Friday, April 24, 2009

Hey Real Estate Dude! You need to Work HARDER!

My rambling today is centered on a remark I heard a friend exclaim, as he is frustrated with the "non-results" of his engagement of another real estate agent to sell his home. He questioned, "Why can't these real estate people just work harder?!!" .... (to get his home sold). He declared that his agent had agreed to list his house at a certain price and now all the agent is doing is trying to get him to reduce, reduce, reduce!

And I thought about this for a while. I thought about the 22 or so agents that work out of my office. And I thought about the hundreds of agents I have known and met in those years. I know they work hard, because I've watched them. They put a ton of effort into helping buyers and sellers alike. They perennially do whatever they need to do to get the job done. Sometimes it's draining. And sometimes it almost breaks them!

But I kind of knew where this guy was coming from. In a previous life, the real estate agent could hustle. They really "worked" a buyer over.... convincing them that this real estate was a screaming good deal! They could get the buyer to believe that this deal was so hot that they had better jump on it or they were going to lose out! They seemed to be able to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!

And they turned over every stone to find a buyer! Sometimes going door to door. Talking up their listings everywhere they went.

Enter the computer. Enter new technology. Enter public access to records and statistics. Enter , get this... buyer representation!

In today's real estate arena, you can't put a higher price on a property and realistically hope that some "rube" will come along and pay it! The buyers have SO much information available to them! They have an agent to counsel them. And even if they did cruise in and pay more than market value, the bank will probably stop them, either by way of the appraisal, or terms that the buyer can't meet! Not to mention an attorney might be reviewing the contract and ask their client if they researched the market, or at least ask them how they came about that price!

So what does an agent need to do to make a seller like I mentioned earlier in this blog, happy? They need to work hard in the beginning. The first and most important thing they need to do is they need to work hard in counseling their clients in proper pricing. A good agent knows this and does this right out of the gate. And they need to be frank with the seller about cleaning up and getting the house ready for the market.

But let me tell you what a weak agent does. A weak agent visits the client and has not developed the confidence it takes to tell the client what they need to hear. The weak agent falls victim to allowing the seller to dictate the asking price based on what they want... not on what the market will bear. Now a weak agent may go into the listing opportunity fully aware of the market, but wants , so desperately, to get the listing, that they will agree to any number the seller puts up. They have not learned, or don't have the guts to explain the facts and be prepared to walk away from an impossible situation. They might even think, "I'll take this listing at this inflated price because I know the sellers will eventually reduce to find the true market value." But what does this do? It does a lot of things, and most of them are bad. It misleads the sellers. "Sure, we can put it on for that figure." They hear, "We can sell it for you." It puts an impossible task on the shoulders of the agent, and costs the broker a lot of money in advertising and carrying costs. It keeps in-the-know agents from even bothering to bring good buyers to the house. And after a house has been on the market too long, it becomes stigmatized and the buying public begins to think that there is more wrong with the house than just the price... hence it may never sell... EVEN BELOW market value!

SO, I agree... work hard! But work hard where it makes sense and can get the job done!

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