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The difference between choosing the right real estate agent and the wrong one when selling your property can cost you 10’s, even 100’s of thousands of dollars on the sale price.

By taking the time to carefully evaluate potential agents, you can ensure that you’ll find the agent who will best represent your interests and maximise the value of your home. 

With over 15 years in the industry, we’ve seen firsthand the impact a skilled real estate agent can have on the home-selling process.

We’ve created this guide on how to choose a real estate agent when selling your home to help you find the right seller for your needs.

Our insights today include direct quotes and advice from Luke Carter, Harcourts Caloundra’s esteemed principal agent. 

You’ll learn the key factors we recommend using and how to narrow down your top candidates to choose your ideal agent.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Research Local Reputable Agencies with Established Property Experts

The number one thing you can do to ensure your property achieves the highest possible sale price is to take the time to thoroughly research the agent and agency you choose to represent you and your property. 

For most people, their principal home is their highest-value asset so you need to refrain from settling for the agent with the lowest commission fees or betting on the first agent you come across. 

You need to spend the time to find a long-established property expert with the skills and expertise to protect you from the biggest risk in the industry which is underselling.

It’s important that you look for agents who have a long and consistent track record through changing market cycles.

With nearly 20 years of real estate experience and 17 of those as a principal business owner, I have employed a lot of sales agents over the years and one thing I can tell you for certain is the experience and ability of your chosen agent has the biggest outcome on your sale price.

One piece of advice Luke recommends is:

LC: “Ask your prospective agent whether they’ve ever sold or bought a home themselves. It’s one thing to have experience selling other people’s homes, but it’s another thing to understand the stress and anxiety of going through the process of buying or selling a property yourself. Only someone who has gone through this process truly understands the importance of being prepared, keeping clients informed and following up with both the seller and potential buyers.”

Local Market Expertise

Selecting a real estate agent with in-depth knowledge of the local market is crucial when selling your home. 

An agent who understands the unique characteristics, trends, and buyer demand in your neighbourhood will be better equipped to price your property competitively, develop an effective marketing strategy, and identify the most qualified buyers. 

Look for an agent who can demonstrate their familiarity with your area through their sales history, market insights, and understanding of the local community.

LC: “Be very careful of agents quoting exciting prices with no real credible data and recent comparable sales to back up their estimated figures. And when they do provide these comparables, it’s important to ask them why and how they think your property compares to the recent sales they’re providing. While it is important to have an agent who believes in your property, they must provide real evidence when quoting a number. It’s a huge red flag when an agent won’t give you a price or side steps around giving a price.”

Pick the Agent, Not the Agency

While it’s important to work with a reputable real estate company, the agent you work with directly will be the one responsible for handling the day-to-day aspects of selling your home. 

Focus on the individual agent’s skills, experience, and personal approach, rather than just the agency they represent. 

Choosing an agent you trust and believe will best represent your interests can make a significant difference in the overall experience and outcome of the home-selling process.

LC: “It’s vital that you still physically visit their office and see if their business is a reflection of what they are selling you. Especially if it’s a brand you’re not familiar with. It’s common for real estate agents to be disingenuous and market themselves as a large full-service agency when in fact, they’re a one-person team working from their home office. It’s not uncommon for these smaller set-ups to have minimal training and real-world experience.”

Proof They Can Sell a Property Like Yours

When evaluating potential real estate agents, it’s important to ensure that they not only have a proven track record of successful home sales within your local area, but also have experience selling homes similar to yours in terms of size, price range, and property type. 

An agent who has successfully marketed and sold properties comparable to your own is more likely to be able to effectively promote your home and achieve the best possible outcome. 

Take the time to review the agent’s sales history and ask for examples of how they have handled the sale of homes like yours in the past.

We’d also recommend that you assess the average days their listings spend on the market and the sale prices compared to the original list prices.

LC: “If you want to take it a step further, ask potential agents how many street records they’ve achieved in your area. Agents who can prove that they’ve achieved multiple sales records in streets within your community show that they’re willing to go the extra mile to sell you home for as much as possible.”

