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You are a property owner, and you’re looking to rent out or sell residential or commercial space. But you prefer someone else to take care of finding buyers or tenants. So you go in search of a real estate agent who knows how to handle the process, one who can sell your property or find tenants willing to pay decent money for it.

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It shouldn’t be hard to get an agent who’s ready to work with you. There are tons of them waiting for just the kind of opportunity you’re offering. However, it’s one thing to secure the services of a real estate agent, and quite another to land one who’s professional, honest, and thoroughly understands the property market.

There’s always a danger that you’ll run into the less desirable agents out there. If you’re unlucky to work with them, they’ll drain a lot of your time, money, and other resources, and fetch you little in return. They could even ruin your reputation as perceived by potential buyers and renters.

If you’d like to avoid the outcome we’ve just described, you’ll need to find out some basic things about the real estate agent you intend to hire. Ask them the following questions, and base your final decision on the answers they provide.

How Long Have You Been An Agent For?

Granted, not all great agents have several years of experience under their belts. But if you want to commit your property to safe hands, you might need to go with someone who’s been in business for a long while. The understanding they’ve gained through years of working in the field is crucial. It’ll enable them to make the right calls, negotiate better deals, and avoid potential pitfalls. That’s what you want in an agent.

What Do You Know About The Area?

It’s important that your real estate agent has a thorough knowledge of the area in which your property is located. They should know things like the current market price for properties in the district, demand for and supply of living or working spaces there (depending on what you’re offering the market), and other local trends.

They should also be able to describe the typical buyer or tenant that the area attracts, be aware of the growth of real estate in the area in recent times, and what property types are likely to be in vogue in the near future.

How Many Sales Have You Recently Made?

A real estate agent’s sales track record might offer an insight into their ability to source, manage, and close sales and tenancies. If you want to get your property sold or rented out in the shortest possible time, you’ll need to work with an agent who’s skilled at doing this.

Perhaps you won’t be able to learn how many successful deals a real estate agent has secured in the years since they began working. But they should be able to tell you how many they’ve done in the past three, six, or twelve months. The more sales they’ve closed, the higher the chance that they’ll be able to complete deals with buyers or tenants within a short period.

How Long Does It Take To Sell Or Rent Out Property?

This question will help you find out what a real estate agent considers a normal time span within which a deal may be completed. It’s something of a counterpart to the question we posed about the number of sales they’ve made recently. The shorter the time they expect a property to remain in the market for, the more likely it is that they’ll push to make the deal happen as quickly as possible.

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Be sure to ask this question specifically about houses or offices in the area within which your property is located. Find out how long it took them to sell or rent out spaces in that locality. This way, you’ll probe both their knowledge of the district’s real estate market and their ability to sell a property.

How Do You Intend To Find Buyers Or Tenants?

Your real estate agent should have a strategy for finding buyers or tenants. While it’s not unreasonable to expect prospects to come to them, this approach will probably not generate the buyer traffic that you want for your property.

Instead, your agent should have a network of other agents who may point potential buyers or tenants in your agent’s direction. They should also list your property on online real estate directories so that it’ll be seen by thousands of prospective clients.

Don’t settle for a real estate agent until and unless they share a reasonable strategy for acquiring buyers with you.

What Is Your Commission?

It’s up to you to decide what a fair commission would be (in percentage terms). You should discuss this with your prospective agent, and try to reach a deal that’s decent for both of you. Find out whether they’re also open to negotiating fees on a case-by-case basis, depending on the size of the revenue you’ll get from a sale.

Deciding on these things beforehand will limit the chances of a disagreement on payments in the future (something you’ll want to avoid).

Do You Work For Other Clients?

It’s perfectly normal for a real estate agent to work with multiple landlords and property owners. In fact, it’s a sign that they are legitimate; it’s unlikely that they’ll keep engaging property owners if they are fraudulent or not trustworthy.

However, if they’re trying to manage too many clients, they may not have enough time to attend to your needs. And if they aren’t working with any property owners, you’ll have to do extra due diligence to determine that they can be trusted.

How Can I Contact You?

Only work with an agent that you can reach– preferably one with a defined office address. You’ll want to make sure that you can contact them via multiple channels (e g. messaging platforms), not just via voice calls. It’s also crucial that they have referees, people you can get in touch with if the agent isn’t reachable at a particular moment. By ascertaining these things, you’ll reduce your chances of falling prey to fraudulent ‘agents’.

Final Words

Real estate agents don’t all guarantee the same quality of service, so you’ll need to be sure that you’re hiring one that you can trust. Asking them the questions we’ve talked out here should enable you to whittle down your options until candidates you can work with emerge.

Featured image source: Glosix Properties
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This article was first published on 17th March 2022


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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