More sugar, please.
Article originally published AUGUST 16, 2004 –Reviewed and approved.
By Neil Jenman
How special is a special deal in real estate?
The Macquarie dictionary defines ‘special’ as “different from what is ordinary”. But if you do an Internet search on “special real estate deals”, you’ll get almost three million matches.
It seems, therefore, that special real estate deals are ordinary events. Lately, however, there really are some extra sweet special deals being offered to real estate consumers.
A few weeks ago, an agent in the Sydney suburb of Blacktown began offering “a free diamond ring” to the owners of every home sold by the agent. The ring had a “guaranteed value” of $5,000.
Another agent, who recently opened an office in Leichhardt, is offering a $5,000 discount off the normal commission. New agents are usually worth considering, not so much because of any special deal, but because they are more eager than established agents. If the bosses of a newly opened agency don’t sell homes, they run the risk of losing their own homes.
Up in Queensland, where dodgy deals abound, one agent really has come up with a sweet twist. Instead of offering a discount to sellers, he’s offering it to buyers. If you buy a property from his agency, he’ll pay you half the commission he gets from the sellers. Presumably, the sellers are told that this special deal will attract more buyers which means that both sellers and buyers are better off with this sweet deal.
Back in NSW, where the Labor Government’s new “exit tax” is being blamed for driving investors interstate, one developer is offering a discount of 2.25 per cent off the purchase price; it’s called a “vendor duty refund”. The developer’s agent says that this little sweetener is designed to “create confidence” in the minds of the buyers.
There can only be two reasons for this sudden surge of sweeteners – either the property industry is having a collective surge of generosity or properties are harder to flog. Whatever the reason, both sellers and buyers should be aware of something – a sweet deal can always be made sweeter.
The way the property market is going, it’s time for consumers to start seeing themselves as special deals. When companies are clamouring for your business, that makes you special. And whatever sweetener you are offered, you should be asking for it to be made a little sweeter. It’s as simple as saying, “I’ll have two lumps of sugar instead of one, please.”
Of course, the first thing you must consider is whether you should be involved in the special deal at all. Generally, the really special deals are sweet enough; well-priced properties always sell readily and those agents who really do get the best prices (whether they are acting for sellers or buyers) have so many customers they seldom have to add sweeteners.
Remember, it’s often the sour deals that need sweetening.
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