Choosing and using a Real Estate Agent

Having a good real estate agent on board is a necessity to secure the best price possible for your home.

A good real estate agent will have in-depth knowledge of the current state of the real estate market and will act swiftly to adjust their business and marketing strategy to deal with it.

Ian Keightley of Salescoach training, advises sellers to be meticulous in their approach when employing a real estate agent. “Be very careful. They’ve got to understand the principles of marketing – they have to know the product [your home], identify the targets and understand the best way to reach them. You have to package and price the product correctly and market it well. This is not a market for short cuts.”

real estate agentWhere do you start? Scan through the local property media and see which real estate agents are busy in your area. Take a note of names on local ‘for sale’ signs.

Be careful, however, about selecting somebody on the strength of their visibility.

Just because a real estate agent has bought advertising space for their vendors or put up signs outside homes, doesn’t actually mean they were able to sell those homes, says Megan Jaffe of Megan Jaffe, Ray White Real Estate, in Auckland’s top-end suburb of Remuera.

Megan believes that word of mouth is best. “Look for a proven track record of people who have recently been through the experience of selling and ask for testimonials. They must be able to demonstrate results.”

Barfoot & Thompson’s training manager Teresa Reynolds says a good way to choose a real estate agent if you don’t already have a preferred agent is to do a shortlist of three then go to the open homes they are running. “This gives you the advantage of seeing them at work and comparing them to other agents in the area. It also allows you to see how the buyers that come through your property will be treated when the agent is selling your home.”

She cautions against selecting a real estate agent based on their price opinion of your home. “Ultimately it’s the buyer who decides what they are prepared to pay for your home, not the agent. Don’t get carried away with real estate agents who promise discounts and commission cuts. Your most valuable tool in the sale of your home is an expert negotiator and marketer. “Even though you employ one agent to sell your home, be aware that you are often reliant on the other salespeople in their company to promote your property. Choose an agent who has the backing of an established company.”

Real estate agents should be able to provide you with material that educates you on the market, providing statistics about comparable properties in your area, the sales process and how the real estate company operates.

A good agent will tell you how to present your home so it’s not just looking its best, but it smells and feels good. Megan Jaffe says it’s a competitive market, so you have to put your best foot forward. “Presentation makes a big difference. Create a homeliness people can relate to.”

Harcourts chief executive Bryan Thomson says the appraisal process is a chance for you to see how well the salespeople communicate and to gauge their attitude and skill in response to your queries. You must trust your salesperson to achieve a great result, he says. “If you don’t have that confidence, move on.” He believes today’s agents should be very comfortable with technology and recognise that relatively new marketing avenues, such as the internet, are critical because of the wide reach they give.

Once you have selected an agent to represent your home, they should devise a written marketing plan allocating promotional budgets you feel comfortable with. The plan should be reviewed weekly, says Bryan, and if it’s not working, analyse what went wrong then change it. Throughout the sales process, expect honest feedback. “If the price is too high, you should be able to discuss that too. You should have a relationship where you can expect feedback, good or bad.”

Rosie Harvey of Harveys, Taupo, says with their high-profile campaigns, auctions and tenders remove any barrier around the price and attract more potential buyers to the property. Once buyers come out of the woodwork, then the agent can garner feedback from them on what they believe the property is worth. The set sales date of auctions and tenders also gives buyers a timeframe in which to make decisions.

reauctionMegan Jaffe says it’s important you choose an agent who continues to build their database. “In this market, the agents who are selling are extremely well-organised. They’re perfecting their processes, systems, documentation and improving their vendor communications. “Should things go wrong between you and your salesperson, go to the agency licensee, who will then follow-up with the salesperson.

Most problems relate to a lack of communication, or the salesperson hasn’t done their job properly. At the end of each meeting with a vendor, I always ask, is there anything I could have done to serve you better?”

Be prepared with a list of questions to ask real estate agents who are competing to sell your home.

  • What do you personally offer that will help me get the best price for my home?
  • What is your point of difference?
  • What is your company’s market share in this area?
  • Who do you think will buy my property?
  • How do you propose to achieve a premium price for my property?
  • What tools do you have to ensure every potential viewer looks at my property?
  • Can your company give my property the exposure it deserves on the internet?
  • How many websites can a potential buyer view my property on?
  • Which systems will you use to market and sell my property?

Article (modified) courtesy of Resene Habitat magazine.

Posted In: Choosing Tradespeople, Rental Property

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resource management consultantResource Management consultants are tradespeople who specialise in getting the most out of a homeowner’s land and home.

