17 March 2023

Should you go with the agent who suggests the highest selling price?

| Dione David
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Canberra houses

It’s tempting to go with the agent who promises the highest selling price – but you might want to think twice before you sign. Photo: File.

When shopping around for an agent to get the best sale result for your property, it’s tempting to simply opt for the one who forecasts the biggest sale price – but seller beware, a leading agent cautions.

At last count, LJ Hooker Dickson owner Stephen Bunday had sold almost 1300 properties in his 27 years in the industry. He says sellers should examine all promises and “follow their gut”.

“I think everyone wants to think their house is worth the biggest number an agent is willing to throw out there, but if an agent is saying they can get you $100,000 more for your property than anyone else, they have to be able to back that up,” he says.

“Do they have any recent comparable sales? How did they arrive at that price?”

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Stephen says property sales are “a numbers game”.

“Not only because it means more exposure but also because, in general, the more people you get through, the more competition you’re creating around the property. And quite simply, the better the competition, the higher the price,” he says.

“A property’s sale is often an emotional business; fear of loss can play an important role.”

He adds, however, that when it comes to buyer databases, quality is as important as quantity. The most valuable database is one well populated by what agents refer to as “qualified buyers”.

“If there’s a buyer for your property out there, chances are we have already met them,” he says.

These might seem like remarkably confident words, but he has the numbers to back them up.

In Canberra and Queanbeyan, LJ Hooker has 15 offices connecting more than 200 real estate professionals that clocked in 2346 sales last year – an average of 45 a week.

This success is billed as a case of daylight coming in second, with no other agency coming close.

LJ Hooker agent Stephen Bunday

LJ Hooker Dickson real estate agent Stephen Bunday advises looking past the “sales speak” to an agent’s track record. Photo: LJ Hooker.

The company’s hook, so to speak, is what they call their “powerfully connected network” because the property business is all about who you know.

“You can’t underestimate the importance of connections in this industry,” Stephen says.

“A good agent works hard to maintain their connections and make themselves hard to walk away from when it comes time for a client to sell.”

In the current market, presentation and curbside appeal are playing a significant role in successful property sales – a departure from the norm, according to Stephen.

“For the first time in my 27-year career, buyers are moving away from the doer-upper,” he says.

“At the moment, the less a buyer perceives they have to do, the more they’ll pay because of the cost and difficulty of renovating.

“Before the cost of materials and labour shortages impacted the trades and construction industry, you rarely got bang for your buck renovating. Now it’s worthwhile at least to refresh, if you can manage it.”

READ ALSO The value of smart renovations in a cooling property market

Stephen says property aside, sellers want agents with experience and local knowledge.

“You want someone with the ability to market a home and to be able to reach the buyers, and that’s a hard thing for an owner to assess because all the agents are going to say, ‘we’ve got buyers, we have a huge database, we are on all the important websites, our socials are extremely active’ and so on,” he says.

“Choosing an agent is a difficult thing because the truth is, we can all sound a little the same.

“Try to look past the sales speak, to an agent’s track record.

“You want someone who knows the recent sales, what else is on the market, what your competition is, what the schools are like, what the local shops are like, if there are any highlights to the suburb – someone who knows the selling points.

“You also want a skilled negotiator who can guide both the buyer and the seller through it, and someone who is likeable and who operates with integrity.

“All of that is summed up in their track record. Go to the agent in your area who has the listings. Success leaves clues.”

To learn more about selling your property in the ACT, visit LJ Hooker.


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Agents can be way off. I recently sold a place for $400k more than the selling agent suggested I’d get

devils_advocate11:53 am 20 Mar 23

Never trust what any agent says. Take the property to auction and let the market dictate the price.

As a bonus sales under auction conditions offer more certainty from the sellers perspective as the only warranty is as to title. Private treaties are frought with back and forth prior to exchange and even settlement.

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