by Neil Jenman
READING TIME: 4.5 mins
How things have changed. Both the world and our lives. And how quickly.
It’s July 2020. Think back a year. Whatever was worrying you then, if you remember, surely seems trivial now.
No matter how it’s viewed, we are now living in frightening times. And sad times.
A year ago, in July 2019, our biggest news was Bernard Tomic allegedly failing to try in a tennis match. And we had a new Governor-General, a decent man called David Hurley. But good news seldom attracts attention, so his appointment escaped most Australians.
In July 2020, there is no escaping the barrage of bad news. It’s coming from every direction – our televisions, our radios, our phones, our neighbours and from our families. There’s nothing funny about 571,571 deaths. That’s a lot of grief, even if it is a small percentage of the 7.7 billion.
The rest of the world may not care about your Grandma, but she’s on your mind now. In our home, my 86-year-old mother-in-law has moved in. She’s not going anywhere until this is over.
As for the fact that “only 108 Australians have died”, that’s not a sign, as conspiracy theorists might say, that COVID-19 is only a minor ailment. The figure of 108 deaths is a sign of success. Had we not locked-down, there would have been thousands of deaths. Just because you dodge a bullet, you shouldn’t sneer at the bullet.
For those who say this virus doesn’t matter, here’s a question: “If you or a loved one tested positive, would it matter then?”
It happened in my family and I can tell you the answer is, “yes”. I’ve never had a more frightening month. All’s well now, thank God.
All of us are affected to some degree with this pandemic.
If I had one wish it would be that those who are least affected could have a bit more compassion for those who are most affected.
The slogan says “we are all in this together” but some are “in” far worse than others.
Wouldn’t it be good if we had a “help someone” plan, where one of the least affected helped one of the most affected? Just one helping one. Millions of times. That would give credence to “being in it together”.
THE REAL ESTATE WORLD
How is the pandemic affecting the real estate world?
Prices are not plunging as predicted. Although, it must be said, there are more complaints about agents bullying or scaring sellers into lowering their prices. This is only to be expected. Agents who are scared of lower sales need to scare sellers into lowering prices. Presto, more sales. The oldest trick in the book, as they say. Works every time.
In many cases, lowering prices is not necessary. If there is one tragedy in the property market now, it’s sellers succumbing to relentless pressure from agents and under-selling their homes.
It feels like I am constantly encouraging sellers with two words: “Don’t crack”. Do not give in to pressure from agents. At least not unless the agent has done everything possible to get you the maximum price – and no, that does not mean lots of advertising.
Right now, there seem to be two types of sales happening:
One where sellers “crack” and sell for a low price.
And the other where sellers hold on, refusing to budge – and often get a high price.
There is a third situation happening – many sellers are taking their homes off the market. In cases where the agents are bullying sellers, withdrawing from sale in this market under these negative conditions is probably a better option than “giving it away” (as many sellers describe what agents are pushing them to do).
If you are selling now – or thinking of doing so – it is probably wrong to stay out of the market or withdraw from sale purely based on the negative climate or pressure from agents to lower your price.
As I just said, many sellers – especially the most determined, often with the most beautiful homes and especially if they are not in a hurry – are still getting great prices.
So, staying out of the market may be the worst thing you can do right now. This will be especially true if prices fall – which looks likely.
If the only reason you are not selling right now is because you don’t like the current pandemic climate and you are deciding to “wait until it’s all over”, please understand that many other home owners are thinking the same. If many people are holding off selling due to the pandemic, it means that, once the pandemic is over, there will be a flood of homes hit the market.
The real estate world – especially prices – are influenced by supply and demand. Yes, the negative right now is the pandemic – but, as long as you ban ‘open inspections’ (if they are not banned in your state), you should be safe physically if recommended precautions are taken.
The positive in selling right now is that there are less homes for sale. Although agents are saying there are “less buyers” around right now, that’s not strictly true. There are less “lookers” and less “nosey neighbours” and less “sticky-beaks”.
But as I often ask sellers: How many buyers do you want?
You only need one buyer – at the right price.
To get that one right buyer at the right price, the first thing you need is a good agent.
As regular readers of these articles will know, I have been advising all consumers to record all conversations they have with agents (declare you are doing so).
Now, granted, it’s confronting to tell agents you are recording them. But consider the alternative: agents who lie to you, then deny lying to you. When you have got them on record, you have got them.
Last week, thanks to our policy of recording agents, we caught an agent lying shamelessly to us and the sellers. After we recovered from our shock, the owners fired the agent and have now hired what we feel is an honest agent – one who will not use deception, one who is not lazy and one who will work hard to get the owners the price they deserve for their lovely home.
As we often say to sellers: “You need to drop your agent not your price.”
The pandemic is not scaring away all genuine buyers. In many cases, the buyers are more genuine because they are pre-appointed. Agents are often qualifying buyers before showing homes.
And, of course, when you qualify buyers, when you don’t use ‘bait pricing’ – and that doesn’t just mean in advertising, it also means what that dishonest agent got caught doing, which was ‘under-quoting’ to buyers enquiring about a home – you can still get a great price.
There’s an old but true saying in sales: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
The right agent can still get you the right price – pandemic or not.
If you’re selling, why not do what today’s successful sellers are doing – tough it out. Find a good agent who will work hard and get you the best price instead of one who underquotes your home and then brings you offers under your price.
What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll be no worse.
What’s the best that can happen?
You’ll get a good price in a pandemic.
If you need a good agent – or even if you need help to fire a bad agent – please let us 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.