by Neil Jenman
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The choice of agent when selling your home is vitally important. The difference between a good agent and a not-so-good agent can amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Take care.
At Jenman Support, we constantly tell sellers: “Better to spend 3 – 4 weeks finding the right agent than to spend 3 – 4 months stuck with the wrong agent.”
In one sentence, here is how to spot the best agents: The best agents do not ask you for any money until your home is sold and you are happy with the price and the service.
That’s it. No excuses. You pay nothing until your home is sold at the price you want.
Such agents do exist. Sure, many agents will ask you to pay money in advance for advertising expenses. Or, if you do not sell, they will expect you to pay a large advertising bill. You must reject such agents. These are the not-so-good-agents.
Only in Australia (and NZ) do agents expect sellers to pay advertising money up-front. It’s a scam. Don’t fall for it.
Only deal with agents who are so confident in their own ability and service that they will guarantee their own ability.
Okay, with this point in mind – that you are not going to pay any money for any reason until your home is sold and you are happy – it’s time to interview some agents. You can call Jenman Support on 1800 1800 18 and ask us to help you find an agent.
Or you can search on your own.
Whatever you decided to, you may be interested in 14 reasons sellers reject agents.
REASON 1. THE QUOTED PRICE.
Be careful. Most sellers reject agents who quote them a lower price than they expected for their home. But a lower price may be the truth. Sellers who sign-up with the agent who gives them the biggest price often sign-up with the biggest liar.
Spend a few hundred dollars and hire an independent registered valuer.
REASON 2. THE COMMISSION.
Agents who charge low commissions often get low prices. Not always, but often. If agents can’t negotiate a good commission for themselves, are they really going to negotiate a good price for your home? Unlikely.
The key is not so much the amount of the commission the agents charge you but the amount of the selling price they get you. Always remember, commission is negotiable up to the point of sale.
Recently, the owners of a home in Melbourne rejected an agent who offered 1.25 per cent commission. Instead, they chose an agent who charges 2.5 per cent commission.
Yes, that’s double!
This home is worth close to $3 million.
But here’s what these sellers have realised: The 2.5 per cent agent has a reputation for selling homes at the highest market price. The agent is a proven good negotiator.
Given that most homes are under-sold by most agents for close to ten per cent, this means the difference in the selling price between the two agents could be as much as $300,000.
The cheap agent has a record of getting cheap prices. For instance, he favours auctions where homes are regularly undersold by tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars.
If the more expensive agent does not live up to expectations, the sellers can negotiate the commission down at the point of sale.
Sellers should say to agents: “If you get me a big price, I don’t mind paying you a big fee. If you don’t get me a big price, I will not pay anything.”
In this example, the more expensive agent charged nothing up front. He also told the sellers, “You don’t have to pay anything until you are happy with the price and the service.”
Don’t reject agents who want a higher commission until you see if they get you a higher price.
REASON 3. TURN UP LATE.
Sellers are right to reject agents who turn up late for the first meeting. If they let you down in the beginning, you can be sure of one thing: They will let you down if you hire them.
REASON 4. TURN UP IN PAIRS.
Most sellers have had this creepy experience. They call an agent, and two greasy-looking gorillas turn up in dark suits.
If the agents don’t make you feel comfortable, reject them.
REASON 5. FLASH CARS.
Agents, if you knew how many sellers reject you because you turn up in what you think is your “success-mobile”, you’d learn the meaning of humility.
Here are the words of one seller: “The agent was 30 minutes late when I heard this angry roar and a black beast of a vehicle hurtled past my house. A few minutes later, out stepped the agent and his sidekick. Before they got to the front gate, I was thinking no, not for me.”
REASON 6. ANOTHER CLONE.
Yes, we hear it all the time. Agents are all the same. Or, as sellers say, “Same spin, different suit.”
Agents, if you are the same as your competitors, the only thing you have with which to compete is your fee. Read a book by marketing expert Al Ries called ‘Differentiate or Die’.
Sellers want agents who are different. They are looking for agents who do not do what most agents are doing: Asking for thousands of dollars up front; giving them the pitch about “the market”; advertising on major web portals; holding an open-house for 30 minutes per week. Ya-de-ya. Blah-blah. All the same.
If there are 30 agents in an area (a common number) and one agent is truly different – such as offers a guarantee and no risk-selling – then, in effect, there are only two agents, the one who has the intelligence to be different. And all the others.
Sellers are looking for agents who are different.
Sellers reject clones.
REASON 7. DON’T LISTEN.
