The wide diversity of people’s trades and professions ensures that everyone can earn a living in their own way.
Each of us has something different to offer, from the carpenter to the doctor. We have our tools of the trade and we have our special skills, and we use these in daily life to earn our bread and butter.
When the carpenter uses his hammer, the doctor his stethoscope or the writer his pen, they offer specialist skills which others do not have. They also have the benefit of years of experience and are talented in what they do. They have all learnt their skills “the hard way”. That is, they have gained experience by learning from their mistakes along the way.
It is not enough to hold a hammer in your hand or wear a stethoscope around your neck unless you know how to use it. And in the case of politicians if their tongue is their skill, let them be silent unless they know when and how to use it.
One of the greatest skills of all is the art of negotiation.
We learn instinctively to negotiate from the time we are born and we build and hone this skill as time go by. But let’s face it: negotiation is not everyone’s forte. You have to learn how to negotiate. You need to have competed and lost and won many times over before you have the advantage over an opponent through experience.
In real estate transactions win-win negotiation is paramount. When the stakes are high and you have to admit you may not be the best negotiator in your own interest I recommend you engage a buyers’ advocate (or buyers’ agent) to do the job for you.
Buyers’ agents (or Buyers' Advocates) know their stuff. They have learned the hard way how to close a winning deal and they have earned that special skill of successful negotiation._____________________________________________________________________________________ Tim Mansfield is founder and principal of Sydney-based buyers' advocates PrimePropertyBuyer.
Article originally published in Property Observer
The concept of buyers’ agency is a relatively new one in Australia. The first of these agencies only surfaced here in the mid ’90s, and there are only about 100 in the whole country.
As a result it’s not surprising that I am often asked the question “What is the difference between a buyers’ agent and a real estate agent; aren’t they the same thing?”
Curiously the answer lies somewhere in between, but the simplest definition in layman’s terms is:
It is important to note that real estate agents (selling agents) in New South Wales charge a commission on the sale of a property to their sellers, and buyers’ agents charge a separate fee for the successful purchase of a property to their client, the buyer. Each is bound by their respective ethical and fiduciary industry regulations, and there is no conflict of interest.
- A buyer’s agent is a licensed real estate agent who acts exclusively for the buyer in real estate transactions. His or her duty is to negotiate the best or lowest possible price for a property while acting in the best interest of the client.
- Real estate agents (known as the listing or selling agents) act exclusively for the seller of a property. His or her duty is to negotiate the highest possible price for a property while acting in the best interest of the client.
Most buyers’ agents previously worked the “other side of the coin” as real estate agents, so clearly they know the tricks of the trade. In most cases they have also worked in specific suburbs and areas for many years. The relationship between the two is symbiotic (of mutual benefit) and results in a win-win outcome for all stakeholders involved in real estate transactions.
Successful buyers’ agents have close working relationships with a large number of real estate agents whom they have known and dealt with personally over a long period of time. They are constantly in touch with them in the search process for their clients.
Do you remember your natural science classes and the bit about the bees and the flowers and how they help each other? In this case the different agents dance to a constant tango of communication involving “I’ve got a buyer to $1 million, what have you got for me?”, and “Just listed a beauty and it’s a perfect match for your buyer”.
At the end of the day the buyers’ agent who has great connections in the industry and the real estate agent who works closely with them are both going to benefit in favour of their respective clients.
I have to admit that I prefer to work with real estate agents I know personally. This is especially important when negotiations begin on a purchase because it cuts out a lot of BS and so called “killer tactics”. I’ve been there, done that, and just want the best possible deal for my client! Tim Mansfield is founder and principal of Sydney-based buyers' agency PrimePropertyBuyer.
View the original article at:
There is an important relationship between selling agents and buyers’ agents in the property industry, and this association is based on trust and integrity. At the end of the day we work together in the best interests of our respective clients and it is a win-win situation all round.
As a former real estate sales agent I have to admit I sometimes fell into the comfortable habit of “list, market and wait for the buyers to contact me”. This was the equivalent to being a trapdoor spider waiting for its prey to show up and swallow it. But complacency is a fatal mistake unless you are an arachnid.
