by Neil Jenman
This article should be read after reading Part 1 on the same topic. Please CLICK HERE.
Reading Time Apx 14 mins
They call them “JAFAs.
It’s a derogatory term that applies to 90 per cent of today’s real estate agents.
J-A-F-A stands for ‘Just Another Foolish Agent.’
In Part 1 of this series on how to sell your home without foolish agents, we referred to these ‘Jafa’ agents as “typical agents” – and we explained their benefits to home sellers. None. Indeed, as you will see, such agents are worse than useless.
Despite their appearances – flash cars, self-awarded “rock star status,” glowing testimonials – these agents are all just clones of one another.
In today’s time-pressured and fast-paced world, it’s amazing – if you stop and think about it (which most people don’t) – that one of the least trusted of all professional groups – estate agents – are given the keys and control of the biggest financial asset of most families, their family home.
Such naivety, such rank foolishness done with little or no thought other than that most insipid of reasons: everyone else seems to be doing it, is not going to apply to you. You are doing something most sellers, for whatever reason, never do. You are thinking. Carefully, slowly, and sensibly. And your thought process is underpinned by some simple and straightforward questions.
Questions such as: If these typical ‘Jafa’ agents expect me to fork out thousands of dollars, ostensibly because such advertisements will find the right buyer for our home, why would we also want to pay commission PLUS the cost of the advertisement?
Why not just place our own advertisement and save ourselves about $25,000 in commission (although the average commission in many areas now averages more than $50,000).
Let me just spell that out for you: FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.
And, to repeat, that’s just commission. Plus, needless advertising costs, often around $20,000. Yes, TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.
That’s a total of SEVENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.
And for what?
Seriously, it makes me feel physically sick to think that, in almost all cases, this money is totally wasted. And worse, it could easily have been saved.
Not only could this massive sum of $70,000 have been saved, but it could also have grown by at least another hundred thousand dollars – such is the amount by which almost all homes (especially high-end homes) are under-sold.
Now please, just think for a moment. What could you do with an extra $170,000?
If you have four children, you could buy each a brand-new car (like a Kia Sportage).
Or you could use it to pay down your mortgage. If you don’t have a mortgage, how about someone you love, how would they feel if you dropped $170,000 into their loan account?
With $170,000, you could pay cash for a home in a regional town and get a rent return of at least $250 per week.
That’s $13,000 a year.
Or $130,000 in ten years.
And so, in ten years, that $170,000 that you saved by NOT hiring a ‘Jafa’ to sell your home, could easily have grown to $300,000 – and that’s assuming the home you bought did not increase in value. It may happen that your $170,000 could have grown close to half a million dollars in a decade.
All because you had the intelligence, the prudence, and the courage to ‘give it a go’ – to sell your home yourself without using a typical agent (a ‘Jafa’).
So, let’s look at some prudent points in favour of selling your home without an agent. I’ll try to be brief – but please remember, if you need help (at no cost) with your specific situation, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have my word that I – or one of my competent colleagues – will reply to you as soon as we humanly can.
PRUDENT POINT 1 – THERE IS NO “SELLING” INVOLVED.
Let’s kill this massive misleading myth once and for all. With few exceptions, agents never “sell” homes. Buyers buy them. The only “sell” in real estate (I kid you not) is selling you, the owner on the lie that you are better off using an agent. Not true (unless you find a very good agent).
Buyers buy homes for one primary reason: They like the home. No matter how cheap the price, unless buyers like your home you’ll always have a hard time “selling” it.
If you find a buyer who loves your home, they will often pay a very high price.
How do you know if buyers like or love your home? Easy, you watch them. You see it in their eyes.
And then you can, if you wish, ask this question: “Could you see yourself living happily here?”
When they say yes, ask them if they’d like to be added to your ‘short list’.
PRUDENT POINT 2 – JUSTIFICATION.
Whatever the costs of using an agent, be it $10,000 for a cheapie or $100,000 for a mansion, the BIG word you must focus upon, as the owner, is JUSTIFY.
The simple fact is that, most agents (about 95%), are not worth three or four thousand dollars an hour you’re going to pay for them.
I mean, come on, who gets that sort of money – especially with zero qualifications. Seriously, have you ever heard of anyone failing to qualify as a real estate agent? Neither have I.
PRUDENT POINT 3 – NO AGENT KNOWS YOUR HOME LIKE YOU.
One of the biggest advantages in rejecting typical agents is the lack of interest they show in the positive features and qualities of your home.
Only one factor appeals to most agents – price.
But buyers, especially the ones who really like or love your home, are hungry for information. They want to know as much as possible – from when it was built to details of all the improvements. And who better to tell them than you, the owner.
You bought the home because you loved it. You have lived there happily for many years.
It’s often said that “selling is the transference of enthusiasm”.
Have you noticed the lethargic attitude most agents display towards homes? Many of them answer questions from buyers with terse texts or blunt emails. What happened to the great art of communication?
The first step in any sales process is to talk to prospects.
