Every homeowner seems to have their own perception of what is a “good” property agent.
- Is it someone who charges a very low commission to undercut his/her competition – just to secure the deal?
- Is it someone who is unfailingly polite and listens to the whims of the homeowner?
- Is it someone who simply markets your property without any input from the homeowner?
So how would you know whether you hired the right agent to market and sell your property? You must be able to figure out the “symptoms”.
Here I share 10 of the most common indicators that your agent might not be right for you:
1) No viewings after months of marketing
The primary reason why there are still no viewings is mainly because of poor quality marketing.
This arises because the agent probably made the following mistakes in their listings:
- Setting the price too high: Sometimes the price is so high or unrealistic that no one even wants to call to set up a viewing.
- Ugly photos: The photos taken of the property was poorly taken. Other reasons could be the house wasn’t staged properly and resulted in less than flattering images. Such listings would unlikely to attract enquiries.
- Unattractive phrases / words: The words used in the listing are simply not compelling enough for people to call. To pull enquiries in, some mention on the attractive features of the house could be highlighted. But if this is done poorly, enquiries will be negligible.
2) Not providing feedback or updates to the homeowner
After viewings, a diligent agent will provide some feedback or updates.
He or she will share what are the concerns / objections of the buyers, whether an offer was made or even if there should be an adjustment in the expectations for the homeowner.
Such updates allow homeowners to be aware of the challenges that the agent might be facing.
Being updated is better than being kept in the dark – don’t you think so?
3) Not able to bring out the story of the house during viewings
A good agent will be able to “paint” an attractive story about the house during the viewings.
This is because viewings are the only time when an agent is able to create nice feelings for the potential buyers.
4) Unable to point out all the good factors about the house
Some agents might be clueless on all the good factors about a particular house. This might be due to blindspots or a lack of awareness on what buyers might like.
In any case, this results in a marketing strategy that is poor in terms of execution and results.
5) Simply following the motions
This is a very common mistake made by so many agents. Some agents have plenty of listings and there comes a time when they might become so busy – they simply just go through the motions.
I don’t blame them – sometimes you are overwhelmed that your behaviour becomes automated.
How do you know this is happening?
Basically when the property agent suddenly reverts to a boring script – during the viewing.
A typical example is when the agent brings potential buyers to the living room and simply states – “This is the living room.”
On the other hand – a smart agent who is highly aware of the needs of the potential buyers will state things very differently.
He or she will start to paint the “future picture” by saying things like –
“Can you imagine how spacious the living room is? Here you can hang a 70 inch TV as well as place a 5-seater sofa. This is how you can enjoy precious time with your family members.”
Some call it sales, some call it NLP, some call it sharing.
Whatever the phrase used, an agent needs to be attuned enough to the needs of the buyers in order to make the sale.
6) Didn’t setup the house right for viewing
Actually the duty to setup the house beautifully falls on the homeowner.
But a good agent will spend time to educate the owner on the importance of decluttering and removing potential eyesores.
Otherwise, all marketing efforts are wasted if a potential buyer gets a lousy first impression during the viewing.
7) Did not educate homeowner on the RIGHT market price
Some homeowners will have the mindset that their place must be the best and thus it must command the best price. But the truth is, you have to step into the shoes of the potential buyer and see it from their point of view.
Hence a good agent will explain why their house can only command a certain market price. This takes time and effort but it helps to manage the expectations of the owner.
The owner faces 2 choices:
- He or she can choose to hear only nice but unproductive words from the “nice” agent.
- Or the owner can choose to listen to the sincere but frank opinions of an experienced agent.
Which would you prefer?
8) Inexperienced Negotiator
In a property transaction, there is a lot of “behind-the-scenes” activities that is going on – where the owner is not involved.
This is where the negotiating skills of a property agent comes into play.
Let’s assume the owner and agent have agreed to a selling price of $1 million dollars for the house. Viewings take place and an offer of $950K was made.
There is a likelihood of either one of these 2 scenarios happening:
- The inexperienced negotiator will outright reject the $950K offer. After all, the agent is protecting the owner’s interest right? They agreed to a $1 million selling price.
