Real estate agents may regularly feature in lists of the least trusted professions, right up there with used car sellers and, yes, I admit it, journalists too.

However, the people who vote on these things are more likely to be thinking of trying to buy or rent a house, rather than trying to sell one.

Because when you’re selling a house, an agent should be your best friend, from the time he or she gets the listing, until the hammer comes down and you sign over your home to some lucky buyer.

A part of any great friendship is trust and when you are selling, there are numerous ways in which you need to put your trust in an agent.

After all, it is in her or his best interest to get the best possible result for your house and therefore the best possible commission.

You need to trust your agent’s market knowledge, local area expertise and years of experience; all of which they should use to give you the best and most accurate appraisal of what price your home may fetch and explaining why in as much detail as you require.

Listening to the advice that they give you should ensure you get the best result and don’t risk turning your home into an unsellable entity.

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Seeing as how you have called the house your own for a very long time and experienced all sorts of emotional memories, ups and downs and triumphs and tribulations, it is very hard to set a realistic price.

It is especially hard to accept that the house you love might be worth less than you think.

Don’t forget that as far as you are concerned, the sentimental value is through the roof, but for a savvy buyer, the property is what it is…four walls and a ceiling, with the remnants of someone else’s presence still there for all to see.

A real estate agent will know what similar houses in the neighbourhood and suburb have recently sold for and will therefore be able to give you some idea of what yours might be worth.

When they give you that advice, it is important to listen carefully. Asking the right price for a property will generate more competition for it and may get you a better than expected result.

Conversely, asking too much is likely to have the opposite effect and may force you to lower your asking price down the track.

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People will then want to know why, or be suspicious about the length of time you have been on the market.

And at the end of the campaign, if you haven’t changed your mind on real estate agents, you will know to use a different agent next time you sell.

Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and news.com.au

Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing.

His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at news.com.au

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