Vendor paid advertising (VPA) is possible in markets where agents normally foot the bill for marketing, assuming you ask, and the extra market exposure can help generate even bigger sale prices, two high profile agents have claimed.
Director of Perth-based Realmark Coastal and former member of the REMAX group's platinum club, Sean Hughes, told a conference that while it was initially tough to get vendors to pay for marketing, the extra money spent on advertising had helped deliver a spate of strong sales results in his area.
The stronger sales had also helped drive local properties into new price brackets, further boosting his bottom line.
Mr Hughes' success contradicts the general trend in the Western Australia market, which according to a 2009 industry report by Macquarie Bank sees property marketing costs covered by the agent's commission.
In a one-on-one interview with Ray White Group director Ben White, at the Young Professionals in Real Estate Conference (YPIRE) conference earlier this week, Mr Hughes said while he initially couldn't get some vendors to pay for the entire marketing spend, strong sales results soon had vendors convinced that they should pay for all of the campaign.
Mr Hughes' comments were echoed by Brisbane-based real estate agent Matt Lancashire, of Ray White New Farm, in Brisbane. Mr Lancashire has been ranked in the top one per cent of Ray White salespeople for the past two years.
In the very first instance, he said agents simply needed to ask for vendors to pay for advertising.
"All you've got to do is ask for it," he told Ray White director Sam White, in a separate one-on-one interview at the Gold Coast-based YPIRE event.
"All they can say is no."
Mr Lancashire, who is a strong advocate of print advertising, said his approach involves laying out various newspaper spreads in front of the vendor and asking them what type of advertisement would do justice to their property.
It was only after they selected a particular advertisement that he would tell them the price.
He said big advertisements in the Qld-based newspaper, the Courier Mail, helped drive much of his business.
"If you get three or four pages of big ads, you might not sell anything...but the market will think you're doing well. If you really want to get a kick start, get big ads."
He estimated that around 60 per cent of all the people who came through his open houses were there because of his advertisments in the Courier Mail.
And, if he marketed a property well, he would generally take on an additional five listings from other vendors who had been impressed with the campaign.
Mr Hughes said agents could be guilty of overcomplicating the sales process, and instead they should be focused on doing the simple things well, and consistently.
"A lot of real estate is repetitive," he said.
"You could almost take a robot and say, do these specific tasks and do them over and over again, and add a bit of personality to it, and that would be a phenominal agent."
He added that agents must take the time to learn about their market, and this included attending their competitors' open houses, something he focused on early in his career.
"On the weekends I wouuld have a look at the other stock that was on the market," he said.
"And aside from that, phone calls were huge in the first couple of years. So, that was just meeting new people and speaking to them on a regular basis."
Mr Lancashire said he couldn't understand agents who didn't call open home attendees. He said his team would contact all these buyer prospects on the Saturday afternoon, immediately following their attendance.
An email would also be sent.
"It's amazing on how many Saturdays we've done contracts," he said. "There's a 100 per cent guarantee that if we had waited until the Monday, we would have missed an opportunity."
"I just don't get it. Agents wait for the Saturday, the market [the property] on the internet, they wait for these buyers to come, and then they don't call them back."
Mr Lancashire would also follow up on the Monday.