee of 2.75% pus GST (or 3.05%) plus advertising and optional extras, such as an auctioneer, sales board, and print media. Others are more flexible.

An agent who’s asking a full fee will most likely justify their value by brand recognition or industry tenure. Buyer’s don’t care what brand is selling a property nor how long an agent’s held their job, only that the property they find meets their lifestyle needs or financial goals.

Advertising

Agents charge you to advertise your property so they can earn their commission. Sounds wrong, right? 99% of agents do charge sellers advertising. It’s a standard industry practice, and one that’s hard to crack. You could negotiate to pay less for advertising, or pay less by foregoing some advertising components, or go with an agent whose advertising is inclusive with their fee. Search ‘flat-fee real estate agents’.

People

Agencies often boast having a sales team — more agents working to sell your home. While their human capital might impress you, in reality there’s always one agent who leads your campaign, doing the hard yards. It’ll be the agent who you trusted with your financial security, not the inexperienced cadets doing the leg work. In my experience at the ‘yellow box’ agency, multiple salespeople on one property lead to such infighting that campaigns often suffered, or campaigns produced a lacklustre result because every other non-listing agent was desperate for a sale that short-changed a seller’s experience, or sabotaged or lowered a seller’s price expectations just to earn an income.

Database

If an agent is genuine about the strength and influence of their database, then they shouldn’t need to charge you for advertising, and a sale should happen within hours or days, not weeks or months. Any database of any business can have value (even substantial value), but only if it’s kept up to date with active buyers and buyer’s needs, rather than a resource of non-current and obsolete information of buyer’s past.

Verdict

How many agent should you ask to appraise your property? As many as it takes until you find the one that best understands your financial aspirations — one who’s with aligned your values and goals, and fits your head and your heart. And ask the agent who lists your property to exclusively manage your campaign and negotiate with your buyers, not their sidekick.