Agents with good EQ can cope well with servicing consumers.
Here’s an insider’s guide to finding a suitable salesperson to handle your property transaction.
By Stuart Chng
The generation of today has grown up with and is accustomed to buying and selling many things online on their own, and it is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that buying and selling a property ourselves is as easy as buying an e-scooter off the internet.
Is it truly that simple and will there be any relevance in the role of a real estate agent today and in the future?
Despite appearing on the surface like a simple buy and sell equation, a real estate transaction comprises of many moving parts and soft and hard skill sets that are difficult to understand for a layperson.
Below, I will run through some factors (in no order of priority) that I would personally look out for when engaging an agent to sell my property. Yes, even though I am a licensed realtor, I prefer not to handle viewings of my own property and have appointed agents to represent me in the past).
1. High emotional quotient and energy level
Like it or not, we may not be the most suitable person to respond to enquiries, face prospective buyers or show off the various excellent attributes of our home and its surroundings.
Picture this: You work normal hours and, intermittently throughout each day, get interrupted with phone calls and texts asking you everything about your property, repeatedly, followed by showing evening or weekend viewings while the family goes out to play.
Most properties take a couple of months to sell. By the end of the first month, assuming you have priced your property fairly and have fair response, you might feel burnt out from handling all these activities yourself.
This will be made worse when you start wondering how long the journey you began could take and if you have no way to ascertain whether you are doing all that is necessary and correct. And this has not factored in your time and cost of advertising and opportunity cost in spending hours of research on procedures and potential pitfalls.
A real estate agent with good EQ and energy level will be able to deliver all these while maintaining composure and a pleasant disposition. They are also used to the rigours of sales and marketing, and are generally able to cope well with servicing people.
2. In-depth segment/district knowledge
A good sell-side agent must be proactive in acquiring in-depth and up to date knowledge of the area that they specialise in. A track record of success in specific districts or segments tells me how they perform when given a task to sell. They should possess knowledge of the surroundings, up-to-date transacted prices and are able to provide a reasonable benefits comparison between projects in the neighbourhood when asked to by prospective buyers.
3. Modern marketing methods and technology
Today’s choice of marketing mediums have developed towards social media marketing and a good sell-side agent would need to be well-versed in generating buyers through creating attractive content like videos, shrewd audience targeting and good copywriting. This would cast a wider net towards a larger audience and arm sellers with better bargaining power.
Also, where possible, I would prefer to work with someone who has strong team support as it means that my agent can tap on the team’s collective buyer base and reach to give me maximum marketing reach. Although team support cannot be easily observed, it can be easily measured by the additional enquiries and viewings that such a team can generate.
4. Street smarts
One often overlooked aspect of a good agent is that he/she should possess street smarts that come in the form of an astute understanding of buying behaviour and good negotiation skills. I have personally witnessed counterparts negotiate deals that could have cost their clients a hefty sum of money without realising it.
Example: Agent X, who frivolously gave away his client’s bottom price or urgency to sell without much prompting. This should have been confidential between the seller and him until an advanced stage in negotiations. Hence, chances for potentially securing a higher price would have been wasted.
5. Property wealth planning skills
After selling, it is common for clients to search for a new home or allocate funds towards an investment property. Hence, in today’s market, a good agent should be able to do more than just a simple resale financial proceeds and funds required calculations for their next purchase.
An agent with Property Wealth Planning skills will be able to provide a systematic investment roadmap for property owners, clear advice for choosing the next property and maximising financing options, and tax optimisation strategies that will help them save several thousands in expenses.
Example 1: Today, clients who have just exited an investment might be tempted to enter into a potential en bloc sale project to enjoy such a windfall in the future. With the correct advice from Property Wealth Planners, clients would be better able to navigate and avoid projects that seem en bloc-able but do not fulfil certain en bloc criteria that are unapparent to the layperson.
Example 2: Where clients are planning to accumulate a portfolio of properties but lack insights on the best options to structure their investment holdings and maximise tax savings.
These are the main factors I would look at today when appointing a seller agent to represent me. Of course, it should go without saying that the agent would need to be someone trustworthy whom I can rely on for honest feedback on marketing strategy and pricing advice throughout the journey.
Hope this helps you in your search for a suitable realtor and all the best for 2018!
Co-Founder of Navis Living Group
Senior Associate Executive Director of OrangeTee & Tie
Stuart is a renowned team leader and personality in the real estate industry.
He is a licensed real estate agent, team leader, industry trainer and speaker, columnist for several property newsletters and blogs and is often quoted in media interviews on 938FM, Channel 8, PropertyReport, PropertyGuru and other publications.
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