Hiring a Real Estate Agent during COVID-19

By April 23, 2020 Selling Advice

If you want to sell your home for a great price in these times of COVID-19, you must find a great agent.

There are two stories going around about the effect COVID-19 is having on property sales.

The first story is negative, it’s where agents are saying the sky has fallen in. Everything is dreadful. Sellers are withdrawing homes. Sales results have plummeted to low or non- existent levels. Sellers are being told if you want to sell your homes, you must lower your price – and by a large amount. Things are getting worse. We are heading into recession.

WARNING to SELLERS: Any agent who spins you any (or all) of the above, together with a negative attitude, is not the agent you should hire during COVID-19.

The second story is more positive. It goes like this: While COVID-19 has had some impact, if you have a property in a sought-after area and you find a great agent, you can still get a great price.

Great agents do exist. I know them, I find them, I work with them, I support them together with many of their sellers who are fortunate to have a great agent in this COVID-19 market.

Instead of asking sellers to decrease their prices, great agents increase their efforts. They work hard. They do what it takes. They find solutions, they solve problems.

Agents have had it too good for too long. Most are spoiled and lazy. Plus, they have developed an over-inflated opinion of themselves. They think the reason for their “success” is their intelligence. There’s been a massive ego boom too.

To test the skill of any professional, see how they perform in hard times. Everyone is a good sailor in calm seas; it’s in storms that you discover a sailor’s true worth.

If you are selling in this COVID-19 time, the last thing you want is a negative agent who blames everything on the pandemic and whose only solution is to tell you to lower your price.

Over the past two decades or so, agents have done less work to sell fewer properties than their predecessors. Commissions have increased many times more than the average wage.

Now, for the first time for most agents, the gravy train has stopped. Easy Street is a dead end.

During the boom years, most agents have either forgotten how to sell or they never learned how to sell.

Just consider what most agents have been doing their entire careers.

They list a house for sale.

They sit at an open-for-inspection for half an hour each week.

Dozens of buyers show-up, all clamouring to offer ever-increasing sums for the home until one buys the home. Or, if there are no buyers, the agent “conditions” the sellers down in price until a buyer says yes.

For this – usually less than a dozen hours – agents get between $20,000 and $50,000 especially in the expensive suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne.

The agents then boast how they have “sold” so many homes. But there was rarely any “selling”. The buyers did the buying. A trained seal could have done similar.

In the days when most agents worked for their money, they sold more homes on a weekend than today’s agents “sell” in a month. Most of today’s agents are not salespeople, they are glorified order takers financially riding the real estate boom.

The proof of these statements is now clear. When the boom stops, so do sales with most agents.

So, the pandemic is not the main cause of low sales, it’s the negative attitudes of agents and their lack of sales ability.

Here’s an important message for all property sellers now: Don’t let any agents persuade you to lower your price before they have increased their effort. Lowering a price should the last resort, after all the sales methods have been tried.

Just ask your agent this question: What have you done to try and sell our home? If you are not impressed with their answer, you probably have the wrong agent. Find a better agent.

Sellers, if you drop the price of your home too soon, you are probably paying for the lack of sales skill of your agent. Find a better agent.

In this market, you won’t get a great price unless you find the right agent.

Here is a description of the right agent:

One who understands the basics of selling. Has a positive attitude. Focuses on solutions not problems. Focuses on the positive points of a home and doesn’t keep telling sellers about negative points of their own home. Skilled in negotiation. Prepared to work hard and do what few agents do – follow up buyers and make lots of calls. Finally – and perhaps most important of all – a good agent has stacks of enthusiasm.

After all, selling is often said to be “the transference of enthusiasm”.

Although hard to find, there are great agents who are making plenty of sales right now. What are most agents doing these days? Whinging and making pathetic comments as, “There are no buyers around.”

Well, next time an agent tells you that COVID-19 is the cause of low results, ask them how many people they speak with each day. You’ll soon discover the real reason most agents are not making sales. They are lazy.

COVID-19 is certainly showing which agents are great agents; the ones with a great attitude, great enthusiasm, a great work ethic and, of course, as the leader in Victoria has been doing with her team, the ones not sitting waiting for incoming calls, but making outgoing calls.

And, the bottom line – getting great results, making sales.

In the sales world, you only get two outcomes: Results or excuses.

If your home is listed with an agent and not selling and the agent gives you the COVID-19 excuse and asks you to drop your price, ask the agent how many calls he or she made yesterday searching for a buyer for your home.

If the answer is less than 25, you almost certainly have a lazy agent who’s trying to sell your home by getting you to lower your price. Don’t fall for it. Tell your agent to increase their effort. If not, get another agent.

When an agent is hired by a seller and stands to make upwards of $20,000 for selling a home, the agent has a moral duty to work hard for that seller, to make lots of calls rather than placing ads and waiting. Agents who shirk their duty – which, sadly, is most of them, do not deserve to be hired by any sellers.

It’s Anzac Day on Saturday. In the war, air crews had a label they placed upon those who shirked their duty – LMF. It stood for ‘Lack of Moral Fibre’.

Find an agent with the moral fibre to work hard and get you a great result during COVID-19.

If you need help, let us know. We’d love to help you sell well at this time. It can be done.

About The Author
Neil Jenman

Neil Jenman

Neil first opened a real estate office in the suburb of Auburn in 1984. The office was such a resounding success that, in 1989, Neil began sharing his ideas with other agents. In 1993, Neil sold his real estate business to concentrate full-time on writing and presenting sales and management courses within the real estate industry. His methods – which focused on ethics and client-care – became known as The Jenman System.

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