9. Communications between Agent and Sellers

Agents vary in the way they manage communications with buyers and sellers. This is one area that you should ask about in the agent interview. Some agents do not follow up buyers at all after an open home or inspection, on the grounds that if they were interested they would call. Others follow up, but don’t get sufficient feedback to help the seller understand how the market is seeing the property.

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At a minimum, you should receive a call after inspections and open homes to give you a quick report on how they went. Early on I believe it is important you and the agent actually talk, but later on an SMS or email may suffice if it works for you as the client.

Your agent should provide you with a written weekly report with performance measure such as:

  • Effectiveness of the online campaign (realestate.com.au and domain.com.au issue their own weekly reports that can be forwarded direct to the seller)
  • of phone and email enquiries
  • of inspections
  • of attendees at open homes
  • Feedback from inspections and open homes
  • Price feedback
  • of interested parties
  • of offers submitted

A weekly meeting to go through these issues and any other relevant issues should be held. Here is a suggested agenda:

SUGGESTED AGENDA FOR WEEKLY MEETING

  1. Seller feedback on agent performance
  2. Campaign progress
  3. Open homes/inspections feedback
  4. Price and market response to price
  5. Presentation of home
  6. Offers
  7. What we need to do now to get a result

 

The Importance of Market Feedback

It is essential that your agent provides you with market feedback about the responses of buyers to the property, and to the price. This is particularly important in the first three weeks of the campaign, when most of the buyers will be looking at your property, and when—if your property is priced right—you should be getting offers.

After the first open home and inspections, the agent should follow up every buyer to determine their level of interest in the property, comments on presentation, and their perceptions about price. Sure, some potential buyers may have a vested interest in putting forward a low price, but agents know to allow for this. Most potential buyers will not be interested in making an offer, so they are usually willing to be honest about price. Some, in fact, like to make a point of showing how well they have researched the market by comparing your property with others that have sold in the area or are for sale, to justify their price expectations.

This feedback is important so you, the seller, can understand where your property sits against competing properties, and how likely it is to sell at its current price. If the property has been advertised with no price, it is at this point that you and your agent could sit down and discuss what price would be appropriate to aim for in negotiations. Your agent should present all offers to you in writing, so having a target price in mind is helpful for the negotiation stage. This target may already have been decided at the listing stage. If so, it needs to be revisited to either confirm that is realistic, or whether it may need reconsideration in the light of market feedback.

Remember, the market is not static, it will always be trending up or down. If it is moving up, that’s good from the seller’s perspective because you might find the target achievable or even exceeded. If the market is dropping, however, you may be chasing the market down. Often sellers in a declining market keep the price too high for too long and end up having to accept a much lower price than if they had been realistic in the first place.

Feedback is also important on presentation and other aspects, such as suitability for the likely target buyers. For example:

  • Degree of clutter.
  • Dirty or untidy presentation.
  • Size of rooms, design of house and quality of fitout.
  • State of carpet, the tiles, the curtains.
  • The views or outlook from the house.
  • Quality and condition of appliances.
  • Things that have pleasantly surprised buyers.
  • Features not mentioned or inaccurately described that have disappointed them.

Such feedback allows you to tweak the listing script or presentation of the house, rearrange furniture, store some clutter, to better meet buyer expectations.

Don’t get emotional about the feedback. It’s not personal. Remember, we have a product we are trying to sell. Hopefully you’ll allow your agent to tell it like it is, and discuss it rationally. Don’t blame the messenger, because you already know that 90% of buyers won’t be interested in your house. Learn from the feedback and profit from it.

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