They seek to maximize the utility (efficiency and effectiveness) of every resource and to consider what additional resources would improve the capabilities.

In essence, the resource manager improves the homes functionality by making the most out of available resources.

Resource Management Consultants will be able to assist with resource consent applications, assess the effects on the environment, and project planning and management. They will be able to undertake environmental planning and work with councils on behalf of homeowners on difficult cases, providing advice on development potential and future prospects for your land.

Resource Management Consultants may provide the following services:

  • full residential subdivision design
  • consent
  • project management
  • rural subdivisions
  • commercial consents (motels, schools, factories etc)
  • comprehensive housing developments
  • water permits
  • discharge consents
  • gravel extractions
  • submissions to District Plan variations
  • submissions to Annual Plans

The Resource Management Act (RMA) is permissible legislation with the Regional and District Plans setting out what you are to undertake on your property without the need for a consent – plus setting the different levels of consent (controlled, discretionary etc) that would be required for differing activities (subdivision, buildings, uses/activities etc).

Hire a Resource Management Consultant

Posted In: Auckland, Resource Management, Rotorua, Ruapehu, Selwyn

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removalistsA removalist or moving company helps homeowners shift their personal property from one home to another. They’ll use vans or trucks or if moving internationally may use shipping containers.

The moving industry includes the services of truck and trailer equipment rental companies, alongside companies selling moving supplies such as boxes and bubble wrap for people who want to do the preparation work themselves. They then will use a removalist to load and unload their belongings.  Removalists may offer training or advice for homeowners who will be using their equipment to relocate themselves.

Removalists will firstly assess how much space will be required to move your items. They will then work out which items to pack together, and how to best utilize the space they are going to use.  They may use bubble wrap, specific item cartons, custom-made packing, paper blanket wrap and other packing items to ensure that your belongings aren’t damaged.

removalistsCareful wrapping and packing is needed to prevent damage to property, and many contents insurance policies won’t cover goods in transit unless they’re professionally packed and unpacked. When packing a van or container for a removal, removalists will need to make sure that polished surfaces are protected with moving blankets and/or cardboard where appropriate.

Fragile items should be packed in rigid boxes with screwed up newspaper being used to protect against scratches and chips in transit.  Softer materials can be packed in suitcases, boxes and bags.

Moving furniture can present many challenges, especially in older properties when trying to get items through doors and windows.  A good removalist will be creative with the dismantling and moving of items through entrances.

It is good practice to get quotes from multiple removalists in order to find the one most suited for your needs.

The services of Removalists may include:

  • Packing and unpack furniture
  • Moving
  • Vehicle transportation
  • Pet transportation
  • Unpacking

Posted In: Auckland, Kaikoura, Kaipara, Kapiti Coast, Removalists

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property inspectorA property inspector is usually employed during the home buying process. The inspector’s job is to provide information about the building being purchased.

This information aids the buyer in decididing if the home or building is worth purchasing or if there are major faults that could affect their purchase decision.

When hiring a property inspector to look over a property, they will check everything that is visible. They are generally not responsible for any internal issues like faulty wiring or plumbing hidden by walls. Each property inspector will have a disclosure listing their responsibilities and what errors or omissions they can or cannot be held accountable for at a later date.

A property inspector may inspect:

  • Heating
  • Plumbing
  • Foundation
  • Roof
  • Electric
  • Appliances
  • Air conditioning
  • Doors and windows
  • Decks and patios
  • Outdoor structures
  • Swimming pools

There are other potentially dangerous conditions that a property inspector will look for as well. If desired, they can check for lead paint and most will keep their eyes peeled for asbestos while in an older home.

property inspectorIt is key to know of past damage in the building and if the condition that caused the damage can happen again. A property inspector will look for fire damage, past water leaks and evidence of termites and determine if the conditions are active or dead.

For example, a home may have had termites at one point in history, evident by small holes usually in the basement structures. The inspector will advise if it is an active infestation or one that is long gone based on the age of the holes.

The property inspector will prepare a report at the conclusion of the inspection. Usually it will follow in the days after the inspection and will contain the information they pointed out to the accompanying home-buyer during the inspection itself. This report will give a list of repairs needed and code violations as well as cost estimates for repairs.

Some inspectors will also include pictures and local information that they believe may come in handy for the potential home buyer.

Posted In: Auckland, Inspectors, Inspectors & Valuers, Porirua, Queenstown, Rangitikei, Rental Property

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