Prioritise Number of Sales Over Number of Listings

When comparing potential real estate agents, it’s important to focus on their actual sales performance rather than just the number of listings they have. 

An agent with fewer listings but a higher sales volume may be more effective at selling homes than an agent with a large number of listings but a lower sales rate. 

Look for an agent who can demonstrate a consistent track record of successfully closing home sales in your local market.

Word of Mouth Matters

Tapping into the power of word-of-mouth can be an invaluable way to identify a reliable and effective real estate agent. 

Ask your friends, family members, and neighbours for referrals and recommendations of agents they have worked with successfully in the past. 

This feedback can provide valuable insights into an agent’s communication skills, negotiation abilities, and overall commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for their clients. 

Taking the time to gather these personal recommendations can help you feel confident that you’re choosing an agent who will truly prioritise your interests throughout the home-selling process.

LC: “On top of talking to those close to you, ask prospective real estate agents for the phone numbers of the last three vendors they have sold homes for. Verify online that these, in fact, are the most recent homes they have sold and not just their favourite clients, friends or family. Any professional agent will be happy to provide this and if they have done the right thing by their clients the clients will be happy to take a call and vouch for them.”

How to narrow down your top candidates

Watch the Agents in Action

Observing a real estate agent in action at an open house or auction can be a revealing way to assess their skills and approach. 

Look for an agent who demonstrates a high level of professionalism, strong communication abilities, and a genuine enthusiasm for promoting the property. 

Pay attention to how they interact with potential buyers – do they actively engage with them, answer their questions, and highlight the home’s key features? 

An agent who can effectively showcase a property and generate genuine buyer interest is more likely to achieve the best possible outcome when it comes time to sell your own home. 

Seeing the agent in their element will give you valuable insight into their marketing prowess and negotiation tactics, helping you determine if they are the right fit to represent your interests.

Listen to your Instincts

If you’ve completed all of the due diligence above and you’re in the final stages of selecting the real estate agent who will be selling your property, Trusting your instincts is the most important thing we believe you can do.

You want to make sure the agent you choose is the person you have the most genuine connection with and will feel comfortable working with throughout the home-selling process. 

It could be an agent who says all the right things but your gut is telling you that something is just not quite right.

Or, it could be an agent from a smaller company who has gone above and beyond in answering your questions compared to the agents who have the most listings.

Whatever the situation is when you’re trying to find an agent to sell your property, listening to your instincts pays off almost every time.

Looking for a real estate agent in Caloundra to sell your property?

If you’re based on the Sunshine Coast or surrounds and are considering selling your property, we can provide you with all the information and tools you need to maximise the value of your property.

With a proven track record of over 1,000 property sales here on the Sunshine Coast, we genuinely care about achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. 

Call us on 07 5438 1177 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation or property valuation and to find out how we can leverage our knowledge and experience to tailor a solution that is unique to your requirements.

If you’re looking to maximise the value of your property, we’ll teach you all of the secrets we’ve learnt over the years whilst running Harcourts Caloundra and throughout our real estate careers.

Our insights today include direct quotes and advice from Luke Carter, Harcourts Caloundra’s esteemed principal agent. 

With over 15 years of experience and more than $1 billion in Sunshine Coast real estate sales to date, Luke’s expertise offers invaluable advice for homeowners looking to increase their property’s market appeal and value. 

Keep reading to uncover the secrets to successful property improvements with advice from one of the industry’s best.

How to strategically add to your property to increase value

When brainstorming ways to increase your property’s value, Luke believes that – 

LC: There are really only two ways to add value to a property.

The first and easiest strategy is to let the market improve and the price increase naturally with the rising market.

As they say, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ however, in our experience, the can require time or luck and maybe a bit of both.

During my time as a real estate agent, If you’re patient and can hold your property long enough, the market will deliver an increase in value.

