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Andrew Winter, host of Selling Houses Australia.

CANT sell your home? You could be making one of the most common mistakes that stands in the way of a property sale.

Recently I have been involved with a few houses that just would not sell. Nothing unusual there of course in this market. However there has been a common factor that has stood in the way – admittedly it is nothing new, but I don’t think it hurts to let you in on this if you are about to sell up.

The biggest house selling mistake is not choosing a local agent. Of course there are vendors who chose a non local agent and sell quickly for the right price, there are exceptions to every real estate rule. However, deciding against a local agent is an easy to avoid error.

In the recent cases I was involved with, we saw perfectly non local good agents struggling and not getting a sale simply because they had to do a lot more legwork and research than someone who had local expertise.

What constitutes a local agent?

Local by definition has evolved in recent years. It used to mean their office needed to be local – a smart big space on the main street with lots of windows featuring masses of homes. But now that may not be the case. By local, I it should be an agent with a strong sales record in your area, even better if it is homes in a similar price banding and type to yours.

A local agent in urban and suburban areas is someone who is active in your actual suburb and its immediate surrounds. However, in regional and rural locations the area is much wider. But that local rule applies, look for an agent with sale records of properties similar to yours in the same vicinity.

The geographical area becomes broader with certain property types where buyers tend to be less suburb specific. This can mean acreage, holiday houses or general lifestyle properties. So if you are selling in this category, look at agents selling in your area first and then work outwards to find someone who has expertise in selling the real estate type similar to your own.

You should choose a local agent because the fact the agents has had recent sales in your area means he or she will have an active database for your property, before it even goes to market.

A good local agent will really know your area and how to sell it and be able to reference other sales and market history.

They are likely to be able to best upsell your home because they will know how to compare it in the marketplace and encourage buyers with a confident and honest sales pitch.

Remember it is not about where an agent puts his office. The new local is about the agent with the best local sales record.

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