Get a plan before you give a mandate

In the current real estate market, home sellers need to be sure that their estate agent has real marketing muscle – and is committed to using it.

And one of the best ways to do this, says new Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, is to ask an agent to give you a written marketing plan before you award a sole or exclusive mandate.

“This should clearly state what marketing channels your agent will use and also what financial and manpower resources will be committed - over what period of time – to the job of getting your property sold.

“It should for example provide not only for online and print advertising but also for the promotion of the property within the seller’s own suburb, as there is always a good chance of finding a buyer locally.

“On the other hand, the seller should be assured that the property will receive exposure through the agency’s own national and international referral network to source other possible buyers.”

The agreement between seller and agent should, says Gray, also contain:

* An undertaking that the agent will prepare a detailed market value report so that the probable selling price can be estimated based on recent sales of similar properties and currently competing properties in the same area;

* An undertaking that the agent will provide regular feedback on marketing progress and reviews of the property’s competitive position;

* An undertaking that the agent will prepare an estimate of selling expenses reflecting the estimated net cash the seller will receive from the sale; and

* An undertaking that the agent will ensure that prospective buyers are properly prequalified and able to afford the property.

“Having such a plan in hand,” he notes, “gives the seller peace of mind and helps to prevent all sorts of problems that can really put a spoke in a home sales campaign, such as under-advertising, a loss of interest on the part of the agent and, ultimately, a shop-soiled property that just won’t sell.”

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