Series: What Do Estate Agents Do? Advertising, Qualifying Buyers and Accompanying Viewings
We’ve reached the next instalment of our Series: What Do Estate Agents Do? This week we take an in-depth look at how a good estate agent will market and promote your property, qualify potential purchasers and how well-trained agents will accompany viewings of your property to prompt a sale.
In the old days, a property ad in an estate agent’s window and the local newspaper were all that was required to promote a property. Today we also have our website and numerous portals ensuring that our clients property receives the maximum exposure to the right people – or ideally thousands of them! Plus, of course, a deep social media presence.
But property advertising is not just about exposure. It’s about understanding the psychology of buying and ensuring that adverts, no matter where they appear, continue to pull in new buyer enquiries. Too little detail and buyers will not have anything to hook into; too much detail and they have no reason to view the property – and viewings are critical. Property is seldom sold from an ad – but viewings are!
It’s important to ensure that five main areas are covered in an effective property ad; Where is it? What’s it like? How big is it? How much is it? How do I view it? Anything else is superfluous and distracting.
How your agent handles enquiries from a successful advert is equally important. As well as establishing the ability of the buyer, a good agent will probe further and seek to understand areas of compromise in the buyer that may well result in that buyer viewing, and often proceeding to buy, a property they might never otherwise have considered.
Most buyers buy something different to their original intention, so let various other property ads in addition to yours do the job of making the agent’s phone ring, then leave it to your agent to convert those enquiries into viewings of YOUR property!
The phrase ‘willing and able’ is seldom heard today, as it no longer appears on estate agency documentation. However, it remains important to discover if a prospective buyer for your property is indeed willing and able to proceed, should they express interest in your home.
This is especially the case today, when people are finding it harder to get a mortgage than they did last time they bought. But apart from the obvious financial issues governing the buyer’s ‘ability’ to proceed, there are several other things a good agent will seek to discover when deciding whether or not any offer from the buyer is worth recommending to the vendor (although all are bound to be submitted to the vendor by law).
One of the best questions we ask our buyers is ‘What has prompted your move?’ The answer to this often goes right to the heart of why they are moving. Only then can we offer them properties which will satisfy their needs.
Another critical question is ‘When do you hope to move?’ If they say ‘sometime in the next 12 months’, the chance of them buying soon is low. Most good buyers know what they need to achieve and they usually have a date in mind. This date is often linked to school term times, a new job starting, baby due, etc, or it may be to satisfy an acute frustration such as journey time to work. Only when the agent knows what sort of timeframe the buyer has in mind can he/she begin to gauge the buyer’s motivation and hence their willingness to move.
Actually, finding out where they are in the moving cycle can also help us to help you as a vendor. Have they sold their own house yet? If so, what do they understand by the term ‘sold’!
The layman’s view of an estate agent is simply someone who shows prospective buyers round properties. Whilst understandable, this simplistic perspective belies the fact that the well-trained agent knows how to maximise the viewing opportunity with the specific objective of prompting a sale.
Whilst ‘showing someone round’ might appear straight-forward, vendors who do this themselves as opposed to allowing their agent to do so may be missing out on opportunities on several fronts.
Firstly, a good agent recognizes that they cannot ‘force’ someone to buy a property. However, they can encourage buyers to buy a specific property in comparison to others on the market, based on a good understanding of the buyer’s specific needs, and importantly of those areas in which compromise might be found. Most buyers compromise on something! A specific vendor only wants to sell their property and generally has no idea of the buyer’s needs in the context of their stated preferences.
There is also a process involved as well as a degree of psychology. Most people prefer to view a property at least twice before committing. The first viewing is really to ‘get a feel’ for the property – ‘could we be happy here?’ Yet vendors often try to impress with logical/factual statements that would be better kept for a second viewing.
Additionally, buyers prefer to discuss their plans for a property out of earshot of the vendor and accompanied viewings allow them the space to do so.
Finally, a good agent is trained to spot buying signs and knows how to act on them, thereby helping the buyer to make a decision that genuinely is in the best interests of buyer and seller alike, resulting in a successful sale that will indeed go through to a satisfactory completion.
If you’re looking to market your property and would like a service rated second to none, give your local Arden Estates office a call, we’d be happy to help.