The good, the bad and the ugly. Whether you’re looking to sell or rent out your property you need to choose an agent who can give you thorough market feedback, seeking out and passing on as much commentary from buyers and tenants as possible. It’s the only way you can make decisions on the way the property’s presented to market, how it’s promoted and where it’s priced. So it’s essential information for you as the client.
But this is one service many real estate agents are just plain lousy at delivering.
Why? Because we often need to deliver some hard truths! You decide you like us enough to give us the job as selling agent or property manager. We’ve built up some rapport, written some ads for you that make the place sound amazing…. And then we’re going to have to tell you a bunch of things people don’t like about one of your largest assets! Spent all Easter painting the bathroom in stifling heat? Tenants might tell us it’s patchy and unprofessional! I once had a buyer gagging due to dog odour in a house and had to ask my client to open some windows so they could breathe! Not an easy conversation!
And the hesitant agent will shy away from giving you this frank feedback, avoiding the tough conversations. Maybe you’re getting positive comments about the property but no-one’s submitting an offer – what’s that mean? You often won’t get offers until your asking price is nearer to likely sale value, and there’s a simple reason: you’re attracting the wrong buyers. (See where we’ve written before about price setting). Your agent needs to help you through this, to keep you informed so you can balance time on market with optimum price. And naturally you need proactive advice you can trust.
So how do you interview agents for this essential skill when you’re choosing who will work for you?
Our tip: ask them to list 3 things that might negatively affect the price of your property. Every place has them whether it’s a riverfront mansion or a studio apartment. The question might catch them off guard since they’re used to talking up the benefits – but it’s a quick way to test how open and honest they can be with you. (And you’ll also see how carefully they’ve considered a likely market response.)
Naturally your agent needs to then take a positive view of the property to market and focus on its strengths with buyers and tenants. But selling or renting your much-loved property needs some objectivity and, hard as it can be, you’ll want an agent to help you with this. It’s one of the reasons people selling their own places often struggle, as they defend and overreact to the simple buyer commentary that can often be worked through.
PS: For the home buyers and tenants reading this – please take that Monday morning phone follow-up call and give us as much feedback as you can! You won’t offend us with a brutal truth, we really value your time doing this and it helps our clients enormously