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6 ways to assess an estate agent’s performance and ability

13 Jan 2020

Home sellers should be more open and transparent with their estate agents.

The agent should also be able to show that their agency is giving the home meaningful exposure in the property website and social media space.

This is according to Rowan Alexander, Director of the Cape Town estate agency, Alexander Swart Property, who says those who do not disclose important information on their financial position or future plans, prevent the agent from working fully in their best interest.

Conversely, Alexander says home sellers should have some way of assessing how competent the agent is and how efficiently he/she is going about the allotted task.

References from previous clients can be a useful indicator to show the agent’s sales record in the last six to twelve months

When given a sales mandate, what will indicate how thoroughly the agent is operating, bearing in mind that the duty is to achieve the highest possible price in the shortest possible time, with the least inconvenience to the client?

1. The first and most obvious indicator is how long it takes the agent to put up for sale boards. In some cases, agents actually neglect this task completely and in Alexander’s view, that is a sure warning that they are not operating on the urgency level that characterises all good agents.

2. The agent should also be able to show that their agency is giving the home meaningful exposure in the property website and social media space. Are they using a good photographer to get the best images, as well as a good artist to handle the layout and presentation? He says this exposure should be regular and ongoing until the home is sold. Quite often, agencies will settle for occasional advertising which is seldom effective.

3. If the agent opts out of holding show days for any reason, Alexander warns it is a bad sign. In today’s market, a newly-released home, should be given show days at least three out of four weekends in the first month and thereafter at least once a month.

4. It is also very important the agent pre-qualifies potential viewers. Agents may try to impress the seller by bringing as many potential buyers as they can. However, a few discreet enquiries prior to the visit will often reveal one reason or another reason why the potential buyer will not qualify to buy the home he/she has asked to see.

5. “It is sometimes said that an agent should not be judged by the ’boy-scout/girl-guide’ virtues such as punctuality, appearance and regular communication, but this is not true,” he says.

 “The efficiencies and courtesies of any business demand that the hired employee behaves in a thoroughly respectful, co-operative way towards those for whom he is working. In estate agency work, where the agent operates from a different base to that of the client, it is especially necessary that he reports back to the client as often as possible, perhaps once a day, even when he has been unable to achieve any further progress in the interim. If the seller feels he is not kept in the loop, it is quite possibly a sign that the agent is not giving the sale the attention it deserves.”

6. Once a home has been put up for sale, how patient should the seller be before beginning to feel that they are being let down by their agent? Alexander says every area and price bracket functions to its own norms and there is no one measuring formula.

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