The only other way to add value is to improve the property by either adding to the property or improving what already exists.

With this in mind, let’s learn more about adding to the property vs improving what already exists. 

By the end of this blog, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t for both strategies and be ready to implement some of these into your own property.

Strategy 1: Adding to the property

The first strategy property owners use to maximise the value of their property without any change in the market is through significant additions and improvements.

This involves adding infrastructure or volume to an existing dwelling with the hopes that buyers will be willing to pay more for these upgrades.

You should keep in mind, that this strategy is usually a much more drawn-out and costly process, often requiring approvals and work from major contractors. 

If done incorrectly, you risk minimal return on your investment resulting in you breaking even or even losing money. 

The rewards however can lead to a substantial increase in property value that exceeds the initial investment and significantly boosts the property’s appeal.

The most important question to ask yourself if you’re considering improving your property’s value in this manner is: “Is this change going to make the property more livable or improve the natural advantage of a position?”.

Let’s take a look at strategies that Luke has found to have worked for previous clients, and strategies he’s found that haven’t.

Strategies that work

In our experience, additions that create a bigger and better living space for larger families have the potential to add the most value.

LC: When looking at additions that yield a strong ROI, we’ve found historically that adding more bedrooms, another bathroom or vehicle storage can most definitely add more value.

Although this is a larger project, we’ve also found owners who take advantage of their strategic position and add another level that provides an ocean view have also seen a great ROI.

While not all properties are situated by the ocean, if you have any opportunity to improve the view from your home, this is an upgrade that could pay dividends when it comes time to sell your property. 

With projects like this however, we always recommend that you speak to your local property valuer. 

Other additions that have generated a strong increase in property value include:

  • Adding a deck, patio or outdoor kitchen
  • Building a granny flat to rent out (Be careful with budgeting) 

Not all extensions are created equal, however. Keep reading to learn what strategies don’t add value.

Strategies that don’t work

LC: We’ve found that in the past, adding smaller improvements like a front fence, solar power or an EV charging station don’t necessarily increase a property’s value.

While these additions can definitely improve the salability of a home, in a lot of instances, the value added may only equal the money initially outlaid.

While “going big or going home” isn’t necessarily what we’re trying to say here, ask yourself the question we recommended you should consider earlier in the blog – ”is this change going to make the property more livable or improve the natural advantage of a position?”

Other additions we’ve found that haven’t added value for clients we’ve worked with include:

  • Specialised rooms like home theatres or wine cellars
  • Swimming pools

Again, if you’re unsure about whether or not an addition you want to build will maximise the value of your property, we recommend you speak to a real estate professional who has experience with property valuations.

Strategy 2: Improving what already exists

The second way to add value to your property is to work with and improve what is already in place.

This strategy generally costs less than additions and extensions, and can significantly improve your home’s value while often requiring no approval from council or building certifiers. 

Let’s see Luke’s top 4 recommendations for improving what already exists.

Tip Number 1: Increase your properties street appeal

LC: Our number one recommendation for people who want to add value to their property is to improve what people see first.

Improving your street or curb appeal is where we see the biggest impact on sale price.

A home that is appealing from the street often achieves a much better outcome and is quite often the most cost-effective improvement.

Some examples of front yard improvements include:

  • Freshly laid turf
  • Re-landscaping the front yard
  • Re-sealing the driveway
  • Replacing an old roller door with a more modern design 

For those on a budget, you don’t necessarily need to spend big to see an increase in home value.

LC: Something as small as adding a few nice established feature plants when landscaping the front yard can make a huge difference when compared to planting small cheaper plants it is a small cost addition but will make a big impact.

With the right vision you can find that upgrades with relatively minor costs have big impacts and are often overlooked. 

Tip Number 2: Spend money where buyers will see it

Our second most important tip when adding value via a renovation is to make sure you spend the money where buyers will see it as it is these places that make the biggest impact. 

LC: Completely rewiring a home is not going to have the same impact as a new state-of-the-art kitchen just as a new back fence won’t have the same impact as re-landscaping the front yard and laying fresh turf.

