Have you ever heard the saying “stay in your lane”?
Essentially, it means stick to what you’re good at, and it can be applied to lots of things in life.
Accountants don’t tend to cut their own hair, teachers don’t service their own cars – so what makes you think you can handle the sale of your property without help?
It’s tempting to think you can pocket that commission payment and take on the management of the sale yourself, but before you do, consider the benefits of hiring an agent – a property expert, with experience, contacts and local market knowledge – to run the campaign on your behalf.
Here’s a sample of what they bring to the table:
1. They’ve got the marketing know-how
Real estate agents know what gets properties sold.
Want to have a crack at photographing your home and writing the listing yourself?
I can almost guarantee that it won’t be as good as what an agent (and their copywriters, photographers and graphic designers) can come up with.
For a start, you’re too emotionally invested to think objectively about the property. Plus, chances are you’re not a professional at doing any of these things, even if your selfie game is pretty strong.
So, leave it to the experts, who know exactly what lighting and angle works best, or which on-trend buzzwords are going the get the most clicks.
2. They understand the importance of staging
Renovating costs a lot, but you can improve the appearance (and saleability and price) of your property in a much cheaper way through clever staging.
It’s hard to do this yourself.
You don’t have access to all the awesome furniture hire places, nor do you have an interior designer on speed dial to ask for advice.
And, as I mentioned earlier, those heartstrings will be tugging away, steering you in all kinds of foolish directions.
An agent can survey a room, minus emotion, and know instantly that the muted shade on the walls needs brightening with some art, or that the amazing couch you inherited from Nanna is making the living room seem hopelessly small.
3. They’ll cast a critical eye over the outside, too
Your garden works for your family, but you’re selling the place, not buying it, remember!
Just like the inside areas, jazzing up the garden means taking your memories out of the equation.
Sure, the kids loved that creaky old swing set, or the death-trap trampoline.
But potential buyers don’t see that! An agent will advise you how you can make the area desirable to future owners. It could be as simple as taking some junk to the tip, or clearing a spot for a fire pit and outdoor seating.
4. They’ll charge you commission – but could also earn you (and save you) loads
When advising you on any improvements you should make, or what marketing avenues might work best, agents can often actually save you money!
Without their input, you might have spent $10,000 on a kitchen update, only to realise that a $200 paint job and an affordable new kitchen bench would have sufficed.
Agents know which changes will add value, and which ones won’t.
When it comes time to exchange contracts, you’ll be thanking them for helping you achieve the maximum sale price for the minimum outlay.
You’ll spend a lot of time with your real estate agent over the coming week and months, as well as exchanging countless emails and phone calls, so it makes sense to hire one you think you can get along with.
Build up that rapport and they’ll be an honest, informative sounding board for important decisions like “should we renovate the kitchen?” or “is our asking price too high?”
And with any luck, they’ll help you achieve that all important sale – so you can move on to greener pastures.
Remember...the cheapest agent is not the one with the lowest commission. It's the one who gets you the best price.
Kate Forbes is a National Director at Metropole Property Strategists. She has over 20 years of investment experience in financial markets in two continents, is qualified in multiple disciplines and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
She is a regular commentator for Michael Yardney’s Property Update
Read more Expert Advice from Kate here!
Disclaimer: while due care is taken, the viewpoints expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Your Investment Property.