As well, the other strategy in those days was to offer conjunctions to other agents and hope they would solve my problem for me.
But nowadays there is a brilliant option that real estate agents should use for every property on their books, not just because it will benefit you but because it will benefit your client. And it costs nothing! It is simply to work with a buyers’ agent. In New South Wales buyers' agents charge a fee to their client the buyer so there is no need to share commission on your sale with them.
You can even include this tactic in your marketing pitch for listings and you will be pleasantly surprised to see that vendors welcome this strategy with open arms. After all, it doesn’t cost them anything and hugely increases the chances of finding a cashed-up qualified buyer. And it is a great option to flogging your extensive out-of-date client database to prospects; no property seller ever bought that marketing strategy.
Real estate agents should also recommend prospective buyers to buyer’s agents simply on a goodwill basis, and this is good practice for them.
As an example, imagine that you have been dealing with a buyer who wants a specific type of property but you don’t have a suitable listing currently on your books. This is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your desire to help them and initiate an on-going close personal relationship in the future.
There are important benefits:
- You have done a favour to the buyer by demonstrating your desire to help them with no personal gain, and they will appreciate your selfless advice and integrity as an agent. Sooner or later they will come back to you.
- The client may go cold on you and begin dealing with another agent (most likely a competitor). So it is better to use the opportunity to refer them to a trusted buyers’ agent who you know will look after their best interests. They will remember you for this.
- The buyers’ agent will reciprocate the favour in future by personally recommending you as a real estate agent as you have now established a relationship based on trust and goodwill.
So talk to your favourite buyers’ agent about your listings and what you have coming up (don’t wait for them to contact you). Build up a close working relationship with them and grow your reputation by recommending buyers’ agents you know and trust.
Tim Mansfield is founder and principal of Sydney-based buyers' agency PrimePropertyBuyer
Please read the original article at PropertyObserver.com.au
"As the seller of a property will engage an agent to negotiate the highest possible sale price, why shouldn't the buyer engage one to negotiate the lowest?"
~ Tim Mansfield
In a recent article entitled “How to keep your valuables safe when you open your home for inspection” I covered the issue of risk in the ongoing and endless debate about whether a property is best shown to prospective buyers through open or private inspection.
There was a great response to this article (always a pleasure for authors), which included comments from real estate agents, buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants alike.
Some commented on the need for separate theft insurance cover at open home inspections (and who should pay for it), some on the security issue, and others about the need for transparency by all concerned,
But having distilled the excellent feedback from the article (like enjoying an aromatic cup of tea and then musing about what is left over), the crux of the debate inevitably came back to the old question of, “What is the best method of showing your home?”
Personally I was trying to avoid a hot potato debate on this subject for the simple reasons that it is never-ending and I am supposed to be doing better things.
Here is my personal opinion. If I was selling my own home today there are some rational arguments that make the decision clear to me:
- Why would I invite multiple strangers into my home if there is a risk of theft involved?
- Why allow myself and my family to feel that our privacy has been invaded?
- As the seller I prefer to show my property at times that suit me and not my real estate agent.
- My mother-in-law, bless her soul, (who I agree is an expert on multifarious issues and does read my weekly column) pointed out the deal-breaker.
She argues that only about two out of 10 viewers who show up at open inspections are genuine buyers. The rest are either neighbours or tyre-kickers whose favourite hobby at the weekend is viewing other people’s properties. This is bad news for the seller and for agents, as they are time-wasters. On the other hand the ratio for private inspections is much more in the seller’s favour, given all are genuine.
It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic.
I spent many years as an agent opening hundreds of homes for property sellers. It worked for me at the time, but maybe times have changed and I have become wiser.
And real estate agents argue that they need to “get maximum exposure and as many prospective buyers through the property as possible” at open inspections.
But the reality for agents is that controlling 10 or 20 groups at an open inspection is like herding cats. And that is not to mention the nightmare of trying to follow up on them all to find out who is a genuine buyer or not.
