Good Property Agents - Qualities to look for
Buying a property is probably the single largest purchase in your life. Many people’s net wealth stems from property. A wrong choice can wipe out your savings, while a good one can be the source of immense wealth and a comfortable retirement. That’s why finding a responsible property agent is so important.
Bad property agents stir up your emotions
During the process buying a property, there are lot of things to consider, many research to do and many financial calculations to make. It may also involve many emotions that try to short-circuit all the sensible thinking process.
A bad property agent will simply want to sweet talk you into closing a deal and could not care less about your well-being. They will create the rush of emotions so that you cannot think straight. These are all the hallmarks of a bad agent. Bad property agents love to create the rush and fear of losing out.
Bad property agents avoid giving you meaningful information
The bad property agent is ill-equipped. He or she often makes small talk, trying to become more personal with you and give you the feel-good factor. You’ll feel like you’re invincible and could afford anything. However, there is no data, no reports, and no analysis; just the useless things that doesn’t contribute to critical thinking. They also avoid giving you anything substantial as they fear you will know too much and delay the decision process.
Bad property agents give you Bad Data
They will just rattle off the things that developers want them to say, handing out brochures and little else. They really do not add much value. A robot these days comes with language abilities and AI that can communicate with you. In the near future, we will have robots that can walk stairs, take the lift, bring you to showrooms and talk with you. Bad property agents talk in the same few ways and their repertoire of phrases are very limited, so very simple natural language AI programming and a robot can replace them.
They also give you bad research or bad data, passing them off as research. Their comparisons of places such as Hong Kong versus Singapore with the logic that Hong Kong is so expensive, therefore Singapore must also become expensive seriously falls short of academic research standards, even if there’s a link between how similar costly cities are and how they affect each other. Nonetheless, their so-called research falls short on explaining the direct and indirect causes or the correlating parameters causing their so-called claims that Singapore should follow Hong Kong in prices.
Bad property agents regurgitate data that was given to them, but do not understand the information the data provides.
The above are what bad property agents put you through. I will not even go through with positive attributes such as fast and good follow up, etc. Fast follow up on bad property buying decisions is like killing you in double time.
What qualities does a good property agent need to have?
Good Property Agents talk little but talk sense
Good property agents need to talk less, but talk sense. Yet, they have to be able to build the relationship with the buyer of a property or for the homeowner/seller of the property. The property agent also needs to listen to what their customer needs, rather than what they want the home buyers to buy or the price they want the seller to sell. Some emotions are expected, but a good agent should be moderate in emotions and should not create the rush to buy or sell a property.
ERA has created a site called FindPropertyAgent.sg where you can find Good Property Agents as they will try to monitor agent’s performance carefully. Go try it out!
A good property agent needs to know comparative pricing from Caveats and Financing rules and Home Loan Rates via Home Loan Report
Good property agents also need to be numerical enough and quantitative enough without boring you to death. They should be able to show you:
This is important both for selling your property as well as buying a property. If you sell your property, it is extremely likely that you are going to buy a replacement property (most people only have 1 property, so if they sell, they must buy back). A good agent should make sure that you are able to buy the next property after you sell. Some property sellers get stuck after they sold their property as they cannot get approved for a loan. They ended up renting a place, further straining their finances. Technically they’re “homeless” as they no longer “own” the home where they are staying in.
A good property agent needs to be knowledgeable, analytical and have the intellectual depth - Not simply marketing and sales depth.
Good property agents needs also to have a solid foundation in property research and the intellectual depth to discuss the data, and the ability to interpret market data and signals in a meaningful way, not simply regurgitating what their team leaders or research team tells them.
A good property agent is often well read, understands the macroeconomy, have some basic understanding in economics and the analytical ability to discern noise from real data and sensibly explain that to the customer.
Integrity, Honesty and Transparency
Integrity is important as there often is a baseline where an agent of integrity will not cross in getting a deal. There are often things that do not necessarily benefit the customer but is good for closing deal closures.
In cases where an agent is selling your place at $1.6m, the agent received multiple offers for $1.5m, but instead tells you that buyers are offering $1.4m. And they may even withhold the offers from you completely for weeks, so as to break you down gradually into softening your asking prices. This is known as staging: when you (the seller) are exhausted and despondent, you will agree to a lower price, helping the property agent to close the deal.
An honest agent will allow the home seller the transparency when getting offers, so that the price is set within reasonable boundaries, or else the agent can turn away the deal. There is no point to drag it out. There is currently no known ways of tracking what the buyers are offering. Hence, this practice is believed to be prevalent.
Hunger and speed
Hunger is the key motivation for everybody. We are all racing against time to find the next meal. A good agent needs to be always suitably hungry, so as to help you buy your ideal property or expedite the selling of your current property. Speed is of the essence in any property transaction. So no matter how honest an agent is, if this agent is NOT hungry, it counts for nothing.
A good agent will quickly resolve any outstanding issues accurately so as to be able to progress the deal. And who says hungry agents cannot be good agents?
Good property agents brings to you experience, the people network, the system to create good marketing collateral and campaign
Being hungry is the baseline, but simply being hungry is of no use. Good property agents will have a network of contacts and people where they can bring your property the biggest possible audience. Not only that, this good property agent must also have the resources to create good marketing collaterals for your property, such as professionally taken photos or videos that brings the best features of the house to the buyer.
A good property agent will probably ask for more commission, but will also draw up a detailed marketing plan and execute it on a weekly basis. He or she must not be stingy to advertise when needed and show you proof of such advertisement. An agent that is not willing to advertise is not worth your commitment to an exclusive deal.
An example of a Property marketing plan (to do list): -
Week 1: Clean up house, work with designer to stage the house for Photo taking and Video taking.
Week 2: Post on Portals A, B, C, D, E, F. Get Ready Weekly Open house or house viewing slots. Share with all agent network to market this property (be generous and open to Co-broke with other agents)
Week 3: Email campaign of 20,000 emails with the property. Share this property on Social Media sites A, B, C.
Week 4: SMS campaign to targeted potential buyers. Monthly review of offers and trends.
Week 5: Prepare 50,000 flyers to targeted potential buyers in district XX, blocks 123, 124, 125, 126, 201, 203, 210, etc.
Week 6: Advertise on Sites A, B, C, offline media, D, E, F. SingPost mailer campaign to Condominiums who may be targeted buyers.
Week 7: Prepare Advertorial about the house to highlight the merits. Open overseas marketing channels (if relevant).
Week 8: If still not sold, monthly review of marketing activities, effectiveness and whether asking prices are realistic.
Week 9 to 12: Aggressive ramping up of marketing.
These are the level of transparency good property agents will give you and update you, instead of making you feel whether they are doing their work or not. Then you look around online and offline, you cannot find your house being advertised or featured. You feel very upset, only to be assured that the work is being done. But how do you know? Often, it is not done, or they simply post it in a few sites, and that's all.
So set realistic prices, expect and demand transparency so that both parties can win. To execute these marketing it will cost the agent a lot of money. If you expect transparency one way from the agents and yet you are behaving like a bad home seller or bad home buyer, then this will not work.
So the rule is, expect and demand transparency and have a way to track it. At the same time, you have to be transparent yourself. It works both ways.
A professional buyer agent will have a wide network of partner seller agents to bring up the best offers within your designated preferred areas. In case you desperately seek a certain area, a good agent will create a flyer campaign to reach out to those areas where you are targeting.
To summarise, these are the attributes of what a good property agent needs to have
It is easier to find a spouse than a good property agent. A good property agent needs to be: -
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