How agents aim to spoil spring

Don't let agents shoot you down this ‘open season’

It’s real estate ‘open season’ with residents looking for new homes and set to embrace moving and change.

As vendors and buyers, we can ensure agents aren’t taking the shine out of this spring excitement. Ineffective agents will interfere and complicate our experience to imply they have control of the buying and selling process.

If we understand the way they toy with prices, we can begin to demystify these games. And that means finally having a real estate experience on our own terms.

Here are 3 ways they meddle, and how we can take the power back.

1. Price, what price?

We’re savvy with prices when we come to buying a home.

Yet many real estate ‘experts’ snub our price inquiries. “We’re not quoting a price guide until we gauge buyer feedback” is one all-to-common phrase.

Are they serious? This wasn’t discussed with the vendor? Of course it was. And when we’re a vendor embroiled in this game, we can say goodbye to fast moving buyers who start looking elsewhere.

Hint – the best buyers are ready and waiting. And vendors miss out when agents launch campaigns without a price guide that empowers buyers to act.

Vendors: demand a price so buyers can shortlist your property for early inspection. Buyers: hound these agents until you cut through their bullshit.

2. The false hope

Real estate agents are good at promising one thing, and delivering another. If they can be bothered to quote a price, it’s often just to build false hope, false impressions and false demand.

When we search online to buy and sell, the disparity between agents’ ‘price guides’ and our ‘search parameters’ only feeds frustrations.

If we cap our search at $700,000, why would we want to know about a home where “current interest is at $850,000”?

Hint – agents like spending time wooing everyone, rather than with the right buyers. A bigger pool of attendees can lead to missed opportunties with ready buyers.

Vendors: look for an honest connection between your price and where your home appears in search results. Buyers: narrow your search on RealEstate and Domain to avoid chasing the wrong property.

3. The perpetual rally

Plenty of us have chased the wrong property thanks to this “quote ‘em low, watch ‘em go” approach – perhaps the real estate industry’s most ingrained bad habit.

All the while, we’re being played as vendors too.

These same agents offer vendors inflated appraisals to secure the business, then a low price when we turn up hoping to buy. The strategy? Fumble through a marketing campaign hoping to arrive at a happy medium.

In the background, the agent begins the process of slowly reducing vendor expectations to a saleable level.

As buyers we’re duped into thinking we’re frontrunners. And the agent has a fallback plan if they can’t rally the price up enough.

Hint – when agents quote below our agreed price, they will start to lower our expectations if they don’t have the right buyers. A property expert should be able to openly discuss price with both buyers and sellers based on their own market knowledge.

Vendors: demand agents offer comparable sales and some knowledge of our markets. Then price your home appropriately. Buyers: ask for, and research, those same comparable sales to ensure you’re comparing apples with apples.

Price is often the most important consideration for both sellers and buyers. Sellers want the best price, while buyers have a budget dictated by their own savings.

We could be coming into a bright spring market. So it’s time property professionals offered more than their shoot-in-the-dark approach.

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