As the owner of the home, you’ll be both eager and enthusiastic to talk about your home. And the feedback from private sellers is overwhelming: Buyers love speaking direct to owners.
PRUDENT POINT 4 – CAN YOU COUNT TO THREE?
Okay, it’s hard to avoid sarcasm. But if you can count to three, you can do what most agents do. One, two, three – those are the simple steps most agents take (especially ‘Jafas) and you can do them too. Easily.
The first step is to write an advertisement. Not only can you do this, but you can do it better than most agents who confine themselves to bullet points.
Please remember, however, that the purpose of an advertisement is not to “sell” your home, it’s to attract enquiry.
Do not make the mistake of “selling” in an advertisement.
Get the call. Answer basic questions. Make time for an inspection. And show prospects around. This short process is more than most agents do.
Here’s what most agents do:
1) Lodge an ad. You can do that.
2) Wait at the home for half an hour a week. You can do better than that.
3) Get the details of the buyers who like the home. You can do that.
I promise you, there is nothing – and I mean nothing – that most agents do that all sellers could not do for themselves.
Which brings me to point 5.
PRUDENT POINT 5 – BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!
Oh please, have some faith in yourself.
The only thing that’s stopping you from selling your home without an agent (if you can’t find a great agent) is that you are a victim of the massive amount of propaganda spread by the real estate industry – and its paid pals – that you need an agent to sell your home.
Most home sellers need most real estate agents like they need a serious dose of the flu.
Indeed, it’s more correct to say that “Most agents are a wealth hazard”.
Just as the tobacco industry used to promote the “benefits” of smoking (when there are none) so does the real estate industry promote the benefits of using an agent when selling your home.
Well, where is the benefit of paying $170,000 for something you could do yourself?? It makes no sense.
And here’s another vital prudent point: If you have a go at selling your own home and you fail, what have you lost?
But if you choose a typical real estate agent, you lose whatever the outcome.
Just ask them for a copy of their standard listing agreement and you’ll see what I mean. When you sign-up with most agents, it’s almost as if you no longer own your home. And you don’t – at least not when it comes to having the rights to sell it. Stay away from typical agents, please.
You can do it.
The only thing that’s stopping you is fear – which stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real”.
Think about how many times in your life lack of self-confidence has held you back. And then, when you take the leap – often encouraged by close friends who have your best interests at heart – you do something, and it works out wonderfully.
And then what do you think?
You wish you had taken this step earlier. You are so glad you finally ‘did it.’ You never regret that decision. Your only regret was your indecision, your procrastination.
Come on, think of the relationships in which you stuck it out for too long. The jobs you despised that you should have quit much sooner.
Whenever you keep the wrong in your life, you prevent the right from coming into your life.
It’s wrong to sign-up to sell your home with a typical agent who cares more about their commission and promoting themselves with your advertising money than about getting you the best result.
Just as nobody knows your home as well as you, nobody cares about you and your family as much as you.
There is a reason that 95 per cent of the public do not trust agents. It’s because 95 per cent of agents do not deserve your trust.
And please, stop saying you “like them.” Of course, this one that you’re thinking of choosing is “nice”. Agents are skilled at appearing charming and sincere.
But if you want to know how nice they really are, don’t look at them. Don’t listen to them. Look at what they do.
I repeat: Ask for a look at their ‘Selling Agency Agreement.’ Read the fine print and you’ll soon see how “nice” they are.
And please, those articles you see in the media “warning” about the “dangers” of selling your own home without an agent, don’t get sucked in.
Follow the money. Look at who owns the publication in which the article appears. Look at who’s paying the journalist. Journalists cannot write what I am writing now without losing their jobs.
The real estate industry is the most powerful industry in the country. It’s worth more than ten trillion dollars – four times the size of the stock market.
PRUDENT POINT 6 – SURE THEY’LL CONSPIRE AGAINST YOU
Be prepared to be “knocked” when you are selling without agents.
The greatest fear of most of the real estate industry is that the public will discover how easy it is to sell their homes without having to fork out billions of dollars (yes, billions!!) each year to thousands of parasites who’s three many qualities are: Greedy, Lazy and Stupid.
The most common criticism you’ll get is that “You don’t know what you are doing”.
Well, neither do most real estate agents.
All most agents know how to do is convince you to sign-up with them and then they convince you to sell your home for less than it’s worth.
Who needs that?
You can even tell them that “Jenman Support is helping us.” That will make Jafas even more wild.
Oh really? Who cares?
Unless an agent genuinely cares about what’s best for you, the seller, I have no time for such agents. What they think of me is none of my business. The same applies to you.
So, please resist their “knocking.”
And, when you go to the big websites and they refuse to take your ads, don’t get despondent. Get determined. You can still get on those sites if you really want to.
But, guess, what? As one of their executives once quipped to me: “The agents and the public often call us a necessary evil, but what they don’t realise is that we are evil, but not necessary.” And, as I have previously mentioned, this person sold their own home without spending thousands of dollars on ridiculous “premium ads.”
PRUDENT POINT 7 – BUYERS WILL FIND YOUR HOME
Of all the absurd notions that permeate real estate, the one about agents having some mysterious access to the best buyers is the most absurd.
