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6 questions to ask before choosing a real estate agent


If you’re looking to sell your house in a buyers’ market, it’s possible to do so and still make a good profit. All you’d need is the right agent for the job!

© Maridav | Getty Images

So, what are some of the ways which you can weed out the good ones from the bad apples? You can start by running a search online for real estate agents/negotiators and read their reviews, or even get recommendations through word-of-mouth.

Once you’ve selected a few, it’s time to meet them and probe further. You should be asking them as many hard-hitting questions as you possibly can – Not only will it give you a sense of how the potential real estate agent is like, it will also give you a glimpse into his/her personality. Here’s our pick of the top six:

1. Do you have any credentials to show me?

Your agent should be registered with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents & Property Managers (BOVAEAP) Malaysia. BOVAEAP  functions as a regulatory body to ensure that real estate agents (REA) and real estate negotiators (REN) all adhere to a code of ethics. Also, both REAs and RENs have to undertake additional training/testing to gain proper certification.

Only then will you be assured of professional levels of service – the person you choose will be duty-bound to act in your best interests with integrity and fidelity.

2. How long have you been in the industry?

© rf123

When it comes to property dealings, experience counts so the more years that agent has been practising, the better he or she will be….., right? Not really. Experience does not necessarily guarantee skill and competency, although someone with the proper training certifications and a portfolio of good reviews should assure you that this professional knows what he or she is doing.

Look for someone with both the clout and right attitude, someone who is competent enough to handle the transaction from A – Z,  and most importantly possess the enthusiasm and motivation to secure the right buyer for you.

READ: What is the difference between property agents and real estate negotiators?

3. Are you an area specialist?

A savvy property owner will not only scrutinise an agent’s past performance, but he/she will also seek a professional who has had a great track record of selling properties in the neighbourhood. Having an area specialist is an advantage as he or she will not just be selling your property, but the neighbourhood as well.

This agent will be able to advise potential purchasers on the current and upcoming infrastructure plans including transportation links, amenities/facilities as well as other factors that might affect the value of your property including crime rates and traffic conditions.

One follow-up question to ask the potential realtor is this: Are they familiar with your property type and its price range? This gives you an idea of who ideally has the potential to capture the attention of buyers and retain their interest to consequently close the deal.

4. How do you determine the selling price?

High rise property price appreciation in Taman Desa
©Andrii Yalanskyi /123rf

An exemplary realtor real estate agent or negotiator is one who keeps up to date with the market going-ons and the transaction activity of similar properties in the area. Such knowledge will come in handy when the time comes to settle on the appropriate price for your own property.

A listing price that is too high will be passed over by potential buyers and it will take you ages to secure one.

A price that is too low meanwhile, will be a plain loss!

Make sure to ask each agent what are the other additional costs of selling your property, including the commission and closing fees. You can then compare the rates between agents before making a decision.

5 What are your sales plan and the duration?

Technological advances have helped broken down geographical boundaries and people are now more connected than ever before. You are going to want a real estate agent or negotiator who not only relies on impressive people skills and the traditional medium of advertising but also someone who is technologically savvy, especially when it comes to reaching out to potential purchasers via social media personal online sites.

The realtor must have a well-thought-out marketing plan that details how he/she intends to maximise the exposure of your property to the masses through various methods, including hosting open houses. They should also be able to give you a rough timeframe of how long it will take to sell your property, based on historical data. If he/she is also able to justify their plan with reasons such as whether your area is a property hotspot or not, all the better for you to discern if the potential candidate has integrity or not.

MORE: What to do if your ‘new’ property has defects & 4 other must-knows about Defect Liability Period (DLP)

6. What should I do to get my house ready?

© Kate Griffin/Getty

Once a real estate agent or negotiator has seen one property, he/she would probably have seen it all. An experienced professional would have developed a sharp eye over time to spot any noticeable flaws in your property that could potentially impact the selling price. Have a sit-down and grill your potential candidate for advice on any necessary repairs or renovations, or if it just needs a deep cleaning and a declutter session.

The good ones will even be able to suggest helpful hacks (read: budget-friendly) on how to prep your property for house viewings, therefore improving potential buyers’ first impressions. Alternatively, check out simple home renovation ideas here.

*This article was repurposed from 6 important questions to finding the right realtor, first published on

Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. Malaysia Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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