This is one of the biggest complaints of home-sellers. Time after time, they tell us the same story. The agents didn’t listen. The agents talked about themselves and what they had sold and how many years they had worked in real estate (why do they all do that??!).
There is seldom any focus on the sellers, on their lives, their plans, their concerns. It’s all about the agent.
Recently – and this is very common – a major real estate franchise office, calling itself “Number One” in the area, gave some home-sellers a 24-page proposal to sell a home with a price estimate of $12 million – $15 million. On the front page was the owners’ names. Spelt wrong. Inside, 17 of the 24 pages were all about the agent.
Sellers reject agents who don’t listen to the sellers.
REASON 8. PERSONAL PRESENTATION.
The biggest offenders in this category are men. And the most rejected men are the facial hair brigade. Many times, sellers reject male agents with beards. They never reject the clean-shaven tidy brigade.
And shoes. The number of times sellers say they “judge an agent by their shoes”.
And then, of course, there are the ultimate turn-offs such as body odour, dirty fingernails and the worst, the stench of cigarette smoke.
Agents are often rejected because of poor presentation. Sellers never tell them why.
REASON 9. LACK OF ENTHUSIASM.
Some agents seem to have had a ‘charisma-bypass’.
Unless the agent is genuinely enthusiastic about the sellers’ home and that includes finding its positive features and demonstrating how to overcome any negative points, don’t hire the agent.
Sellers reject agents who lack enthusiasm.
REASON 10. CHAUVINISM.
The real estate industry is often in the dark ages.
This attitude flows down to the chauvinistic attitudes of many agents. They speak to the male partner and ignore the female. That’s not only rude, it’s also stupid because women are often the major decision makers.
Reject agents who ignore the female owners of the home.
REASON 11. TAKING CALLS.
It seems hard to believe but many agents answer their phones when presenting themselves to homeowners. One agent spent three hours with the homeowners. According to the owners, this agent answered his phone more than 20 times. Many of his calls exceeded 10 minutes. He made the sellers wait while he took each call.
Sellers reject agents who take calls in their presence.
REASON 12. OBVIOUS GREED.
Some agents cannot get the dollar signs out of their eyes. They have greedy little charges in their selling agreements, such as an auction fee which is payable whether the home is auctioned or not. Pure greed.
One agent wanted sellers to pay $150 to convert their advertisement to Chinese.
And then, of course, there are those unethical kickbacks which agents call “rebates”. Read their agreements and you’ll see the words such as “the agent shall be entitled to” a percentage of the money that sellers spend on such items as advertising. Many agents get a bigger percentage to sell advertising to sellers than to sell homes to buyers.
Sellers reject greedy agents.
REASON 13. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.
This one is truly incredible. Many times, especially when sellers have done their research, the sellers have more knowledge than the agents.
For example, sellers call Jenman Support because they have read a Jenman book. Then they meet an agent who has not read any Jenman books. Such agents are not interested in their profession.
Worse, some agents say to sellers: “We don’t agree with Neil Jenman,” but when the sellers ask, “Have you read his books?”, the agents say, “No.”
The sellers then say, “How can you disagree with something you don’t know about?”
REASON 14. CAN’T ANSWER TOUGH QUESTIONS.
Agents have a terrible fear of sellers who ask tough questions, such as: “Why are you asking us to pay advertising money?”
Or sellers will say to an agent: “Can you please give us some examples of how your negotiation skills will help us get a better price?” The agents’ answers are, in a word, pathetic.
Or try this one: “If you can’t get the price you quote us, and we decide not to sell, do we lose any money, such as advertising costs?”
Sellers are constantly discovering which agents are worthy of consideration by asking tough questions. When agents can’t answer those questions impressively, the sellers reject the agents.
Agents, there is an old saying: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
There are, of course, many more reasons sellers reject agents, but these 14 are the main ones we hear about.
Sometimes we suggest sellers interview several agents. Some sellers tell us: “It isn’t a case of finding an agent we like, it’s more a case of finding one we dislike the least!”
If you need to find a good agent to sell your home, we will help you. Better to spend weeks finding the best agent (rarely that long) than be stuck for months with the wrong agent.
Finding the best agent is the best way to get the best price when selling your home.
The best agents are hard to find, but they do exist.
PLEASE NOTE: Our focus is upon helping consumers. Abuse from agents on our web site or Facebook page will be deleted, ignored or well publicised – it depends on our mood.
But one thing will never vary: We will never stop doing what we love most – helping polite and honest consumers get the best deal possible in real estate. And, of course, if any agents are serious about taking care of consumers, we’ll help you too. Thank you.