- On the other hand, the experienced negotiator will try to renegotiate, explain and justify why the seller should pay a higher price.
Of course, a good agent with excellent negotiating skills will strike a balance by being fair to both buyer and seller.
$1 million versus $950K. It is never about these 2 numbers.
Worse, in the end, the buyer went ahead to purchase a unit at $980K within the same place. But with another seller altogether!
This indicated the buyer was willing to pay up to $980K but because the negotiating agent never tried to uncover the higher price – the transaction didn’t happen.
Unfortunately, this type of situation happens rather frequently.
The main root cause?
In the mind of the agent, he or she thinks they are protecting the interests of the sellers. They desire to achieve the initial price point of the seller.
So what does a good agent do during the negotiation process?
First, they will justify with evidence. They will show the most recent transacted prices to justify the price.
Second, they will try to educate the buyers. Some buyers genuinely do not know, while some buyers might just be trying their luck.
Whatever it is, it doesn’t mean they CAN’T afford the higher price.
In explaining the $50,000 difference, a good agent will try to convert it in terms of the housing loan.
We can explain that it will be another $100 – $200 extra per month for a place that you already like, that has the right location and facing a view that you can live with.
We can also explain their alternative choices:
- a $950K unit with no renovation
- a $1 million unit with renovation
Which would be preferable?
To take up another renovation loan that is cash-payable within 5 years?
Or to make it part of the housing loan that is spread over a longer period of time?
Basically, these are the main factors that are important in the eyes of the buyers – which an observant agent will highlight and try to showcase.
It is much easier to build a connection with someone who truly understands what’s going on inside your head, isn’t it?
9) Experience doesn’t mean years in the profession
There is a tendency to view the number of years in the profession as an indicator of the “experience”.
But the simple truth is this – you can have very “experienced” agents who have been in the industry for a long time – but they keep making the same mistakes – again and again!
There is 2 ways to view “time” in the industry:
- Time spent going through the motions versus
- Time spent adding value to both buyers and sellers
So what will be a good marker of experience?
Look at their results, look at their past happy customers, look at their volume of transactions over a 1 year’s period. You can easily see this from their rankings in their agency.
10) Not being able to make certain distinctions
Over the years, I realize there is no perfect house – there will always be flaws that exist.
However I have seen agents who keep forgetting (or are totally unaware) and keep amplifying the negative factors – repeatedly. There is a lack of filtering process that happens between the brain and the mouth.
Let’s say a buyer states an objection – “But the living room is facing the main road.”
A clueless agent will simply agree and say yes.
A better way to respond is –
“Yes, the living room does face the main road. But the important thing is the bedrooms faces the greenery – where it is quieter at night. Easy to catch up on restful sleep.
Unless of course this main road is an important factor that can break your decision?”
Find out if your agent is able to make such distinctions – between buyers’ genuine objections or are they simply weak excuses?
The main reason why I am able to list all these various symptoms is because I have gone through them myself personally!
I have made plenty of such rookie mistakes early in my career. But those mistakes allowed me to learn and grow to become an even better agent.
No matter what, a property agent has to work hard to earn their commission.
It is not a given nor is it guaranteed that we will be paid well for our efforts.
The agent works the hardest behind the scenes – unknown to the owner who rarely sees the effort put in. But it is those behind-the-scenes work that are critical to ensure a successful transaction.
This is why I believe that the DIY apps can never fully replace the breathing, human agent.
Let’s say you decide to sell your house for $500K. Wanting to save on agent’s commissions, you go the DIY route. You get an offer for $430K.
More often than not, you might become upset and various emotions kick in. You reject the offer outright.
And that is why you need an agent to become the person in-between.
The agent is to provide the objective barrier that allows a transaction to happen peacefully and happily between 2 parties.
Who knows – the buyer could have been willing to pay up to $480K. This is where having an agent is important so that such factors can be uncovered easily.
Looking to sell your house? I invite you to contact me for a discussion on the best way to proceed.