The ABCs of quizzing an agent

The ABCs of quizzing an agent

POSTED BY Ann Paterson ON 26 Apr 2019

After your life partner and career path, few decisions have more impact than who you engage to sell your property. Make a good choice and your bank balance and general health will prosper. A poor choice, however, will cost you precious time, money, and peace of mind. To help you choose an agent who is just right for you, it is paramount you ask these six key questions:

Can you provide vendor references?

A good agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to achieve the best price and sale outcome for your unique listing. As a consequence, they will impress their vendors and should not hesitate to put you in touch with past clients only too happy to sing their praises.


Ann Paterson Real Estate offers a boutique service, with strictly limited listings to guarantee that every client gets bespoke, personalized attention. Our satisfied vendors are happy to provide references.

2. Can you show me evidence of comparable sales in the past year?

Ask your agent to show you evidence of similar listings to your property, including advertised prices, sold prices and how long the properties were on the market. This will give you a good idea of their expertise with your particular asset type and buyer market.

3. What sales and marketing would work best for my property – and how much will it cost?

A-grade agents should be able to tailor a plan for your listing that reflects its unique features and the buyer market it will most suit. If it’s a top-end mansion in Double Bay, for example, be wary of a one-size-fits-all sales and marketing package. Conversely, beware of hefty fees or an extravagant sales and marketing package for your two-bedroom entry-level apartment in a high-demand location like Potts Point.

4. What is your sales commission fee?

An agent earns their living from commission fees earned when their listings sell. It’s important to understand what that fee is before signing an agreement with the agent.


Ann Paterson Real Estate, we offer a fixed rate commission. Being a small boutique agency, we keep our overheads to a minimum. We know what works and what does not work, and we pass these savings on to you.


  1. What digital platforms do you use?

A savvy agent in the 21st century will be a digital native, using online platforms and digital technology to market and promote listings, find buyers, and regularly communicate with their vendors and buyers.


Ask them what apps, devices, and software they use on a day-to-day basis, and how and why it works? Beware of agents who tell you they only use ‘old school’ methods to sell their vendors’ homes. In today’s world, it is a global buying market. Your ideal potential buyer may not live locally. You need to see evidence your agent is using appropriate technology to not only find that person but maintain a strong line of communication.

6. Do you capture previous buyer interest, and how do you use this to sell new listings?

This question will reveal if you are dealing with an organized agent who is committed to a long career in real estate.

At Ann Paterson Real Estate, we know that by investing time to keep rich databases of detailed information on past prospective buyers – buyers who may have missed out at auction or have specific property needs – we are actually sowing the seeds of future sales.

One way we do this is by talking to people at open house inspections and insisting on basic information including name, type of property they seek, phone numbers, and email addresses.

This way we can instantly send updates on new listings to this cohort, often before it goes live, and often resulting in fast off-market sales if the price is right.