How to choose the right agent - Secret Shopping

When selecting an agent for the sale of your home, most sellers invite in two or three agents, sit and listen to them all and then make the selection based on the 'performance' that they witnessed.

Well it makes sense doesn't it? Most of us feel that we are pretty good judges of character. That we can pick out the ‘right’ one.

Well I reckon you've got about the same odds as picking the tattslotto numbers on Saturday night. You see agents get 'taught' how to present. They get taught how to act. They are on stage.

Do you want a fail-proof way to select an agent? A way that doesn't involve you sitting through the same theatre production three, four, or even more times. All it takes is a five minute phone call to half a dozen agents. That's half an hour. Or if you want to test every agent in town, it would take the same five minutes by twenty times, that's less than two hours and you will know more about the real estate industry than most owners of real estate agencies.

Try this:

Select a property that is sort of like the one you want to sell. Similar price and similar suburb. Call the agency that is handling the property and ask for some details. Ask them why it hasn’t sold. Ask them what they think of the current asking price. 

You will be amazed. In fact if most sellers rang their own agent and 'secret shopped' them they would sack them tomorrow.

Clues to look for include:

  • Failing to ever return calls
  • Lack of knowledge about the property
  • Offering to lower the price for you
  • Difficulty in setting a time to view
  • Difficulty in justifying the price
  • Failure to point out the benefits of this particular house

That's right, most sellers could do a better job of selling their home than the average agent around town.

A horror story I heard this week is of one lady in Launceston who saw a house come on the market at around the $500,000 mark, and emailed the agency to ask for some details and set up an appointment to view. 

She asked if it was possible to see it on the coming Saturday. The agent said no, it wasn't convenient!  Did they offer an alternative inspection time? No. This….'salesman' then said, “tell you what, if a Saturday appointment further down the track becomes available, I’ll give you a call." She is still waiting. The lady then suggested (in an effort to be helpful and hopefully actually view the property) that perhaps she could see it Friday night after work. The agent did not get back to her until after the suggested day and time.  And furthermore, has not heard from him since!

What do you think the owner of that property would do if they knew? Maybe that owner is you and you don’t know. 

My advice is simple. Do your research before you appoint any agent. If you failed to do that, secret shop them now. Right now. If you can’t bring yourself to do it, get a friend to make the call while you listen in. You deserve to know what your agent is saying about your home, don’t you?

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