Having worked in the industry for some 20 years, I have witnessed various types of market; from peaks to crashes as well as everything in-between. It’s a case of using your experience to identify market changes, sometimes subtle, and then adapting the selling strategy and the advice given to sellers. There will be many people working in estate agency who are yet to experience anything other than a strong seller’s market, and when the time comes they will need to adapt and learn new skills in order to be successful in a more balanced, or weakened market.
One of the key features in estate agency is providing the seller with feedback. In recent years, subject to a correct marketing strategy, demand has been so strong, that in many instances giving feedback has been a case of putting forward a number of offers (following an open day), then progressing those offers until a sale price is agreed.
Having viewed a property, the potential buyer may feel awkward about giving feedback of a negative nature. Some are happy to tell it how they see it, yet understandably many have no desire to offend the seller and so simply say “it wasn’t for us” or “I like the house and will get back to you” (but never do). A proactive agent would much rather receive genuine feedback and by being approachable they stand a better chance of achieving this.
If the buyer feels comfortable, they are more likely to take part in a relaxed and open conversation, which in reality benefits everyone. The agent can obtain the all-important genuine feedback, this in turn helps the seller understand what people really think about their property; and the agent gains a better understanding as to what “turns off” a particular buyer (win-win-win)
But what happens if the viewings are so thin on the ground, the feedback simply isn’t there? Sometimes it may well be down to price, especially if the market has adjusted and the agent and/or seller is/are a few months behind the market. However, there is a way the agent can gather useful information before telling the seller “you need to drop the price”.
Instead of simply relying on e-mail property alerts and the property portals to do the work for them, the agent can call through their buyer database, giving them an opportunity to ask the buyer whether there was a particular reason the buyer decided not to view a property, which they had been notified of (email / SMS etc).
Quite often, due to the chance of having a Q&A’s conversation, which an e-mail or internet advert cannot do for you, this exercise will result in booking an extra viewing or two. Perhaps to some estate agents, this will seem little return for 6-8 hours work, especially if having tried this before, nothing came from it; yet every now and again it’s this level of effort that will result in a sale. At the very least it enables the agent to gather even more feedback about the property – good or bad, feedback is important.
By being proactive, as well as “time-generous” at the viewings and when speaking with buyers, it can (and in our experiences does) give the agent a better chance of establishing the true reasons as to why somebody isn’t interested in buying a particular property; and as mentioned previously, this can be of benefit to everyone.
Another way to improve the chances of obtaining genuine feedback, is to make sure your agent includes free “accompanied viewings” within their “no sale no fee” service.
In a recent survey, 1000 UK adults were asked about the things that made them lose interest in an otherwise suitable property they were viewing, aside from the condition of the property itself.
Here are the results of that survey.
|Turn off||Percentage who said the turn off could be a deal-breaker|
|Detecting a bad vibe||54.3%|
|Lots of fast food shops nearby||37.2%|
|Lots of pound shops nearby||30.4%|
|Lots of pubs and restaurants nearby||24.9%|
|Charity shops nearby||21.2%|
|Patriotic flags on neighbouring properties||19.5%|
|Disliking the current owners||18%|
|Lots of religious buildings nearby||17.4%|
|Lots of vintage/charity shops/boutiques nearby||6%|
Survey carried out by easyproperty