Trying to sell your home in Israel does not have to be a dreaded task. The process can be made as easy as possible when you bring the right real estate agent on board. So how should you go about finding the right agent to suit your needs?
Selecting the right real estate agent to represent your interests is the first critical step in selling your property. This guide will provide a general outline for choosing your agent. What Makes a Great Real Estate Agent? I think an ideal agent should be:
- Honest and trustworthy
- An excellent negotiator
- Readily available by phone or e-mail
- Level-headed and calm during stressful situations
- Friendly, and a good communicator
- Intuitive, with good instincts regarding the sincerity of buyers
So, how can you find out whether a potential agent has these qualities?
Get a first impression: Give her a call and pay attention to phone presence. Remember, much of the future communication between you and your buyers with the agent will be conducted by phone. If you feel comfortable, it is likely that buyers will as well. Selecting an agent with whom you have good rapport will make the sales process much easier.
Ask questions: Don’t be shy about asking questions and interviewing the agent. Communication should be open and comfortable.
Request references: Request a list of sellers with whom the agent has worked in the past, and call a few of them. Ask about their experiences with the agent and how satisfied they were with her service.
Consider experience: Managing personal and professional issues that tend to arise during a real estate transaction require creativity and skill. No two deals are identical, and whether an agent is equipped to provide feasible and creative solutions for issues that arise depends heavily on how experienced she is.
SETTING UP A MEETING
When you have decided on the agent you want to use, call her back to set up a meeting. The agent should ask for some basic information about the property; size, outdoor space, the condition of the property and the ownership of the land (i.e.: private land, Israel Land Authority, church land). It is to your advantage to provide as much information as you have during this first conversation.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN AN INITIAL MEETING
Ideally, a first meeting takes place at the property so the agent can take a look and begin to familiarize herself with it. When I see a property for the first time, I walk through it with the owners and begin forming a profile for a potential buyer. After the agent has a good idea of the characteristics of your property, she should be able to show you a document called a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) which lists comparable properties that have recently sold in the area and their typical price range. This will give you an idea of how to position your property in the market. The agent should also provide you with a general marketing plan in writing and be familiar with services in the area (i.e.: schools, transportation, shopping, synagogues, etc). If you plan to purchase another property with the funds received from the sale or have already purchased another property and need the funds to meet a payment schedule, this is the time to discuss your needs with your agent. Should you require legal, financial or other types of assistance, your agent should be able to recommend real estate lawyers, mortgage brokers, building engineers and interior designers.
SHOULD WE GO EXCLUSIVE?
Exclusivity enables the agent to advertise with photos, work cooperatively with other agents and efficiently monitor the market reaction to your property. Non-exclusivity would tie the agent’s hands significantly, and therefore, the professionals work exclusively only. Listing your property with a reputable agent exclusively guarantees that someone has a vested interest in selling your home at the maximum price in a reasonable amount of time. Working non-exclusively has many pitfalls. While it may seem that allowing multiple agents to work on your property will increase the number of buyers viewing the property, the opposite is true. By choosing the non-exclusive route, expect the following:
- Agents are not required to advertise.
- The same buyers will show up with multiple agents and waste the sellers’ time.
- Agents rush to try and sell the property and beat other agents to the punch, often at the expense of the final selling price.
- Agent loyalty lies with buyers, with no obligation to report back to sellers.
WHAT IS THE BEST MARKETING PLAN OR STRATEGY FOR YOUR NEEDS? Exposure is essential to selling a property at the highest price possible. Your agent should be advertising online, in print and via multi listing services. Advertising should appear in Hebrew, English and possibly French, if relevant to your neighborhood. Photos of the property are a must.
CAN I SELL A PROPERTY IF I AM NOT IN ISRAEL? Absolutely! Today, communication couldn’t be easier, and selling a property does not require the owner to be in Israel. I have executed deals for clients whom I’ve never met face to face. Every aspect of the transaction can be managed remotely including power of attorney for final signing purposes.
Karen Hirshfeld of KH Properties resides in Jerusalem and has been in the field of residential and commercial real estate in Jerusalem for the past 10 years. She harnesses her dynamic marketing skills, vast experience, excellent people skills, and high professional standards to get her clients the best possible offers for their properties.
Karen can be reached at 052-850-5344 or karen.hirshfeld @gmail.com