You are most likely to select your agent from a sales proposal process or an interview. However you decide, bear in mind that neither option actually shows the agent in action. Agents work from fully rehearsed scripts designed to ensure a slick presentation and a 'decisive close'. Given an agent is being employed to market, sell and negotiate the sale, it is well worth viewing them in the field.
To gain a clearer perspective, mystery shop them as a buyer. By asking a few questions you will rapidly gain an insight into whether the agent is the right one for you. Questions such as 'Why hasn't the property sold yet?' or 'Do you have sales evidence to justify the price guide?' can produce surprising answers.
Every agent will find it easy to hold the line with a new listing that has a lot of interest in it. A better insight into their abilities can be gained by mystery shopping them on one of their failed auctions or struggling campaigns. Look for clues to whether the agent is protecting their client's interests or breaching confidence.
The best agents are those who protect their clients, even when the campaign is not going to script. A dangerous agent for the vendor is one who becomes desperate when the campaign does not go as expected.
All agents look good when there are three buyers trying to buy one house. How does the same agent perform when the property has failed at auction, the advertising money has been spent (wasted) and the crowds have stopped turning up to the open inspections?
Here's what to look for when you mystery shop an agent:
Here's what you don't want to see when you mystery shop an agent:
There are many elements to choosing the right agent. The most dangerous (and lazy) selection method is to request three agents inspect your property and send written sales proposal. Given $50,000 or $100,000 can be easily gained or lost during the campaign, it is worth finding the right agent.
Mystery shopping is a proven method of helping to select a competent negotiator.
Written by Peter O'Malley, 'INSIDE REAL ESTATE - Buy, Sell and Profit in any Property Market'
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