It is more than annoying to professional estate agents that many people choose their agent for the totally wrong reason. This could be because it is a friend or family member or because the decision based on other emotional decisions like an unsubstantiated valuation designed to appeal to the owner’s ego rather than the reality of the current market.
Let’s look at the real reasons why a property sells. To make my point I will divide these reasons into three groups:
Asking Price of the property
Position of the property
Functionality of the property
Condition of the property
Marketing of the property
Agent’s Negotiation skills
Think about this; all the reasons in Group A are either controlled by the Seller or are simply a reality based on the Seller’s prior or current decisions.
The reasons in Group B (Market conditions) are not controlled by either the agent or the seller and are usually out of anyone’s direct control
The reasons in Group C, however are the only real factors that are controlled by the agent and thus logically they are the main reasons that should determine the choice of agent.
What typically happens however is that sellers make decisions not in a logical manner but in an emotional way and as many sellers think that all agents are more or less the same, they make a decision based on the price ‘tendered’ by the agent which really makes no sense.
Of course pricing is a critical issue but the real role a professional agent in relationship to pricing is to offer the seller the results of his price research. What is commonly called a Comparative Market Analyses will show comparable sales as well as properties that have failed to sell, which allows a seller to make an intelligent and strategically competitive decision on the asking price. After all it’s your product and you need to decide where you want to position it in the market to be effective. Of course the agent can explain the dangers of pricing too high or too low and give guidance but the decision on the final marketing price is the seller’s.
It’s the same with the condition of the property. The professional agent can advise the seller on how best to present the property to get the best response and increase interest. A professional agent will be able to suggest ways to improve the prospects of a good selling price through enhanced appeal but it’s not his job to paint, trim grass and take out the poop scoop!
The decision to choose an agent needs to be less emotional and more logical. It is a decision that a seller needs to make the same way an employee would be hired. Approach the decision as you would a job interview! If the agent cannot explain convincingly what marketing tools he has and will use and most importantly, how he will use these marketing tools effectively (ie, how he will professionally manage the marketing process) then don’t hire him. You need an agent with the skill to manage the exposure of the property in a creative way that protects the value of your property and exposes it to the market effectively.
In my considerable experience as an agent and owner of a number of real estate agencies since 1984, I would have no hesitation choosing an agent based on their enthusiasm and evident sales skills before I would choose an agent based on their experience and knowledge alone. Today we have so many exciting and effective marketing technologies that are turning real estate marketing on its head you want an agent who can really take your property to market, not just list it.
The agent’s ability to negotiate is what you should try and detect in your interview and this should seal the deal, and don’t be put off an agent that professionally stands their ground on a fair commission rate. Look for the ability to justify the value of their services and fees after all you are going to rely on that agent to protect your price. Choosing an agent that crumbles on protecting the value of his own fees is really not a sound basis to choose someone to protect your property price is it?
A sole mandate makes all the sense in the world if you choose the right agent. This enables them to focus on your interests and doing the best for you. If however any agent is not prepared to put in writing that they will release you unconditionally from the mandate if they fail to deliver on their marketing promises, then don’t employ them. So don’t blame good agents for your poor recruitment choices.
Andre de Villiers - www.Devler.co.za
* Andre de Villiers owns three real estate offices in Cape Town trading as Chas Everitt real estate franchises.
Andre can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
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