Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Excuse Me, Are You A Property Agent? (7)

I find it unbelievable that some property agents would go to the extent of carrying out duties which are best done by maids, chauffeurs, and butlers.

Good service to me as an agent means giving my clients sound and proper advice where their properties are concerned. Good service also means being punctual, prepared and organised. An agent must be professional in his knowledge of current market conditions which will enable him to help his clients to make the most of their investments. Of course, if I do drive, I would not mind occasionally to pick up my clients but I would never become their "full time chauffeur".

A co-broking rental agent shared with me that he drove his clients to view some 65 rental units before they finally settled down. Another agent told me that he showed his clients some 128 Housing Board flats, but sadly, at the end, they bought a unit directly from the Housing Development Board! They did not even give him a single cent as a token of appreciation!

I could not comprehend why the above agents would have such great stamina and patience. Usually, by the second or third showing, I would have a very good idea of my clients' preference and requirements. Perhaps it is time that agents start to charge $20 to $30 per viewing. When people have to pay, they will be more decisive and not take their agents for a ride. Who does not want to view 60 to 130 properties when he is being driven around without charge by his agent?

Recently a colleague phoned me in the morning and asked if her Indonesian clients could view my client's condominium at 11.30a.m. As it was a Tuesday, I was somewhat reluctant, as I needed to practise my violin before lessons in the afternoon. Morever, this was a last minute request. However, I obliged her and rushed down in a taxi, only to receive her call that her clients had decided to buy a newer and bigger condominium. Little did I expect an even more senior colleague to waste my time for if her clients had a budget of over $2 million, then why waste time to view a smaller and older unit of over $1 million?

Another agent told me that soon after viewing, he would have to rush his clients to the bank. The clients could not even spare another 5 to 10 minutes to view the facilities as they had an appointment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, after putting in a cheque at the bank!! This agent had earlier told me that his clients were very genuine buyers and would surely make an offer!!! I gave this agent another chance to bring his clients, and this time he brought six Indonesian buyers; yet not one made an offer. Suddenly I thought the agent looked more like a tour guide than property agent! At the end, I sold the unit directly to two Singaporeans whose banker commented that the unit is indeed a good buy! Now the banker is asking me for help to purchase a unit for his mother!

It is imperative that agents should not only work hard, but smart as well. They should learn to be discerning and instead of just rushing their clients to view a hundred and one properties, they should be able to qualify their clients. Otherwise, they are wasting a lot of golden time and energy.

I do mind to cobroke with agents if they can give good offers as my clients' interest must always come first. However, most of the time, I ended up closing deals with direct clients. I am sure that many agents must have heard these sentences, "My client is very, very keen to view your unit." However, at the end of the viewing, their clients do not make any offer and you don't hear from the agent either.!

Property viewing is more than just bringing your clients to view properties. Agents must be knowledgeable, excited and passionate about their products. Above all, they must be able to understand a buyer's financial position and needs and not just coerce someone to buy or sell just because of commission earnings!

Indeed property selling is one of the toughtest but if an agent exercises discretion, initiative, and application of common sense and deduction, then his work will be less mentally, emotionally and physically taxing!

Gan Chau

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read your blog with interest.

I am also a property agent, and have taken to qualifying interested tenants/buyers on the phone. Some buyers and tenants seem to think every agent serves them exclusively and wants me to turn up for viewing at their convenience.

I usually would suggest a time that is easy for me (since I do not drive), & adjust accordingly. To me, if they are genuine, they would turn up regardless the time because they cannot do without a home.

And, if they are really keen, they would want to look at the apartment physically instead of just relying on pictures. Afterall, it is hard to describe an apartment in words.... and pictures don't capture all elements of an apartment.