One of my favourite books is Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. There is a passage in it that I loosely quote: “When I was 14 I thought my father was an ignorant fool. But when I reached the age of 21 I couldn’t believe how much he had learned in seven years.”
Enjoy your cuppa and think on the above points when you read those tea-leaves!
Tim Mansfield is founder and principal of Sydney-based buyers' agency PrimePropertyBuyer.
By Tim Mansfield
Monday, 02 April 2012 One of my favourite proverbs is "Never judge by appearances", and it is often trailed by the quote “For things are seldom what they seem”.
William Shakespeare spawned the proverb in The Merchant of Venice from his famous soliloquy “All that glitters is not gold.”
Four hundred years later our lives are a constant race against time to acquire possessions, and we often disregard the old Bard’s advice.
Appearances can be deceptive and are sometimes designed to be just that. Or is it that we just don’t see the woods for the trees, or we forget that beauty is skin deep?
There is a certain element of arrogance in making impulsive decisions when judging by appearances. It is an error that can cost us dearly; whether it is a decision to buy a home simply because it offers a shiny new kitchen or a car because it has a leatherette steering wheel.
Perhaps the real truth is that over the generations mankind did learn from the Bard. But did we only learn to present ourselves and our possessions with a false external covering and to hide the truth? And did we learn too that first impressions are what really count?
Making decisions about anything is based on evaluation of information. You need to look at all the angles and not just the superficial ones. And the same is true too for snap decisions about people you meet simply because of the clothes they wear. Remember Mahatma Gandhi?
There is an interesting methodology for reaching decisions called “triangulation”.
It is all about using multiple sources of information including the facts, your own perception, and advice from others who can add to the weight of argument before you make a final decision.
In real estate transactions whether you are buying or selling you need to keep your wits about you and remember Will Shakespeare. Trust your instinct by all means, but don’t rush into a decision that could cost you a lot of money down the track.
And lastly, engage a buyers’ advocate to advise you independently in your best interest. They will give you unbiased advice that will help you make a rational and well founded decision.
Tim Mansfield is Founder and CEO of Sydney-based buyers’ advocates PrimePropertyBuyer.
Should a seller be forced to disclose a property’s structural damage or planning issues? By Tim Mansfield
Monday, 12 March 2012
Caveat emptor, or let the buyer beware, is based on the 12th-century premise that a purchaser can view and handle goods offered for sale in marketplaces (such as meat or fresh bread) and make their own choice as to whether to buy them or not.
This principle still holds true today, whether in buying property or a tin of baked beans in your local supermarket. And the assumption remains that the consumer has an obligation to be satisfied about the quality of the purchase.
But buying a property is not the same thing as buying bread in a marketplace in the mediaeval era, or for that matter anything else you buy in your local supermarket today. Times have changed, and the onus of responsibility for a purchase has theoretically shifted from the buyer to the seller.
In real estate transactions nowadays a seller’s duty of disclosure is limited to disclosing latent defects in title, or issues directly related to the property. An example of latent defects or issues might be with neighbours.
Sellers are currently not obliged to disclose structural damage, planning issues or nonmaterial issues. They should declare events that occurred in or on the property (known as stigmatisation), such as a murder or suicide.
Either way, declaration or not can have an effect on the marketability of a property and can impact on the selling price.
Should legislation on this issue be brought up to date? What do you think? Tim Mansfield is founder and principal of Sydney-based buyers' agency Prime Property Buyer.
The most important word in the dictionary for any successful real estate agent is not money. It is trust.
From the moment we are born we learn to trust those around us, just as we learn not to trust them. The concept of trust forms part our DNA wiring.
Trust can be defined as “confidence in the honesty or integrity of a person”, and the synonyms associated with the noun are confidence, dependence, belief and credence. Trust is about both character (which includes integrity) and competence (your strengths and your weaknesses).
There is a saying that “Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust”, and this can refer to every real estate agent’s most valuable asset: recommendation by word of mouth. The thing about trust is that if you lose it, it is gone forever. But if you have it, it spreads like wildfire from person to person.
