Why Use A Real Estate Agent?

Property dealing can be tricky. It’s easy to feel insecure and worried about buying or selling a property when you are not sure how clean or honest the other person may be. If numbers and nerves are holding you back from your dream investment or sale, using a property agent is a safer and hassle free option. See below for a few advantages of involving a property professional in your transaction.

Not Everyone Can Be Trusted

We’ve come across a few buyers who have recounted horror stories when trying to purchase real estate, especially in a Sri Lankan context. Certain individuals might pose as owners of a property while only possessing a key and forged papers. They’d complete the sale with an unsuspecting buyer, take full payment and then disappear, never to be heard from again. After a while the real owner comes down from overseas to the shock of both parties. These situations are all too common and cause unneeded pain. 

Further, most people have to release their private or financial information to process a transaction. Would you really trust releasing such info to a stranger, no matter how interested they may seem in your property? 

A real estate agent may avoid these types of situations by doing a background check to know more about the person. Most agents are also naturally connected to a wide group of people so finding info is not difficult and can be the difference between a smooth transaction or a courtroom drama. 

Better Negotiation

Negotiating any deal is very tricky – in real estate, it’s even more so. It’s both an art and a science and it takes years for most to master. 

Especially when a property sale is close to closing, emotions run high and the smallest factor can break off the deal at the last minute. For example, not too long ago, Mister T dealt with an owner who was selling a beautiful, modern house in the suburbs of Colombo. His asking price was 45 million LKR and he had received an offer of 42 million LKR from an interested buyer who was a doctor. Both parties were directly in touch with each other and were close to completing the deal. However, during the course of their negotiations, the buyer made a comment that offended the owner. This resulted in the owner kicking the buyer out of his house, claiming “I will never sell to a doctor! Even if he agrees for my price of 45 million!” After this, the house remained on the market, unsold, for several more months. Finally, after many more failed attempts and disappointments, the owner ended up selling the house for 37 million LKR, to a doctor!

When you are selling a property, it is natural to feel emotionally attached and sentimental towards it. However this is counter productive to the process, especially when you are trying to get the best deal. This is why engaging the services of an agent is beneficial. An agent is able to approach the negotiations in a detached manner which takes the heat and stress off their client. They do not easily get offended by comments or criticisms and are instead focused on making the deal happen. They know to watch for trouble in a deal and they use the right selection of words and subtlety to keep the situation under control and the deal moving forward. 

Many agents have their own tricks and secrets when negotiating. For example, they know what to say at the right time, they know when it’s most beneficial to disclose certain information, how to move the deal in a certain direction, how to advise their clients and get them to agree and how to gain the maximum out of a deal. The best agents are masters of persuasion and work towards a win-win situation for both parties. Of course an agent is not a superhero who could work magic on every deal, but overall they are certainly more skilled in negotiation than the average person. 

Best Practices

A real estate agent is also familiar with the best methods needed to close a transaction. There may be instances when an owner is unaware of the process or how legal matters work. Many are naive and take long routes with paperwork or pay unnecessary fees. Or it could be that when selling, the title of the house is not clear or the bank is delaying to provide the loan by the deadline. A real estate agent has usually been through all these situations and they know which solutions to use to get the transaction moving forward. They are familiar with the paperwork process and they know to pay attention to the little details which are usually missed but which could make or break a deal.

With a recent rental transaction where Mister T was involved, a foreign tenant chose to pay their rent in USD to their landlords foriegn currency account. Being familiar with such transactions, Mister T warned the landlord that due to the currency exchange rate, the bank would convert the remitted funds at the banks own exchange rate and the landlord would end up receiving a slightly lower rental figure than what was mentioned in the agreement. After the funds were deposited, there was a bit of confusion and back and forth as the bank had released the funds just as Mister T had warned it would. However, with a gentle reminder from Mister T and after cross-checking with their bank, the landlord let the matter drop and the transaction continued as normal. 

Hence, an agent’s job is never easy and is not something that can be done part-time. It also involves cleaning, making properties presentable, opening up properties for viewings, waiting all day-long for an open house event, handling marketing, negotiations and paperwork. It is a full time job that takes patience, skill and knowledge. Mister T has met many owners who initially rejected our services, only to find out the hard way how difficult it was to do it alone and later reverted to our help.

Access To Market Information

Unlike the average buyer or seller, a real estate agent is working within the market all the time. This time and experience gives them critical info on market trends and industry knowledge which is invaluable. Using their advice can save you time, money and can also help you make better informed and wiser decisions. 

For example, a recent study showed that properties listed for rent or sale by owners ended up closing for 30% less than properties listed by agents. Many agents have seen almost all properties available on the market and they know how your property compares with the rest. When inspecting your property, a true professional will provide you with honest feedback and points that you might not have considered before or understood. Think of their concern as an extra set of eyes looking out for your property!

Clients are also more comfortable to provide feedback on viewed properties to agents, giving agents an inside understanding on how the buyer’s/tenant’s mind works. Most owners will remain unaware of these opinions and will struggle for a long time, not understanding why their property is not moving. A good real estate agent knows the pro’s and con’s of your decisions and how you can get the best deal. Instead of second guessing their advice, use their market knowledge to understand your own limitations and how you can improve. 

One instance where property owners could really use their agents’ help is when pricing their properties. It is a terrible practice to overprice a home, but Mister T has come across multiple property listings that are significantly overpriced. Some buyers may never see these listings as it falls outside of their search criteria while others start to question the longer period of advertising and stigma starts to build around them. These properties remain on the market for a long period of time (sometimes years) and ultimately end up selling for much less or not selling at all. It’s important to know your boundaries and limits when deciding on a price point for your property. Most professional agents have data on the prices properties were sold for in the past and they can also provide realistic rates at which you can sell your home for in the present. So consulting a professional agent in these instances is critical. 

Marketing Power

Marketing your home is not as simple as it once used to be. Gone are the days when you could put one simple ad in a newspaper or website and get a flood of inquiries. Times have changed, making property advertising quite complex. There are multiple listing sites available and if you’re not conscious, your ad can slip to the bottom of each one of these sites and be forgotten. Most professional agents know how to navigate multiple listing platforms and use it to their full potential to market your property. Occasionally, not every listing site will be appropriate for your property so knowing where to post and when to post is also important. 

Further, not every property will benefit from being on the market. There are some very high value properties that will be at a disadvantage if advertised on any platform. Most buyers who have enough cash to afford big budget homes would not be viewing offline or online ads but rather have their own method of sourcing properties – one being using their trusted real estate agent. It’s also a risk for any owner to explicitly market such properties as they are compromising their security by exposing such details and values to the world. This info in the wrong hands could lead to a list of never-ending nightmares (think extortion, kidnapping, even murder). 

Most agents have an existing database of high networth buyers who they covertly advertise such properties to. This database usually includes celebrities, sports stars, lists of professionals from every industry- who rely solely on their agent for updated information on the market and the best deals in town. Mister T similarly dealt with one such buyer who purchased a high budget apartment after the property was promoted to him in person, whereas the seller had also advertised the property on all platforms and was struggling to close the sale for a period of time. 

So those are a few reasons as to why you would benefit from using a real estate agent. Should you require any further information or services with regards to the above, do not hesitate to reach out to us via marketing@mistert.lk.

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Posted by Mister T – The Real Estate Giant on Monday, August 24, 2020