The Real Deal 26th April 2019

Asking for advise

Hairdressers are often little more than therapists clutching a pair of scissors and a blowdrier. Ditto real estate agents – except often they are left clutching brooms, lawnmowers and perhaps even rolling out wheelie bins. I remember my first week in real estate – one of the agents had to sweep away rat droppings at an open home as the property was vacant and nobody had done this. Disgusting. I nearly walked away as I am terrified of rats.

Real estate agents are often treated like a concierge service – to walk dogs, take in post, wheel out bins (for absentee property), handle electrical issues or coordinate with electricians for repairs, and are often like life coaches/therapists – dangerous as this can eliminate boundaries essential to ensuring the agent doesn’t get emotionally involved and jeopardise you getting sold – either through underselling or potentially pitching your price too high by trying to help you out by seeing more value than there is. Mowing lawns, buying cigarettes for clients, organising cleaners, and even arranging for electrical inspections or repairs… yes, a lot is expected of us and many of the good ones go above and beyond… when they are good people.

But one thing – do not ask your agents for – and that is financial advice. This applies to buyers and sellers. Please DO NOT ask them what they think is going to happen in 5 or 10 years. Did anyone see the GFC coming? Did anyone predict the Sydney & Melbourne property downturn happening now? Yes and no. We can see trends, but it is unfair to ask an agent questions about the market and market predictions. Agents are not market analysts. They understand history and they have a good idea of now. They cannot interpret economic trends or predict unless they have been trained to do so. An agent can advise that it is a good time to sell – or not. Or perhaps it is a good time in a property cycle. Perhaps it is a good time in that property’s cycle (the property itself). Perhaps the property is about to go into a major renovation phase or may need some serious work done before re-leasing and you haven’t got the funds. In that case, release it.

So be careful about asking for advice. And some prudent advice is: Let the agent do what they are meant to do – let them focus on listing, marketing, negotiating and selling your property!

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