The maxim “Know me, like me, trust me” is often used in real estate training to explain the process of gaining trust. It doesn’t happen the minute you first meet someone. To be recognised as “trustworthy” you have to earn it first by demonstrating your honesty and integrity, and only then will you gain a person’s confidence.
It’s no secret real estate sales agents are held in low regard in the public perception. In fact, in one recent poll they ranked at the bottom after doctors, firefighters and prostitutes. The main reason appears to stem from the initial meeting with a property seller when the agent gives an estimate of market value, but there are also accusations of agents being inexperienced, unqualified or downright dishonest.
From the very beginning of the seller/agent relationship there is an element of mistrust, often compounded by an over-inflated “valuation” of a property. This is the greatest dilemma faced by real estate agents every working day. If they under-appraise they may lose the listing, and if they over-appraise they may lose trust and their own reputation. Over-appraising is often referred to as “buying a listing”.
The crux of the issue appears to lie somewhere between an understanding of the industry code of ethics and good real estate training, and generation Y real estate agents may get caught up in material values rather than traditional fundamental ones.
In an article entitled “Can you trust a real estate agent”, Kevin Turner of Radio 4BC’s Real Estate Talk predicted that 60% of the people in real estate at the start of 2009 would be gone by the beginning of 2010.
In the current climate of uncertainty in the real estate industry, Turner’s predictions may also come true in 2012. Aspiring young agents are leaving the industry in droves, while principals of real estate agencies are going back to listing themselves to cut down on overheads.
At the end of the day a real estate agents reputation is everything, and his or her success or failure depends on it.
Tim Mansfield is founder and principal of Sydney-based buyers' agency Prime Property Buyer.
Million-dollar savings By Tim Mansfield
Monday, 27 February 2012
So you've done it, you have reached that point in your life where you can afford a multimillion-dollar home. Well, why not, what's to stop you? You are successful and worked hard to build your business and your fortune. You are a supreme winner in your own area of business, and good for you. Success is sweet and greatly admired by all.
So you find your perfect home. It just came on the market at a price you can afford. Let's say the agent's name is Bill and you have already heard of him around the traps. He has a reputation for achieving astronomic sales prices for his clients, and his reward is a well-earned and generous commission from the vendor. After all, his job is to get the highest possible price for his client.
But what about you, the buyer? Who represents you in this deal? OK, you've got the wife, the mother-in-law and numerous friendly advisors who know exactly what you should do.
To quote John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate, “While a vendor has their selling agent to negotiate for them, buyers are on their own unless they have a buyers’ agent to act on their behalf.”
And here comes the inevitable. The selling agent (who acts exclusively for the vendor) will do his or her best to outwit you every step of the way. That is his job, and they are usually very good at doing it. If you had spent 20 years doing the same thing six days of the week I’m sure you would be, too.
But you can even up the odds: engage a buyers’ agent (or buyers’ advocate) and use their experience, market knowledge and negotiating skills to give you the winning edge.
Depending on the deal he or she can to save you money on your purchase, and give you “peace of mind” about your new home.
The most frequent question asked about engaging a buyers’ agent is, “Will they save me money?”, and the answer nine times out of 10 is yes. These guys are professionals, and their income and reputation depends on successful transactions.
There are cases where the saving on the price of home purchases has largely been negated by the cost of the agent’s fee (although in investment property purchases the fee is tax deductible in New South Wales).
On the other hand there have been several deals done over the last couple of years in the upper end of the market in Sydney where the saving was well over $1 million.
All buyers’ agents charge a fee for their services; they can’t do it for nothing. There was a recent story in the international press about a buyers’ agent in Spain who acted on a “no foal, no fee” basis. The agent soon went out of business.
Buyers’ agents cannot guarantee success, but they will do their utmost to save you money and ensure that the final purchase price was the very best possible.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tim Mansfield is founder and principal of Sydney-based buyers' agency Prime Property Buyer.
Article originally published in PropertyObserver: http://www.propertyobserver.com.au/residential/million-dollar-savings/2012022653541