7 questions to ask before engaging a real estate agent

Presented by Entry Education

16 Feb 2023, 12:02pm

Sometimes, real estate agents can fall into a bit of an unfortunate stereotype – a slick salesperson with promises of making your property dreams come true, just to make themselves a sweet commission.

That said, finding a good real estate agent to assist with your property needs is necessary when dealing with one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

To make sure you’ve found the one for you and you’re ready to lock them in with a third and final call, here’s what to look for in a real estate agent to ensure you’re sold.

1. Are their certifications industry recognised?

Like when engaging any professional, do your due diligence and ensure your real estate agent is properly trained and certified with up-to-date qualifications and experience.

First up, look for an agent who studied at a registered training provider. Cale Morton, Partner at Entry Education, a leading real estate academy, says a proper education ensures your real estate agent has learnt from industry-led professionals with the real-world experiences, connections, skills and certifications to ensure they not only succeed in real estate, but provide their clients with the very best service.

Your choice of a real estate agent can be the difference between a good, and a great, sale. Picture: Getty

“Education really is the foundation,” Morton says.

“Our online real estate courses and government-funded traineeships provide agents with the necessary building blocks to then forge a successful career in real estate where they’ll continue learning and growing.”

2. Do they have industry experience?

When looking for a real estate agent, you want someone who understands the industry – the agents, clients, auctioneers and buyers.

What you’re looking for, Morton says, is an agent who has studied “real life scenarios” to “learn the skills needed to get familiar with the real estate industry”. 

This means you’re looking to get someone who knows how it works, how they can best assist you with your needs, and who has contacts they can utilise to get you the best possible deal, whether you are just getting a leg up on the property ladder or you’ve been in the game for years.

3. Do they understand the market?

The property market can be difficult to predict even for seasoned professionals, but an astute agent will have their finger on the pulse of all changes when they occur (and hopefully prior).

From knowing about interest rates to finding a budding sister suburb, you want a real estate agent with what Morton calls “real-world skills” who can assist with your property journey.

A good real estate agent will have their finger on the pulse of market changes. Picture: Getty

This could be in the form of suburb profiling, property reports, providing you with details on market trends, or giving insight into growth suburbs and regions gained from key research and contacts in the industry.

4. Do they listen to what you want and act on it?

We’ve all seen House Hunters, where a person asks for a three-bedroom town house with a view and ends up in windowless studio apartment.

Your agent should be working for you, and not the other way around. Look for an agent that acts with your best interests at heart, providing you with the best, safest, and easiest experience possible.

5. Do they know your area and property style?

Does your real estate agent know their Victorian from their contemporary? Their industrial from their mid-century modern?

While contestants on The Block may get confused from time to time, your real estate agent should be a professional and reliable source for information on all things real estate.

Whether it’s the types of homes and amenities found in your chosen area, or the property you’re selling – an in-the-know agent will be able to use their skills to make the house hunting process a smooth one.

6. Do they know how to maximise results?

The big one. A large part of being a great real estate agent is getting you the best possible financial result for your property.

Education in this field is key. You’re looking for someone, with “a sound understanding” of real estate, so that they can “spend more time making an impact,” according to Morton.

Always look for how an agent has performed on previous sales before engaging with them. Picture: Getty

This means doing your research on your agent – how have they gone with previous sales in the area? Do they come recommended? Where did they study? Are they looking to put in due diligence for your property when it comes to advertising, negotiating, and online enquiries? Do they have access to online databases and understand how to operate in both the online and in-person world?

Ensure your agent comes with the skills, education and experience from a reputable real estate education provider and company to get you the best deal on your property.

7. Do they provide good service?

Buying and selling property is one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions you will ever make in your life.

You want to ensure the person handling this for you not only understands the market, property and how to get results, but above all, is personable, friendly, and professional, and handles their clients with merit, ethics, and care.

“Having an agent that can not only hit the ground running when you first engage them, but who can also provide the professionalism of keeping you informed at all stages is what separates the good agents from the bad,” Morton says.

You will be building a relationship with this person and trusting them with one of your biggest assets, so with your real estate agent, proactive and reliable communication in a timely fashion is key to getting you popping the champagne and making the sale a success for everyone involved.