Downsizing requires your time and energy, and it can be an emotional process, especially if you have lived in your home for many years.
To get through the experience with as little stress as possible, you need the help of the right real estate agent. Take a look at some tips to find a professional who will help you get top dollar for your home and feel like a friend throughout the process.
Choosing the right agent to help with downsizing
- Find someone local
An agent who is based in your area will have expert knowledge, right down to street and house level. The benefit of working with someone local is that they will also have an up to date list of interested buyers who want to make a purchase in your suburb. This will make the selling process easier and faster.
Work with someone based in your area and they can advise you about going to auction or selling by private treaty when you’re downsizing. They can also share the most up to date information about how much properties are selling for and which features local buyers are most excited about, which will help you manage your expectations.
- Do your research
Real estate agents who care about their results also care about their reputation. When you are researching local property professionals as part of the downsizing process, take a look at reviews on websites like RateMyAgent. See what other home sellers are saying and check dates to confirm they are from recent transactions. You will probably see some great feedback, which will give you more confidence about who you choose.
While you are researching agents, don’t forget to keep an eye on the local property market as well. Take a look at the types of homes that are listed and find out how much they are selling for. When you compare these places with your own home, look at room size, aspect, location and decor/home styling. You’ll start to notice how these affect final outcomes.
- Meet with agents
You will be working closely with your agent for several weeks, if not months, as part of the downsizing process, so it’s important you feel comfortable with them.
Before you make a decision, meet with prospective agents to hear what they have to say and see what your instincts tell you about working with them. You should feel that your agent is someone you can trust and that you like their way of operating.
Some agents are very kind and patient while others will encourage you to make decisions and take quick action. You have to be accepting of their approach or you will become frustrated. Ask a lot of questions during your initial meetings about downsizing and you will get to know each agent’s modus operandi.
Be wary of agents who promise to deliver a price that is far over and above what others are estimating. If their valuation of your home surprises you, be sure to ask why.
Once you have two or three appraisals, take your time and make a decision about who you want to help you downsize. Don’t forget to ask about how much commission you will pay (and check if the amount includes GST as agents won’t always include this in their quote).
- Be clear about what you want
Do you want a fast sale or are you willing to hold out for the perfect price? Will you buy before you sell, or sell first and request an extended settlement?
You may want your home to go to a lovely family or you might be fine with it being knocked down so the land can be redeveloped.
Your agent will take all these factors into account when preparing your strategy to sell, so be clear about what you want and make sure you and your partner (plus any closely involved family members) are on the same page.
Finally, don’t forget to read the fine print. Some agents are happy to collaborate with other operators in the area and some request the exclusive rights to sell your property for a specified time period. Make sure you’re clear on the contract requirements before you sign.
Your real estate agent is on your side. A quality professional will be patient and thoughtful, and will let you take your time because they understand the emotions involved with the process. If you choose well, your downsizing experience will be smooth and stress-free, and you will achieve a result that opens the door to an exciting new chapter.