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8 Things Your Property Agent Will Not Say To You
We hire them to help us. But we also cannot expect them to help us without helping themselves. Realtors are not running non-profit charitable organisations. They have operating costs to pay and each staff member will also have their own family to feed. And most of all, they have their own personalities and values. Here are some things you will never hear them say.
1. “I’m using your open house to get more leads for myself.”
When you hire a property agent to help sell your home, it is almost inevitable that he will advise holding an open house for prospects to view. In many parts of the world, holding an open house is a fully expected event once you hire an agent to sell your house. It’s implied that the event will take place without needing to request one.
While a staged open house is a great way to give potential buyers a first hand viewing of your property, it also serves as a chance for your agent to expand his database of leads. People from all walks of life are going to pay you a visit. Some might be genuine buyers, some curious lookers, some might even be just trying to pass time. No matter what is the case, you can be sure of one thing. They are all interested in properties. You open house will then be the perfect bait for agents to draw in more qualified leads.
2. “My commission is negotiable.”
There are industry practices on how much commission to charge buyers and sellers. But there are no standard fees that you should be charged at no matter how convincing your agent says that his fees are standard in the industry. In sizzling hot markets where competing agents are aplenty, many of them will charge minimum fees or even free. It does make sense to charge little in booming markets as many will be focused on closing as many deals as possible without prolonging the transaction time. Closing fast frees up the agent to attend to more deals. Often times, you can get a discount by simply asking for it.
3. “There are some offers I did not tell you about.”
Legitimately speaking, you hire agents to do a job for you. And that job usually has 1 objective. That is to get the best possible deal for you. And to protect their own interest, agents make it as difficult as possible for buyers and sellers to talk to each other directly. So they are like a screening machine that filters what arrives in your ears and what gets out of your voice box.
Some offers from potential buyers might never see the light of day because your agent might assume an insulting offer will not interest you to any degree. Rogue agents might hide offers from you as they are holding out for higher commissions from a higher priced transaction. Others may even hide higher offers from sellers because the final touch-ups for closing a lower offer is being done. The reality is that you might in fact have a change of mood and be willing to accept a low offer. Or will be more interested in a higher one.
So if you want to be informed of all offers that come in, remember to explicitly communicate that to your agent. Failing to do so might leave them with an assumed authority to reject offers on your behalf without asking for your opinion.
4. “I joke about you with my colleagues.”
This is something that you have to accept on a lighter side. We gossip about work and life with all walks of people including family members and acquaintances. This is going to happen to you. I bet you joke about your agent as well with your friends.
So while you are joking with your friends about how your agent has took you around town for 6 months without finding a suitable house for you, he is going joke with his colleagues about how indecisive you are after viewing 6 months worth of properties. Don’t take this to heart. This is life.
5. “Your best interest is important. But mine comes first.”
If you believe the tagline on your agent’s flyer that your interest is all that matters, you are more naïve than an infant panda. We live in a world where we are motivated to work for money. Even CEOs of charitable organisations receive a salary. You can test this by asking an agent for help and telling him that you have no intention whatsoever to hire him. See whether you are going to get a positive response.
6. “I don’t know the answers to half your questions.”
Agents are trained to communicate with confidence and conviction. They have to. Buyers and sellers are making big financial decisions and they need to be convinced that an agent they are going to hire has the expertise to serve, and the credibility to deliver. This is why the agents that are on top of the pile are also those that have the best soft skills. This means their interpersonal skills can make a stranger feel like a long lost friend and their communication skills can get them out of tight spots without compromising their reputation.
But this also has something to do with your expectations. Expecting your agent to be a walking property textbook is a little extreme. They cannot be expected to have every information you want on the tip of their tongues. Savvy agents can usually give you a satisfactory answer to a tough question without really answering it. This may come in the form of a safe answer or a partial answer. They will then go back and check out the correct answer to get back to you the next day.
7. “You can do my job yourself.”
Real estate agents like to make what they actually do sound mysterious or tedious. This is so that the perceived value of what they do is hard to quantify. The reality is that if you are willing to spend time calling up buyers and sellers, you are already halfway through eliminating the need for an agent. The other half is calling up the relevant authorities on how to settle all the necessary paperwork yourself. If you have a whole lot of time on your hands and don’t mind the hassle, consider being your own agent.
8. “I can make money off you without actually charging you a cent.”
In some instances, agents may serve you for free. This is because they can generate referral fees from your property transactions simply by referring you to professionals. These professionals can include bankers, lawyers, valuers, insurers, contractors, or even other agents. So the next time that an agent expresses that he is helping you out of goodwill, you can roll your eye and say “You are an angel”.