1) Do you have any credentials to show me?
Your agent should at least be registered with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents (BOVAEA) Malaysia. BOVAEA functions as a regulatory body to ensure that real estate agents (REA) and real estate negotiators (REN) all adhere to a code of ethics. Understandably, both REAs and RENs have to undertake additional training/testing to be certified.
In this way, you’d be assured of professional levels of service – the person you choose will be duty-bound to act in your best interests with integrity and fidelity.
2) How long have you been in this industry?
When it comes to property dealings, experience counts so the more years that agent has been practicing, the better he/she will be… right? Not really. Experience does not necessarily guarantee skill, although someone with a portfolio of good reviews and proper training certifications should assure you that this professional knows what he/she is doing.
Look for someone with both the clout and right attitude: competent enough to handle the transaction from A – Z, but also possess the enthusiasm and motivation to secure the right buyer for you.
3) What is your track record and local expertise like?
In this industry, an agent’s past performance is usually scrutinised, as sellers search for the right representative bearing a track record of success. Having a professional who specialises in your area is an additional advantage as he/she will not just be selling your property, but the neighbourhood as well.
The current and upcoming infrastructure, plans for amenities or new other developments that are in the works, crime rates; these are just some of the many factors that might affect the value of your property. You can ask the potential real estate agents additional questions such as the price range for the properties they’ve sold. This gives you an idea of who ideally knows the features that will be valued by buyers in your income bracket.
4) How do you determine the selling price?
A good agent is someone who has been keeping up-to-date with the market’s goings-on and what other similar properties have been sold recently. Knowledge such as that will prove valuable when it comes time to settle on the appropriate price for your own property. A list price that is too high will be passed over by potential buyers; a list price that is too low is akin to leaving money on the table.
You should also be able to get advice upfront on other additional costs to selling your property – the agent’s commission and closing fees, for example – so that you can compare before making a decision.
5) What is your sales plan and the duration?
Advances in technology have ensured that people are more connected than ever before, with information right at their fingertips. You’re going to want someone who not only relies on the traditional medium of advertising your property (such as flyers and buntings), but someone who is technologically savvy as well (social media and listing services).
A professional should have a well-thought out marketing plan that details just how they intend to maximise the exposure of your property to the masses through various methods, including open houses. They should also be able to give you a rough timeframe on how long it will take to sell your property, based on historical data. If he/she is also able to tell you whether your area is a property hotspot or not, all the better for you to discern if the potential candidate does his research.
6) What should I do to get my house ready?
Once an agent has seen one property, he/she would probably have seen it all. An experience professional would have by now developed a sharp eye to spot any noticeable flaws in your property that could potentially impact the selling price. Ask for advice on any necessary repairs or renovations, or if it just needs a deep cleaning and declutter session.
The good ones will even be able to suggest helpful hacks (read: budget friendly) on how to prep your property to look its best for house viewings, therefore improving on first impressions.
If you’re looking for someone to help sell your property in a short span of time and at a good price, this is a good selection of basic questions to keep on your check-list. Not only will it give you a sense of how the potential real estate agent is like, it will also give you a glimpse into his/her personality. Above all, trust in your gut instincts, especially if you’re getting good vibes from that person!