Here is the most important fact about selling without a typical agent: THE BUYERS WILL FIND YOUR HOME.
Years ago, before the days of the internet, the big rage in real estate were fancy window displays. Sure, they were beautiful. They would have rotating homes on them. Or a keypad you could push for more information. A speaker above the window would release a voice telling you more about the home.
Agents spent as much as $50,000 for flashy window displays. They looked great. And did nothing – at least as far as increasing sales results.
As I used to tell agents in those days: “If you use sticky tape to display your homes in your office window, buyers will find you.”
And it’s true.
The right buyer – not the hordes of sticky-beaks (which represent 99% of the “visitors” to the big web sites. Do the math: They claim a “million visitors a week” but there are only 10,000 homes sold a week. So, who are those other 990,000 visitors??) – is a resourceful person.
The right buyer – and always remember, you only need one buyer – will find your home.
Here’s a few quick tips:
- LOCAL: The buyer who’s likely to be the best paying buyer will be a local – often from your own street. In the bush, farmers know that neighbours always pay a premium.
- SIGN: A For Sale sign is essential. So many times, sellers pay thousands of dollars in advertising money to agents, only to find that the best buyer was one of their neighbours. So, surely, before you even think of spending money on advertising, wouldn’t it be prudent to ask the neighbours? Even if you haven’t spoken to them in years, at least design a flyer and distribute it (via Australia Post if you are exercise-adverse) to all the homes in your street or in your immediate suburb.
- FACEBOOK: Facebook is one of the best ways to find buyers. It’s relatively inexpensive and you can target specific areas. Indeed, Facebook is so good that some agents say it’s much better than the major real estate website. One agent, however, was “banned” from using Facebook. Not by Facebook, but by his franchise. Why? Because the franchise owned shares in the big web site. Honestly, those words “If only you knew” keep resonating in my mind.
- COMMUNITY: If you have a local paper, or a community notice board at your local shops – or even if there’s a Facebook page for your community make sure you use it.
- SKIPS: And if you really want buyers (and agents) knocking on your door, hire one of those waste bins. Leave it on your front lawn. You don’t have to be clearing up the rubbish or clutter around your home (although it helps) because those bins (“skips”) are a veritable magnet for house hunters.
Believe it, buyers will find your home.
It’s almost spooky. So many homeowners report the same phenomenon. They wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll sell my house.” And the next moment, buyers (and agents) start clamouring. There is very little that a typical agent can do that sellers can’t do themselves. Or much better.
PRUDENT POINT 8 – KNOW HOW (OR WHO) CAN ANSWER QUESTIONS
Stop thinking about all the reasons why you can’t sell your own home. Start thinking of all the reasons why you can sell your own home.
Many home sellers scare themselves terribly by ‘what if’ questions. They think to themselves: What if the buyers say this or what if the buyers say that?
Please don’t worry. Again, you’ll soon get the hang of it.
Here’s seven typical questions with suggested replies:
Q: Is your home still for sale?
A: It is now because we are still booking-in people to have a look.
Q: Are you negotiable on the price?
A: Don’t you think you should inspect it before we talk about negotiation?
Q: What’s your lowest price?
A: Our lowest price is going to be based on the highest any buyer is willing to offer us.
Q: Will you consider terms?
A: Sure, we will consider anything for serious buyers.
Q: Why are you selling?
A: We are relocating for personal reasons.
Q: Are you desperate to sell?
A: Not at all, we are very reluctant, though, as we love this home.
Q: What happens if we see it and want to buy it?
A: We are getting support from someone, so we’ll discuss that when we meet.
If you have been supporting us for years – as have many of our readers – or we have been unable to find you a great agent, we, at Jenman Support, will proudly be that “someone” who can help you sell without a typical agent.
We have done it for many home owners when we can’t find a suitable agent – one where we can honestly say their fees are justified.
To reiterate the main point of this two-part article: The best way to sell your home is to hire a good agent, one who knows how to negotiate the best possible price, one who demonstrates (by actions not words) that your interests come first and, finally an agent who will not charge you any money for any reason until your home is sold.
That’s the best way to sell your home.
Granted, however, good agents make up less than ten per cent of all agents.
Therefore if you can’t find such an agent, why would you want to hire someone that’s only going to do a worse job than you could easily and simply do for yourself?
No matter what agents – or their propoganda press – may tell you, the truth is this: You can sell your home yourself.
If everything written so far hasn’t completely convinced you, try this: Rather than paying an agent two or three thousand dollars an hour, why not pay yourself at least the same amount?
How much an hour do you earn now?
If you can’t find an agent to hire who’s worth the money, hire yourself.
Give yourself one of the highest paid part-time jobs you’ve ever had. I speak from experience when I tell you that you’ll enjoy it.
And, if you need me, I will be there beside you – all the way.
Let’s do it together, if you wish.
You have absolutely nothing to lose. But plenty to gain. Maybe as much as half a million dollars.
Come on, do it. Give it a go.
You’ll be so glad you did.