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Building better relationships with real estate agents

By Rich Harvey, CEO and Founder www.propertybuyer.com.au

How valuable can good relationships with estate agents be in the property searching process?

Absolutely essential, it’s all about networking and having the right contacts.  Without agent contacts you will rarely find anything.  Agents provide the access and the conduit to vendors.  While you can try and approach vendors directly, you actually have a better chance of doing deals via agents as the vendor feels that they have “tested” the market, and will also be more educated on market values by the sales agent.

What key advantages can investors reap from having good relationships with real estate agents?

Getting first access to hot property deals.  At propertybuyer we maintain a detailed agent database to stay in touch with agents.  This is one of our critical success factors and has taken a decade to build up.  When it comes to sell, you also know which agents are the top performers for an area.

What should investors do in order to build fruitful relationships with estate agents and get priority treatment?

Attend open home inspections.  Give them your details.
Show the agent you are a serious buyer, treat them with respect and reply to phone calls and emails. Don’t waste their time.

How important is it to show you are a serious buyer? What should you have prepared to demonstrate this?

Tell them your key criteria and what you are looking for.  Develop a “Buyers Brief” and give this to the agent (we do this for our clients).
If you make an offer- then follow through.  If you keep putting in false offers to an agent you will get the same reputation as the boy that cried “wolf.” If you put in lots of crazy offers, you can lose the respect of the agent.

How often should you contact an estate agent to show you are serious? Can you go overboard?

Don’t stalk them, so anything more than once or twice a week might be overkill.

How many agents should you look to build up a relationship with?

As many as possible. Contact all agents in the relevant area you are searching.
At propertybuyer, we have an extensive agent database of thousands of agent so we can help clients quickly find what they are looking for.  One of the benefits of dealing with a “Buyers Agent” is that you don’t have to deal with multiple real estate agents.

What should you be cautious of when dealing with estate agents? Are there things you should not reveal and how can you avoid being taken advantage of?

Be up front about your budget – don’t be too cagey about this – they need to know how much you can afford so they can match you with the right property. Be careful to not reveal too much about your personal situation if you think this will influence the way the agent considers you.
For our clients we are very careful with confidentiality – in fact we are able to represent clients anonymously using a limited power of attorney.  This works well where we are representing a celebrity or well known public figure, or where there is conflict between family members and discretion is required.

How do you determine a good agent from a bad? Can a buyer trust an estate agent?

There are three key criteria we look for in evaluating agents.

  1. Communication (personal and people skills)
  2. Reputation (integrity)
  3. Performance (ability to get good prices)

A “good” agent is one that has a strong reputation in the local area, responds to your call the same business day and has a track record of good results and positive testimonials from their clients.

Yes- you can trust a real estate agent, but you need to qualify them first and make sure they stick to their word…..it’s easy to spot the liars as they keep slipping up and can’t remember what they said last!

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