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‘Any idiot can sell the property at market value’

16 November 2020 Grace Ormsby
Peter Brack

There’s little to be proud of as an agent selling lots of properties if you’re not actively working to achieve the best price for your vendors, an agent has argued.

In conversation with REB, Century 21 Radar Properties principal Peter Brack has highlighted that a transactional approach to real estate is designed to benefit agents only, considering that while a lot of property sales may look good to an agency and the owners of a business, “it’s not good for the vendors”.

“There’s no benefit, there’s no joy, there’s nothing to be proud about selling lots and lots of properties if you’re not getting the best price for your vendors, because they are the ones who pay you,” he stated.

“Somebody who has engaged you, who has entrusted you with, most of the time, their single biggest asset — they’ve entrusted you to get the best possible price that you can — then, by god, that’s what you need to do.”

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According to Mr Brack, the role of a real estate agent is not to get market value. Instead, it’s to “market the property, to deal with the buyers, and to negotiate the highest possible price we can”.

“Otherwise, why do we even exist?” he queried.

From his point of view, an agent’s job is “completely redundant” if market value is all a vendor was after, arguing that any owner of a property could “stick a sign out the front of their house that says ‘house for sale – market value – call the owner’” if it were the case.

Noting working in the best interests of a client as “a core function of the job”, the Turramurra-based principal believes attitude and mindset is what separates the client-focused agents and those solely focused on turnover.

“It’s a shift of focus from looking after what’s best for you versus what’s best for your client,” he said.

“There are a lot of agents out there who think that their job is to sell the property, but no, that’s not your job — any idiot can do that — your job is to get the highest price.”

He explained that the mindset of a turnover agency requires an agent’s whole and sole focus being on getting properties listed, putting them on the market, and then moving them on as quickly as possible.

But the reality is, according to Mr Brack, that if you are going to give everything to your client as vendor, “you can’t be handling more than eight or nine properties at once, at most”.

“Because on a Saturday, when you are running around from inspection to inspection to inspection, a single agent cannot physically handle more than, really, seven or eight inspections in one day,” he argued.

“So, if an agent has more than that number of properties listed with them, then what are the two options? They either don’t go to all the inspections themselves, or they get their junior staff to do it.”

He acknowledged that “every real estate trainer teaches agents to put on support staff, to offload work that’s not dollar productive to your junior staff so that you can focus on just going out and listing and selling more properties”.

But such a stance led Mr Brack to consider the question: “If an owner has engaged you to get the highest possible price for their property, would you think they’d be impressed if they thought that it was the junior staff that were doing all of the legwork, as opposed to the senior agent?”

From his perspective, this legwork needs to be done by the agent in charge, “because one of the skill sets in achieving the best possible price is actually dealing with the buyers”.

“Too many times I hear from agents ‘Oh, it’s a numbers game’. It’s not,” he stated.

“You need to find out from your buyer: What are their trigger points? Why are they looking in this area? What other properties have they missed out on? Why are they buying, or why are they even looking at this property that they’ve come to look at?”

And then, more importantly, knowing “what’s your budget? What are you prepared to pay for this house?”

According to the principal, you can’t do that if you are not meeting with or eyeballing every potential buyer — “it’s a physical impossibility!”

He added that it’s the agent’s role to understand why they are looking at particular properties, explaining that it’s “part of the skill in getting the highest price”.

“You need to be close to the buyers,” he reiterated.

While Mr Brack acknowledged that his approach may mean a property spends more time on the market, he was dismissive of any negative connotations associated with such a strategy, commenting that if it takes a little bit longer to sell, then so be it.

“The simple question to ask a vendor is: Would you like your property sold in two weeks? Or would you like it to take a little bit longer if we can potentially get you an extra $50 to $100 grand?”

In most circumstances, barring distressed sales, deceased estates or divorce cases, Mr Brack said vendors will choose the option which leads to the better price.

‘Any idiot can sell the property at market value’
Peter Brack reb
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