How to choose the right real estate agent for you

Sarah Millar

Sarah Millar

30 Oct 2020, 5:55am

There are a number of decisions you need to make when selling your home – both financial and emotional.

But one of the most important considerations when deciding to list your property is who is going to sell it for you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling the family home, your first apartment or an investment property. Choosing the right real estate agent is key to getting the best result possible for your property.

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While everyone approaches the sale of a home differently, there are some key things you should look for when choosing an agent to list your property with.

Here are our six top tips on choosing a real estate agent.

1. Do your research

As with anything in property, research is key.

McGrath St Kilda Principal Michael Townsend says you should look for an agent with a history of strong results in your suburb.



“Metrics like average days on market or auction clearance rates are incredibly important when selecting your agent. They give a clear insight into what it’s like to work with that agent, and what to expect from that outcome,” he says.

Find agents working in your area and put together a shortlist. Look at things like how many listings they have, their previous sales, and how they market both properties and their agency.

“Don’t just look at who has the most ads in paper or the most listings,” says REINSW Deputy President and Cunninghams Real Estate Principal John Cunningham . “Listen to recommendations from family and friends.”

Ask yourself: Is now the right time to sell your home? 

2. Go for local knowledge

When you meet with agents, find out how long they’ve worked in the area and test them on their local knowledge.

According to Ric Serrao, Director of Raine & Horne Double Bay, finding an agent with a deep understanding of the local market is as important as finding one with proven experience of selling the type of property you’re selling.

“Question their local knowledge and ask about recent sales,” he says. “You need to make sure that they are the right agent for you and your property.”

A good real estate agent should know as much about the property and the locality as the vendor.

This shows they’re invested in the local area and have a good understanding of the marketplace. It will also help them bring extra energy to the sale of your home.

“(They should know) what the local schools are, what is the zoning, what are the local bus routes, what’s the local coffee like … that’s really important to people,” Cunningham says.

“They need to really have an understanding of the marketplace.”

3. Take them for a test drive

Your agent is presenting your home to the public, so it’s important to see how they engage with buyers.

Go to open for inspections that your shortlisted agents are running to see how they present properties and how they interact with buyers.


The right agent will be respectful and transparent to clients during the selling process.

Cunningham says 80% of the decision making process when buying a property is emotional, so agents should know what buyers are going to respond to.

“The agent that’s going to get the best result is the agent who looks after buyers the best,” he says.

“The agent people should be looking for is someone who can engage and nurture buyers.

“Respect and transparency is going to get the best outcome.”

4. Ask questions, lots of questions

Remember that the more you know, the better prepared you’ll be for the sales campaign.

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Ask agents to take you through case studies of other property sales and to talk you through how the sale happened and how the results were achieved.

Ask them why they use certain approaches and what they think will work best for your property and why.

“A result isn’t just a result – what led to the result is important,” Cunningham says.

“A result doesn’t just happen without giving good advice and having a good experience.”

Remember: The key to a successful sale is thinking like a buyer

5. Set benchmarks early

Any good real estate agent should come armed with a strategy to sell your home so make sure you set clearly defined objectives and check in regularly to see how the agent is tracking.

Cunningham says a selling strategy should include points on presentation, marketing and negotiation so vendors can make decisions at the start of the campaign.

“Lay everything out upfront and then test them on delivery – set your benchmarks upfront.”

Bexley auction

6. Make sure you’re comfortable

The last point is perhaps the most important – are you comfortable having this real estate agent sell your home?

Cunningham says property sales are essentially a partnership between the agent and the vendor, with both working to achieve the same goal.

“What feels right is usually what is right,” he says.

“And be careful of discounts. A discount in fees usually means a discount in the sale price.”