Agents given harsh reality check as good times end

Two industry leaders have warned Sydney agents that sloppy real estate skills will no longer cut it as the extraordinary boom draws to a close.

Leading coach Tom Panos said the Sydney agents he speaks to are reporting a slowdown, which means that the days of easily selling homes for inflated prices are ending.

“In the last two to three years, if you were vertical, if you had a pulse rate and you had a listing – you could sell it,” he told REB’s Secrets of the Top 100 Agents event.

“If you don’t know how to negotiate, if you don’t know how to have crucial conversations, if your pricing is terrible, if you don’t know how to manage a buyer, if you don’t know how to go ugly early and tell vendors what they need to hear not what they like to hear – you’re going to have a very hard six months.”

Domain Group announced last week that “the great Sydney house price boom had ended”, with house price growth slowing from 8.4 per cent in the June quarter to 3.2 per cent in the September quarter.

Mr Panos said that Sydney agents have had it easy for the past two or three years, with buyers readily accepting inflated prices. However, agents will now have to work hard to close the gap between what vendors want and what buyers are willing to pay.

However, Mr Panos added that while the slowdown would spell bad news for bad agents, it would be exciting for good agents.

“Why? Because when markets change, two things happen: great agents win market share and poor agents disappear. That’s when you grow your market share, because markets like this love skill,” he said.

Cunninghams managing director John Cunningham said it’s now “back to normal” in Sydney, which will force agents to eradicate any bad habits they might have learned during the boom.

“It’s been a situation where I think agents have become order takers during that time, and I think standards have dropped,” he told REB.

“I think there have been a lot of easy options taken, particularly agents favouring buyers who have got properties to sell.”

Mr Cunningham said he was looking at this slowdown as a chance to grow his business.

“I love it when markets turn like this – it’s a great opportunity,” he said.

“We didn’t actually have a GFC in our business. We thrived through 2008, 2009 and 2010. That’s when we had 40 per cent market share growth because we applied sales skills.”

[Related: East coast agents urged to learn tough west coast lessons]

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