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These are the three main traps that property sellers fall into

By Holly Darwon

FOR as long as I can remember the weak agents in a real estate market have spruiked the benefits of an ‘off market’ sale.

An ‘off market’ sale is when an agent takes a buyer through a property that is not for sale and they buy it.

No annoying open homes, no expensive marketing and a quick peaceful sale.

Sounds perfect, right?

I think the expression is, when it sounds to good to be true, it generally is.

Like in politics it’s easy to tell people what they want to hear to get chosen and then once appointed it’s a whole new game.

Now these sales can occur, but their success rate is very low and the damage if not sold can be irreparable. Consider the buyer for a moment. When you are shown a property that is not publicly available you like it because the pressure of competition dissipates.

The chance of a bargain is presented. Obviously an unwilling seller will hold firm on their price and if the buyer will jump, then a sale is made. But a willing seller must engage – if not the property sits on the market in the dark, psychologically depreciating to all those buyers who have rejected it.

When an owner is considering a sale there a few traps and seeing past them can be difficult.

The first is predicting the price you’ll achieve, this is a minefield for agents. The weak agents just shoot high. But keep in mind a high price from an agent doesn’t mean you’ll achieve a high price. Price from an agent is a terrible way to chose, because it’s too easy for a bad agent to seem good. Develop your own opinions, avoid asking them until you’ve worked them out, then ask them for the evidence they have gathered. These comparable sales in no way mean you will achieve that price, so don’t use the number as a yard stick for the agent you chose.

Next is where the buyer who will pay the most money will see your property. Agents who don’t present you cross media marketing options are more than likely just telling you what they think you want to hear.

No agent knows where your buyer will come from. When you don’t use marketing options like a sign, internet or newspaper (to name a few) you are ruling out the possibility of any buyer enquiring from that medium. Too risky! Ask your agent for the marketing campaign they believe will get you the highest possible price.

Finally, agents are free if they don’t sell your property. Commission is payable on settlement. So choosing an agent based purely on the price they charge defies logic. You will become completely reliant on this person to update you on market feedback on your property. This information will influence your decisions and ultimately affect the price you take. When you consider that they only get paid, when you get paid, you should back the person you believe will get you the highest price.

If you are considering engaging an agent then enquire on their listings and attend their open houses. Get a feel for how they treat their buyers. When interviewing ask them to give you their strategies to get the best price, not their strategy to get your business. The free cheese is in the trap and with the market moving an agent with a buyer is not enough when a record price could be on the table.

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