When you’re new to all this it can be hard to know what to ask different companies when you’re researching and comparing them. We’ve done the hard work for you and come up with 10 questions that you absolutely must ask before listing with anyone.
1. Do you have a real estate license in my state, and what is the license number?
This one is critical. A company who is not licensed in your state cannot list properties from that state on realestate.com.au. If they try to list a property where they are not licensed, the listing can be removed by realestate.com.au at any time leaving you out of pocket. What’s more, without a license in your state, the company is not qualified to provide you with expert advice on your sale. Don’t let a company just tell you they have a license, get the number from them and make sure it checks out. It’s also a good idea to check their licenses in states besides yours as in the past, companies have had all their listings nationwide removed from realestate.com.au for breaking the rules in just one state.
2. What is the full and final cost of your service including GST? Is there anything this cost doesn’t include?
Before signing with anyone make sure you know the amount you have to pay to the dollar. Some cowboys in the industry still advertise base prices that do not include everything pictured on their website.
3. How long have you been in business?
Given that many companies in the industry now operate on an “until sold or leased” model you want to make sure the company you choose has been doing business for some time, and will continue to do so.
4. Do you have your own realestate.com.au and domain.com.au accounts or do you list through another company? Have you ever been suspended from these websites?
If the company has had problems with realestate.com.au in the past or does not have their own account then your risk of having your listing disappear is much greater. Considering this is generally the centrepiece of what you’re buying, it’s worth checking on.
5. How do you handle phone enquiries, and email enquiries?
There’s no point marketing your property if buyers can’t get in touch with you quickly and easily. Find out how the company handles enquiries and which aspects of this are automated.
6. What kind of support do you offer?
If you haven’t sold a property before or aren’t tech savvy this question is crucial. Inform yourself on any limits placed on support, and how the support is offered. For example, is support by both phone and email included? Will the help be from a general staffer or for someone qualified?
7. How are listing changes handled?
Some companies will have invested in automated software that allows you to make an unlimited number of changes to your listing any time of day. Other companies may be relying on you to email changes for them to make manually when staff are available.
8. How do you protect my listing in regards to realestate.com.au’s Acceptable Use Policy?
You may not have been aware of it, but realestate.com.au has a list of rules about what you can and can’t have in your ad. If you break these rules, your listing can be suspended. You should be comfortable that the company you choose is familiar with these rules and will monitor your listing changes to protect you.
9. Can you put me in touch with a current or past client who is willing to discuss their experience?
Some companies have many testimonials, others do not. This, as well as any negative reviews of the company should form part of your judgement but nothing beats speaking directly to someone who has used the company themselves. If the company is confident in their customer service they should have no problem with this.
10. What is the best price you can give me and are you willing to put this in writing?
Companies can make all kinds of promises, but too often these aren’t honoured so if you get a special deal, make sure you have this in writing. This also enables you to shop around and argue for a better price.
If you’d like to put these questions to us, or need any advice at all don’t hesitate to get in touch!