Domain asks buyers’ and sellers’ agents how to build good working relationships with those who get paid by the other party yet simultaneously achieving a positive end result on both sides.
Smart agents from opposite sides of the real estate transaction line see each other as allies and have formed great working relationships with one another to the benefit of their clients.
The ‘us and them’ story does not hold true
Frank Perri, auctioneer for Jellis Craig in Doncaster, in Melbourne’s north east, has been selling homes for about 20 years and says buyers’ and sellers’ agents “can have a mutually beneficial” professional relationship.
“I have always viewed it that way,” Perri says. “I certainly don’t think it has to be an ‘us and them’.
“Their role is to source and negotiate a suitable property for their client, but it is more advanced than just that.
“We can actually cut through and talk directly to each other because we understand the industry and ultimately have the same goal. I don’t get threatened by it.”
Perri is on the email lists of three buyers’ agents and says in an auction sale, for example, buyers’ agents are “not an obstacle but more an ally”.
Their clients are already qualified with their finances in order – they are ready to buy, which can save a sales’ agent untold hours.
“Sometimes I have approached them directly [in an auction campaign] and said ‘look, I know you want to buy it and I want to sell it. I am not going to make it hard for you.’ It is just about building open and transparent relationships.
“When I have an off-market property listing, we can just talk plainly even before the advertising photos are taken and the marketing is all ready, cut to the chase, which again can mean time savings for agents.
“The buyer is qualified and given there is often about three months’ lead-in time before a buyer is ready to buy, a buyers’ agent saves a sellers’ agent a lot of time getting a buyer to the point of purchasing.”
‘A match made in heaven’ for prestige agents
“I have found it invaluable – we are working with buyers’ agents on almost every property listing,” says Adcock, who currently works with five buyers’ agents.
“The large majority of my properties are being sold to people from the south or coming back from overseas, and also Chinese buyers, and because they are busy people they are prepared to pay 2 per cent to these buyers’ agents to save them time and stress.”
The perks are quicker time-frames before contracts and, often, before properties even get to market.
It is also warmly received by many vendors who would rather keep their homes out of sight of the general public.
“They are getting all of our listings via our alerts and will often call me within 30 minutes of its going live,” he says.
“They have really been on the front foot in terms of engaging me this year so you have this situation of strong demand, we have the listings, they have the buyers so, look, it is really a match made in heaven.”
Oodles of mutual agent benefits – but ‘cut the BS’
Nicole Marsh, founder of Eureka Property, agrees it is possible to have good dealings with sellers’ agents, with one caveat.
“Yes, it is possible … however as a buyers’ agent, I’m always mindful of the fact that I work for the buyer, and in the buyers’ best interests, while the selling agent works for the sellers, and in the sellers’ best interests,” Marsh stresses.
Her top tip for building a trust-based relationship with “the other side” is “no BS. Tell it how it is and no mind games. A lot comes down to the personality of the agent too.”
The Gold Coast buyers’ agent only works with cash or finance pre-approved buyers, which she says cuts the risk of collapsed contracts for all agents, and is a standout benefit to associated selling agents.
Other benefits can include sales referrals, which can mean new listings, and off-market deals, which can eliminate the need for open market inspections.
“Dealing with me as a buyers’ agent, the agents know that the risk of a deal ‘falling over’ under finance is a lot less so they have a higher chance of a deal getting through to completion and actually settling,” she says.
“I’ve purchased hundreds of properties in my career as a buyers’ agent, they also know we have the insight, knowledge and resources to work through any issues that may arise along the way, again increasing the chance of the deal getting through to settlement and the agent not having to ‘sell’ the same property three or four times before it actually settles.
“It saves them a lot of work by dealing with me.”
Buyers; agents can be ‘worthy’ adversaries
On the other side of the country, Emma Everett of Monumental Wealth in Perth says “absolutely” it is possible to work together without drawing blood.
“Although both parties work for different parties, the agents have a common goal so there are many things we can work on together,” buyers’ agent Everett says.
“Most of our deals are with selling agents, very few are with vendors directly.”
Because “a lot of off-market deals” are put to her team by selling agents, “it is smart” for sales’ agents to approach buyers’ agent contacts before the open market.
She acknowledged things can change “dramatically” when a property market is “really hot”, but adds this is the same for sales’ agents when the market cycles.
“We are both paid the same way, i.e. on transacting a deal, and buyers’ agents can take some of the communication load off the sales agent, so again that is time saving and means the selling agent can move onto the next listing and not have to spend additional time on buyer customer service.
“Sometimes we can cross-refer to each other, so that is another benefit.”
Asked if she had ever encountered any negativity in the real estate sales’ battlefield, Everett quips: “It is not in anyone’s best interest to undermine each other as we are all learning from each other.”
“Look, in the end, we are all working for our clients; theirs are the vendors and ours are the buyers.
“I have never heard anyone say ‘the enemy’ out loud but once had a sales agent refer to me once as ‘a worthy adversary’ and I took that comment as a huge compliment.”
July 24, 2019