beginners-guide

How to get a straight answer from a real estate agent

By Tim Neary
How to get a straight answer from a real estate agent

You know the drill. You see a property you’re interested in, but you cannot get the agent to tell you what the price is. Here is what you should know about agents and price quoting — and getting past the spin.

A lot of the agent responses to price enquiries from prospective buyers nowadays are spin, says buyer’s agent, property investor and expert negotiator, Robert Skeen.

“They might say they don’t really give price guides, but will send a list of comparable sales for you to look at and make up your own mind,” Mr Skeen told The Smart Property Investment Show podcast.

“Or sometimes they will say it’s their first open and not really sure of the price yet. That they want some feedback from the buyers first and then they will let you know.”

It’s spin, Mr Skeen said, but there is a way around it.

“I will pretty much ask a few questions before I lead into the price question,” he said.

“But if they do come back with that response, I usually come back to them and say ‘look we’ve got a few opens around that sort of time, and I just don’t want to waste your time and my time, I just want to know roughly what would the price be in a range.’

“And normally they will be forthcoming and say ‘okay the property is going to be around $1 million to $1.1 million’ for example.”

Mr Skeen also said an agent’s mindset typically is to quote low, especially the older agents who have been taught through the years to “quote it low — watch it go, quote it high — watch it die.”

So a lot of the agents will give buyers figures that are very enticing. The technique, he says, works often to get buyers involved — both financially and emotionally.

“People get financially involved by doing strata reports, building and pest inspections,” he said.

“They get emotionally involved when they go back two or three times. They take mum and dad, or they take their kids.”

Then once they have roped the people in after two or three weeks you might see the price guide start to rise.

Other times they will keep it very low: “Then come auction day the starting bid from another buyer is basically what they were quoting.”

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Tim Neary

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