Despite being taken over by advertising professionals, real estate agents maintain third spot as the least trusted professionals for 2016, according to News Corp Australia Network, unfortunately up one spot from 2015.
Maybe this is because Australians have experienced bad encounters themselves when buying or selling a home. Maybe they’ve been warned about bad experiences through family and friends, or simply just heard stories through media avenues.
Either way, it’s evident that the majority of Australians have stereotyped most Real Estate agents as “dodgy”.
Ultimately an increased amount of attention of the difficulty in finding a trustworthy Real Estate agent has in fact occurred.
With an array of different competitors to choose from as well as the unknown factor of the ‘unknown dodgy element’ before you even think about signing the contract, it becomes quite the problematic process.
So, it’s time to find out how we can be smart with our approach to Real Estate agents, whether we are selling, buying or investing. Let’s not waste anymore time.
You may recall the Real Estate agent in Brisbane, Gunther Behrendt from Ray White Bulimba, who hit headlines mid 2015 by selling a property labelled “The Worst House in Australia“. This house was once a warm family home. At the time of Mr Behrendt selling the rotting wood property, he commented there is no way to sugar coat this house, it is well beyond the “fixer-upper” stage.
When asked how Australians can find the right agent and make sure they’re not “dodgy”, Mr Behrendt replied with five helpful questions that clients can ask their agents to get the ball rolling.
“Firstly, ask them how many current listings they have and how many properties that they list actually get sold. This way you can open the door and start to see if they achieve the goals of any properties that they have listed”, said Mr Behrendt.
“Secondly, ask them if they work with a team and if it’ll be the agent himself/herself keeping their clients updated, or if you’ll be passed onto someone else once they have listed your property. Try to get to know how they work and what their schedule is for the next month or two.”
“Thirdly, this is important and extremely helpful for sellers, investors and buyers. Ask the agent if you can have a list of the last ten sellers that you have sold for with their details including name, phone numbers and emails. This is so you can get in touch with them and see if they were happy with that agents work, what to expect and if there are any specific things that need to be made clear with that agent.”
“Fourthly, agents need to have up-to-date skills; it is critical in this industry. So ask them just how much money they are investing in personal education and training development. No matter how long they’ve been an agent for or how good they think they might be, every agent needs to be up-to-date with their skills as a Real Estate agent.”
“Lastly, before you seal the deal and sign anything, get them to show you the progress report that they would be giving you when they list with you. Ask them exactly what they will send to you each week to keep you informed with what’s happening with your property.”
Mr Behrendt stressed, “If an agent cannot clearly answer these questions, then you should be concerned and should maybe consider finding another agent.”
Future buyer, Belinda Gray, is one of many Australians that has had a bad experience with a real estate agent.
“It was actually a friend of ours that was a real estate agent. We weren’t originally going to go with her, but she seemed to really want to help us, promised she would be able to get us a great deal, and promised discounts. So we decided to sell our home through her.”
Mrs Gray explained, “After we signed the contract, things changed. She never kept us in the loop, we struggled to get hold of her, and she made us feel bad for wanting to negotiate. It felt like all she cared about was the money.”
“I’ll absolutely use Mr Behrendt’s questions next time, they are very helpful. I’ll definitely be doing my research. I learnt that you need to keep it strictly business. So using a friend as an agent is probably not always the best idea.”
THE FULL LIST: MOST TRUSTED TO LEAST TRUSTED PROFESSIONALS
5. School teachers
8. High Court Judges
9. State Supreme Court Judges
10. University lecturers
12. Public servants
13. Ministers of Religion
15. Public opinion pollsters
16. Bank managers
17. Financial planners
18. Directors of Public Companies
19. Business executives
20. Talk-back radio announcers
20. Newspaper journalists
22. TV reporters
23. Federal MPs
24. State MPs
25. Stock brokers
26. Union leaders
27. Insurance brokers
28. Real estate agents
29. Advertising people
30. Car salesmen