16 October 2019

Use free market appraisals from selling agents to your advantage

Adrian Atelj
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Go to your letterbox and you’ll often find a free market appraisal offer from a selling agent. Designed primarily as the first contact point in what agents hope will be a life-long relationship, this obligation-free offer works both ways. You get some valuable ‘intel’ and the agent gets a chance to impress.

Free market appraisals are a great way to find out what your property is worth in today’s market, whether you’re thinking of selling or not. Simply call the agent and ask them to come around for a look-see and a chat.

To get a free market appraisal, you don’t have to be thinking of selling immediately, nor do you have to wait for an appraisal offer to turn up in your letterbox. Agents see every appraisal as the opportunity to start a relationship with a prospective client. They consider it worth their time to meet with you, regardless of your timeline on selling.

If you’re just interested in getting a general idea of value, call the leading agent in your area (the agent who has sold the most properties similar to yours for good, solid prices) and ask them for an appraisal. One opinion is enough to give you a general idea of the money you’re sitting on.

In addition to the appraisal, it’s also worth asking the agent for any renovating ideas to add value to your property. They can easily tell you what today’s buyers want in homes like yours.

However, if you are serious about selling, then you should get a minimum of three appraisals from three different agents. It’s worth getting a few opinions, as agents are not valuers and their price assessment will be influenced by market conditions and their own recent success in selling properties similar to yours.

It’s reasonable to expect that an agent’s selling estimate will be within 10% of your eventual selling price. If one agent has quoted much higher or lower than the others, ask them why. They could be more realistic than the other two agents, or they could be trying to ‘buy’ your listing with a more attractive selling price estimate than reality will likely deliver!

The quality of the agent’s marketing, their selling commission, track record and overall personality should also form part of your assessment as to the best agent to sell your home.

This transaction will have a major impact on your financial future and choosing the right agent is crucial. Every agent has a different level of skill and experience. A talented and dedicated agent is highly likely to deliver a superior selling price.

At a typical appraisal appointment, the agent will inspect your home and either answer all your questions on the spot, or deliver a written package of information within a day or so for you to review.

Your appraisal should include advice on how to present your property in its best light and whether any renovating ideas you’re considering are worth carrying out.

It should also include a marketing plan and budget, with recommendations on how to market your particular property and all the relevant costings.

“The cheapest place to market your home is on homes.com.au,” said homes.com.au Founder & Managing Director, Pat Carbone.

“We let agents upload standard advertisements free of charge. If the vendors want a premium listing for greater exposure, it only costs a few hundred dollars compared to thousands of dollars with the big two portals.”

Following the appraisal/s, you will probably receive a follow-up call and then a regular call every six months or so. The agent will also start emailing you details of their sales and other general communications.

“At the end of the day, you want someone who is highly skilled but also someone you feel comfortable with,” said Pat Carbone, Chairman and Founder.

“Selling can be very stressful and a trusting relationship with your agent can offset that quite a lot.”

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