Real estate agents in Australia, let alone the world, may not be ranked very high on the trustworthy list, but just like everything, it’s usually a minority that give the industry a bad name. For the most part, real estate agents do try to do good, but when you’re dealing with such an emotional sale, whether it’s the agents fault or not… it’s always the agents fault.
Now, in saying that, there are some horrible people in our industry and they are amazing at deceiving people into transactions that will leave a more than sour taste in your mouth. These are the ones you must look out for and by no means is this an easy task. These are people who spend their entire career training themselves on learning how to win listings the wrong way, using people’s emotions against them to make themselves look amazing and then crushing owners’ dreams when it comes to the final negotiations.
So how do you avoid falling into their traps? The only answer I have is to always remain as objective as you can throughout the hiring process. Real estate is geared by emotion, it’s your biggest asset and you want to make sure you put your future in the right hands. We get this, so there are some of us that go about that the right way, deploying a huge amount of honesty on the process and how to achieve the greatest outcome, which mind you most people don’t want to hear. Then there are the agents who will work your greed against you and sucker you in through inflated appraisals, cheap commissions and advertising and add you to the list of other sellers that have fallen for the same tricks.
Inflated appraisals, otherwise known as overpricing, are the most common way to win a seller over. It’s very easy to sell you a price and essentially buy your listing. The best part is when agents do this, they generally aren’t asked to back that up with any real data, because both seller and agent know, there isn’t any. But that’s ok, because we all love living in fairy land and at worst you can blame the agent for the horrible result, rather than yourself for making a worse decision to hire them. So, how do you get around this? Easily, ask for data to back up their appraisal. An agent should provide you with numerous properties that are like yours and sold in your area. This needs to be a physical report which you can do further research by looking at photos and floorplans to see how similar they are and what they sold for. The only thing you must do is not lie to yourself and think your property is better than everyone else’s if it isn’t.
Buying into discount agents is the next trap, this is the one that is usually accompanied quite well with inflated appraisals and should tell you a lot about an agent. Firstly, let’s discuss commissions. Now, it doesn’t mean you must go with the agent who has the highest commission, it’s more about how a commission is agreed upon. An agent who negotiates their self-worth, is an agent to consider. Though one who drops their pants from the start, should raise questions about how well they will negotiate the best price for your property. From one percentage to another, you are talking only about a few thousand dollars, though the wrong agent will most likely leave tens of thousands of dollars on the table. Personally, I would be feeling a little more secure knowing my agent is a pro negotiator.
The next little trap is advertising. Once we’ve got passed the first two obstacles, we fall into this mindset that we shouldn’t spend any money on marketing our biggest asset. I never completely understood how owners choose not to expose their property to the masses when looking to secure the best price. Advertising is your security for your future, it is the one thing that will bring multiple interested parties to your doorstep ready to fight each other to win your property. Why on Earth would you cheapen at this stage, is beyond me. But, as soon as we here the words ‘free advertising’ or ‘cheap advertising’, we think, well if it’s online, we’ll capture all the buyers we need to sell the property. Yes, you only need one buyer to sell your property, but you need multiple to set a record and setting records means you just made a lot more money than you were expecting. I don’t know one owner who wouldn’t take an extra fifty thousand dollars if it was given to them or even an extra five hundred dollars. If your agent hasn’t sold you the benefits of exposing your property and provided you with a marketing strategy that is going to draw in the most potential buyers across all mediums, then I’m pretty sure you just picked the wrong agent.
In the end, this sale will change the course of your life. Who you choose to be a part of that journey does matter and isn’t dictated with lies and cheap tricks. Don’t be foolish with this decision, the agent you choose matters and at the end of the process you will either have an amazing story to tell your friends and family while you happily move to the next stage of your life or you will be filled with bitterness and join the rest of the population who fell for the tricks of the real estate agent.
The following advice is of a general nature and intended as an opinion and broad guide. For all legal, financial or real estate advice you should obtain independent professional advice to do with the specific nature of your circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions.