When we are ready to sell property, we generally turn to a real estate agent, the trusted advisors and facilitators of property sales. But should we trust every real estate agent? And while there are plenty of agents that always do the right thing, it’s hard to be 100% confident that they are doing the right thing by you. The best thing you can do is know what the non-negotiables should be when working with an agent, ensuring your best interests are always at heart. Here are some things to consider.

Ensure the property goes on the market

‘We can save you some money by not taking it to market’. ‘We can get this sold without going online’. Don’t be surprised when you hear that, and don’t take them up on the offer. For you to get best results, all property needs to go on the market. Keeping everything ‘above board’ so to speak, is the best way to keep an agent transparent. Stick to the processes already in place. It is there to protect you. If your agent won’t comply, take your property elsewhere. You’ll thank yourself later.

Price Fixing

Price fixing is illegal in Australia and agents will end up in court for doing it. It occurs when an agreement between participants on the same side in a market put up a property at a fixed price, ensuring that price is maintained regardless of supply and demand. The agent may fix a price without a competitor having a say (meaning there won’t be any ‘offers’, limiting your possible outcome). Then they fix, control and maintain the price. It can be a written, formal or informal agreement, but can even be a wink and a nod. You can bypass this by ensuring the property hits the market as above. The outcome needs to result in the best price for you. Don’t feel forced into a fixed price contract.

Double check the contract

Selling or purchasing a property can be quite an emotional time. Depending on the circumstances you might be thrilled to be moving onto something new, or it might be a hard time for you saying goodbye to the family home. Regardless of how you are feeling, make sure you take some time to read through the contract and check that it is what you require. Are there certain fixtures going or staying? Are the finance and settlement dates correct? What deposit is due for potential buyers? Are the terms listed as you requested? Are the timeframes in line with what you need them to be for bridging finance? Many issues with property come down to contracts either not being right, or people not reading them. If you sign something then try to mediate an issue later on, it makes it harder as you have signed off on the contract as is. Try to get someone to review it for you, and don’t be forced into signing. If they want your sale, they can facilitate it on your terms

Do your own research on property value

Don’t just let someone else tell you what your property is worth, do your own research. You can do some searches online to see what other properties in your area are going for, request a property report, and even get in touch with a few agents, to get a few opinions. Don’t just settle for the one figure. Domain.com.au can be a good place to start.

Trust your gut feeling

That gut feeling will serve you well in times like this. If you are really feeling stressed about the sale, or unsettled about a certain aspect, trust yourself. Ask more questions, get more information. Information is power and can help you make more informed decisions. Remember, you don’t need to rush. Agents love getting properties sold fast, but at the end of the day, it’s your property. Take the time you need.

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