Agents must be mas­ters of all the tools at their dis­posal

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Tim War­ing

ES­TATE agents were once at the bot­tom of the pile in the eyes of the gen­eral pub­lic, and I am not sure if it is thanks to good luck or hard graft that other un­named pro­fes­sions may have now over­taken us at the foot of the league ta­ble in terms of stature.

Some might say it’s only be­cause of the im­pact of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis. I would pre­fer to think it is be­cause the ma­jor­ity of es­tate agents have “upped their game”. Many agents have fi­nally re­alised it is a ser­vice in­dus­try and that both buy­ers and sell­ers ex­pect an agent to be proac­tive, not sim­ply wait for things to hap­pen. What stag­gers me is that some agents have still not grasped this fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple. How­ever, it is not sim­ply a ques­tion of be­ing “pro-ac­tive” by hav­ing a re­designed web site or “open view” week­ends. I be­lieve it is fun­da­men­tally about be­ing an “in­tel­li­gent es­tate agent” and us­ing all the tools that are avail­able in the most ef­fec­tive way. As such, the fol­low­ing are per­haps a few mark­ers to con­sider when as­sess­ing an es­tate agent’s abil­i­ties:

1.Mar­ket knowl­edge – Does the agent have an es­tab­lished track record of sell­ing in the area and are they used to han­dling the type of prop­erty in ques­tion? If so, the agent should have the nec­es­sary mar­ket in­tel­li­gence to en­sure that the pric­ing is cor­rect and not just as­pi­ra­tional. Com­pa­ra­ble ev­i­dence is key to cor­rect pric­ing and es­sen­tial in­for­ma­tion to sat­isfy any mort­gage valuers, who are cau­tious to say the least in the cur­rent cli­mate.

2. Sell­ers’ ex­pec­ta­tion – Sell­ers must have con­fi­dence in their agent, not only at the start, but through­out the sell­ing process. It can be a trau­matic process, where the sell­ing skills and ex­pe­ri­ence of the agent, es­pe­cially in an un­cer­tain mar­ket, are cru­cial to steer­ing the trans­ac­tion through to ex­change of con­tracts. Es­tate agency can in­volve a sig­nif­i­cant amount of abortive time. Agents need to have the drive and de­ter­mi­na­tion to keep go­ing (what­ever day of the week).

3.Buyer re­quire­ment – Some buy­ers are very clear and fo­cussed from the out­set. Oth­ers are not and need en­cour­age­ment and guid­ance on the right type of prop­erty to ac­quire. As such, a good es­tate agent needs to be a chameleon to gain the trust of buy­ers and un­der­stand ex­actly what is driv­ing the re­quire­ment and how it might be sat­is­fied with the stock of prop­erty un­der their con­trol.

4. Tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing – I am reg­u­larly told how peo­ple en­joy read­ing the York­shire Post Prop­erty sec­tion on a Satur­day and I am aware that some read­ers avidly know what has, or has not, been ad­ver­tised be­fore and at what price. News­pa­per ad­ver­tis­ing, as with brochures and sale boards, re­mains an es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent of the house sell­ing mix. It’s also in­ter­est­ing to see how tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in­flu­ence our on­line busi­ness.

5. Elec­tronic mar­ket­ing – We all use the web in our day-to-day lives A high web pro­file is crit­i­cal, hence the suc­cess of the Knight Frank global web­site (www. knight­frank.com). The key is to en­sure you en­tice buy­ers, but do not re­veal so much that po­ten­tial buy­ers choose not to view.

So what does it all boil down to? Es­tate agents can have all the in­gre­di­ents they need, but it is mak­ing sure the mix works that is the im­por­tant fac­tor and, as with all in­gre­di­ents, the best ones are rarely the cheap­est!

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