The Best Way To Deal With A Selling Agent - October 2022
October 26, 2022 / Written by Rich Harvey
Buying property might be a rich tapestry of factors concerning finance, economics and personal goals, but at its heart, it’s a relationships game.
When you break down the process, it’s about someone wanting to sell a home, and someone wanting to buy a home. The trick is getting them together… and the people delivering those connections are selling agents and buyers’ advocates.
Now, buyers’ advocates are actively sought out by the purchaser to help them secure the best possible property for their needs at the right price. It’s a relationship built on trust and connection. Also, because we’re on the buying side of the equation, we seem to enjoy a generally positive reputation among the public at large.
On the other side of the ledger is the selling agent. Theirs is also a relationship built on bonding with their vendor who wants the best possible price and terms from their sale. Unfortunately, selling agents are often incorrectly perceived by the wider public as untrustworthy.
I can tell you after years of experience in the field, the vast majority of agents I know are a pleasure to deal with. They are hard working professionals who abide by legislative requirements and a code of conduct. They fulfil their role impeccably.
Yet this broader negative perception about agents leads some prospective buyers to treat them appallingly in the process.
But here’s the thing – these purchasers do themselves no favours by treating agents with contemp. Their attempts at “power moves” are simply putting the agent offside, and this can only work against them in the negotiations.
I’ve learned plenty about how to treat agents in order to secure the best possible outcome for my clients.
Here are few tips I think every buyer should take on board.
Be respectful and polite
Negotiations require a lot of communication between you and the agent. It’s imperative that you are always respectful and polite.
Being rude or aggressive doesn’t make you a good negotiator – it simply makes you unpleasant to deal with.
This will hardly have the agent favouring you if there’s other competition for buying the home. They want to deal with people who treat them and their buyers properly.
It’s not all about ego either. An agent knows that someone who’s respectful during the negotiations will be easy to deal with throughout the contract settlement process.
Be honest and open
You need to be clear about your intentions.
If you’re genuinely interested in the property, make the agent aware. If you need to do more research before you decide, tell them. If you don’t think the home suits your needs or is outside your budget, let them know.
This way you don’t waste your time or theirs, and they will appreciate your candour. They may even give you the inside running on another potential listing better suited to your requirements.
I have one caveat though – don’t give away too much information. Be measured and sensible in what you share. So, letting them know your top price too early would be a huge mistake as you lose all “wriggle room” in the negotiation. Gushingly telling them all the reasons you adore the home isn’t great either. Look for the negatives and positives and keep your assessment clinical, but always respectful.
Deliver on your promises
Whether it’s attending an inspection, returning a call or meeting a deadline, its key that you follow through on your commitments to the agent.
One of the greatest frustrations I hear from agents is when people book a one-on-one inspection, and then don’t show up. They then either then ignore the agent’s phone calls, or simply say, “I changed my mind” without apologising.
Devaluing the agent’s time and efforts by not following through is an easy way to get them offside, and it indicates you can’t be relied upon when it gets to the pointy end of the negotiation.
Don’t have unreasonable expectations
Most agents nowadays are never “off”. They have their mobile phone on hand and are generally ready to take care of business anytime to get the deal done.
Do not take unreasonable advantage of this. Calling an agent at 2am because you spotted their “For sale” sign in front of a building is an absolute no no. Leaving a rude voicemail because they didn’t return your call on a Sunday within half an hour of sending them a text message is not OK.
Be reasonable and fair and you’ll discover most will exceed your expectations.
When it comes to dealing with agents, the golden rule applies – treat others how you would like to be treated. And when in negotiations remember to play the ball, not the player.
Treat selling agents with the respect and dignity they deserve, and you will be remembered as a buyer who is worth dealing with. The seller and the agent will value your respectful approach and that can play to your advantage in a competitive field.
These are the types of skills buyers’ advocates bring to the table each time. They spend years building up reputations for excellent communication and reliability among their agent networks. A buyers’ advocate can leverage these relationships to help you achieve the best possible property outcome.
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