by Neil Jenman
READING TIME: 5 minutes apx
Do you want to be “controlled”?
Do you want to be forced into doing what you don’t want to do?
Of course not.
Well, if you blindly sign most selling agreements with most agents you will certainly be controlled. Indeed, within the real estate industry (that’s what they say about you behind your back), when you sign their documents, you are known as a “controlled listing”.
Think back to times in your life when you felt most stressed. Remember when everything seemed to be going wrong.
You went to bed miserable and woke up feeling worse.
Did you identify the main cause of your stress? What brought so much unhappiness into your life? And most crushing of all, did you realise why you felt so helpless?
And no, I am not talking about a person in your life, the one you blame (quite rightly most likely) for the incredible stress you suffered. I am talking about why it happened. How did you come to be in such a situation?
Maybe, you are in such a situation now – stressed and helpless. I hope not, because being stressed and feeling helpless is one of the worst feelings you can experience.
This is what people selling their homes constantly feel. Highly stressed, totally helpless and, in many cases, distraught.
Probably the factor that makes them most upset is feeling betrayed. The agent assured them they’d get a great price and now the same agent is pushing them to accept a lower price. The agent may have praised their home in the beginning and is now constantly criticising the home.
What started as positive and optimistic has turned, in a matter of weeks, into a negative and pessimistic nightmare.
And, of course, in typical ‘gaslighting’ fashion you are made to feel this is your fault. You are the one who wants too much money. You are the one who can’t see the faults in your home. You are the one who won’t listen to the advice of the experts – even if it seems to be against your interests.
You, you, you. It’s all your fault.
It’s enough to make you stressed just reading about it
If you’re selling your home and you are feeling stressed and miserable, the true reason you are suffering is likely to be the same as any situation in which you are stressed and miserable.
It’s because you don’t have control. Someone else is controlling you and you feel there is nothing you can do. Yes, the times when we suffer the greatest stress in our lives are most often the times when we have lost control. Or to be more precise, given up control.
Earlier, I wrote about selling agency agreements that agents ask you to sign before you sell your home. My article was called ‘Beware the Introduction Trap’ and it spoke about just one of many nasty clauses in those agreements, a clause where you are liable to pay an agent even if the agent fails to sell your home.
How stressful would that make you feel? One can only imagine. The unfairness of it all.
Recently I saw some advice offered to agents which urged them to be sure their selling agency agreements gave them the right to lodge a caveat on sellers’ homes in the event of a dispute.
Yes, that’s right. If you feel your agent has done something unethical and you chose not to pay, say, their absurd advertising bill, some lodge a caveat on the title of your home. This means you will not be able to sell your home unless you pay the agent.
Can agents do that?
Yes, if you give them permission.
If you surrender control.
Especially if you simply close your eyes and allow an agent to put a pen in your hand and then you just sign your name wherever the agent tells you to sign.
Since I wrote that article about the ‘Introduction Trap’, some people have written to me and told me how they controlled their agent. They did not let the agent control them.
It’s incredibly simple. You just need an attitude that says, “I am not going to let any bullies control me or push me around.”
You need the courage to stand up for yourself.
And do you know what? If the agent you are considering is a good agent, one who deserves the huge trust about to be placed in them, they are not going to mind you keeping control.
So, here is what you do:
When they ask you to sign their agreement, tell them you want to read it. Take at least two days.
And then do what you said you would do: Read their agreement. If you don’t understand any of it, contact a lawyer.
If you do not like parts of it (like a caveat on your home), cross out offending parts.
And, best of all, make a list of what you want the agent to do and then attach that list to the agent’s agreement. Then ask the agent to sign it.
When Dianne was selling her home, she interviewed several agents. She says she “asked questions they really didn’t want to answer”.
Sounds like she gave them a “grilling”. Good on her.
She told them to leave their contract with her so she could consider it. She then typed up a list of conditions, such as “no open houses”. She also gave herself the power to sack the agent if they did not do what they promised.
Now, that’s control – with the seller, not the agent. The way it should be.
Dianne’s family said they didn’t think the agent would agree. But given a choice between accepting Dianne’s conditions or being told to get lost, the agent chose to accept Dianne’s conditions. As all good agents will.
This lady, Dianne, deserves to be the poster-girl for all home sellers. Well done.
Another property owner, Bruce, also decided to take control. He was using an agent to manage his rental property.
The agent sold the rental department to another agent.
Bruce was asked to sign a document with the new agent. He ignored them. They asked him again. He kept ignoring them.
And then the tenant, who was on an expired lease, asked to sign another lease. Bruce agreed.
And get this: The agent tried to charge him two weeks rent. What a nerve. Yes, as another seller once said, “Some agents have more front than rats with gold teeth.”
As Bruce said: “Had I signed the contract with this agent I would be up for a fee of 2 weeks rent extra every year. I wonder how many of the clients in my situation did sign up and subsequently are now paying this fee. Careful what you sign.”
Yes, for sure. Be careful what you sign.
As soon as you sign something that is designed by the person who wants you to sign that something, you have given up your control.
Your home is likely your biggest financial asset. Don’t give control of that asset to a thirty-something real estate agent driving a black sports car and acting like a movie star. Or any agent.
Think it over. Take your time. Read the agreement before you sign. Insert your own conditions.
If the agent doesn’t like you taking control, too bad, that’s the wrong agent. Find a better agent.
Keep going until you find an agent who lets you keep control. Or call us at Jenman Support on 1800 1800 18 and we’ll find you an agent. We’ll make sure you keep control.
With you in control, you’ll be less stressed, you’ll feel good and, best of all, you’ll get a better price.
If you need any help, let me know.
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.