Buyers more valuable than listings in tough market

In a tough real estate market agents should approach a selling campaign as if they were building a case to put in front of a jury, a principal and former industry trainer has said.

Dane Atherton, managing director of Harcourts Coastal, on the Gold Coast, opened his office 18 months ago when many other reputable businesses were closing down. In that time he has had to reshape the way he sells property, focusing more on finding a buyer than finding a vendor.

“There is really no other way to put it, we are in a very tough market,” he told over 150 agents who attended Richardson & Wrench’s annual Jump Start 2012 training event last Friday.

“We have the tough job of telling vendors that almost all our stock is 30 per cent cheaper than when they bought it a few years ago.

“We have outlawed asking, ‘how was the open home on the weekend?’, because more often than not we would get no one through the home at all.”

Instead, Mr Atherton and his staff focus on what he refers to as, ‘building a case’ for a buyer.

“Gathering listings is fine, but it isn’t our main focus. Instead, we prospect for buyers in our marketplace,” he said.

According to Mr Atherton, speed can be the biggest factor in killing a selling campaign in a tough real estate market, like that on the Gold Coast where property values remain well below their peak.

“I believe speed kills a selling campaign, so we slow down the process and delay negotiations in order to get the vendor in the right head space,” he said. “Some agents rush out with a high offer but it can come too early. A vendor might be greedy and expect more so the offer goes begging."

“For our marketplace it is the lower offers early that normally stimulate selling later on.”

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