While the obvious choices for improvements with this tip in mind are your kitchen and bathroom, as you’ll see in tip 3, it’s not always the largest investments that generate the biggest increase in value. 

Tip Number 3: Smaller investments can have the biggest impact

While larger-scale renovations can improve your property’s value as well as provide a positive ROI if done in the right way, there are a range of more affordable updates that can add value without breaking the bank. 

LC: Internally, adding fresh paint and new floor coverings are relatively small outlays that can generate a big impact.

If you want to step it up, new kitchens and bathrooms always have appeal but be careful about blowing out your budget and the design you choose.

Loud designs that are too on-trend can actually hurt the overall value and saleability of your property as you’ll learn in tip number 4.

Tip Number 4: Leave your design flair for things that can be easily removed

Be careful when making design choices that might not appeal to those who will be eventually looking to buy your house.

LC: Designs that might be the “It-thing” can quickly be a defining feature that can instantly date a property even only a year down the track when a season changes and new on-trend designs appear.

Our advice is to stick to neutral colours and leave your design flair to things that can easily be removed like furniture and soft furnishings like rugs and décor.

This actually makes it a lot easier for those who are purely improving their property to sell and shows you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to make your property stand out. 

By sticking to what works, your property will appeal to a wider range of buyers.

Tip Number 5: Make sure you have a clean house when going to market

Of all the things you can do to add value Luke’s number one tip is to ensure your property is clean and tidy. 

LC: In our experience, cleanliness is the most cost-effective method of adding value to your home.

Everyone’s version of “clean” is different and it can sometimes be beneficial to engage the services of a professional house cleaning team to help you prepare for the sale.

They’ll know all the areas to focus on that are often overlooked.

While this is such a simple tip, you’d be amazed at how much value this simple step can add to your home when it comes time to sell. 

Recent trends that could help improve property value

Outside of the strategies and tips we provided above, being switched on to new trends and adapting your property to meet these recent demands is another strategy you can implement to improve the value of your property. 

Pet-friendly properties

If you have the opportunity to make your property more pet-friendly, you could find that buyers might be willing to pay more for a home that caters to this need.

LC: We are seeing a lot more emphasis on a property’s suitability for pets.

Pets have always been loving family members but we are seeing more than ever people looking for a property with an area for their fur baby or properties located within walking distance to dog-friendly parks or beaches.

we have also seen a big push for townhouses over apartments with downsizers still wanting to retain a small courtyard for their pet.

Properties that don’t have wall-to-wall carpet, have space for pets to play, and don’t have any easy escape hazards etc… will be more appealing to this sector of the market. 

Resort-style outdoor areas

LC: When it comes to top-end houses we are definitely seeing a big trend of resort-style outdoor areas.

These generally contain complete outdoor kitchens and even outdoor bar areas where people can entertain at home in an environment that would rival a tropical holiday.

While this isn’t attainable for all properties, upgrading your current outdoor hosting area if your budget allows can still produce a positive ROI.

Creating privacy

While not so much a recent trend, creating privacy is a theme that isn’t discussed often enough when it comes to these topics.

One of the top things we see people looking for in any property is privacy.

People want privacy at all costs and it is the number one thing we see people looking for in all circumstances and property types.

Investments that help create privacy whether that’s through fencing, landscaping, privacy screens or curtains have the potential to increase the overall value of a property.

Again, if you want to know what option would work best in your local area, we recommend that you speak to your local property valuer

Get started maximising your property value today

Maximising your property’s value involves strategic improvements and keeping up-to-date with current trends. 

Whether through additions or refining what’s already there, the correct improvements can significantly impact your ROI. 

If you’re on the Sunshine Coast and considering your property’s potential, don’t leave it to chance. 

Reach out to Harcourts Caloundra today for a professional property valuation

Unlock your home’s true value with expert advice from our team and take the first step towards boosting your investment today.

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