Today I was interviewed by Darren Standish from Property Prosperity and we spoke about how to choose a real estate agent. Some of the things I discussed was about marketing, about advertising and about negotiation.
The difference between advertising and marketing – Advertising is one small part of marketing. Advertising is say.. advertising a specific property – so it’s putting an ad in the paper about a particular property, it’s doing a flyer about a particular property, it’s a for sale sign out the front of a particular property.
Now marketing is everything else.. Marketing is building your brand.. it’s marketing you. Marketing is the strategy.. Who is your buyer? What can you do to attract them.. what can you do to keep YOU top of mind awareness.
I hope you enjoy this podcast.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Property Secrets. The show where we speak to experts from around the country to give us an insider’s guide to buying and selling and investing in real estate. I know a lot of people out there that want to know how to choose a good real estate agent – they know that an agent can make a massive difference but they’re not really sure how to choose the best real estate agents. What I’ve done, I’ve gone and got Lisa B to come and join us – she’s actually a real estate coach from The Real Estate Hotline. Thanks for joining us Lisa.
Thank you for having me,,,, and I was going to say I’m in the sunny Gold Coast but it’s not, it’s pouring rain. (Laughing).
(Laughing). Fantastic. Well thanks for joining us, like I’ve said, a lot of people you know, know the difference a real estate agent can make but they sort of struggle to work it out. All the agents seem like they do the same thing and obviously, you know, especially nowadays, people think ‘oh maybe I can just sell it myself’…. so….. I want you to get on and really talk about the difference between a good agent and a not so good agent. Before we get to that.. I suppose if you could give people a bit of your background – you’re obviously a real estate trainer and coach and you give advice to real estate agents. Did you start out as a real estate agent or how did you learn your skills?
Yes, I started in real estate when I was about 22 years old. I’m 49 now so, yes. A long time. I worked in real estate for about 18 months before I bought my own business. So in my early 20’s I had my own real estate office. And that was scary, that was something that I learnt very fast.
I had that office and that was near Wollongong, – I had a franchise and my own name as the brand – I had those for a long time, then I opened up another office in Sydney. And it was something that, in my very first business, I knew the area very well. People would come to us because of the marketing and the work that we did. And then when I opened up in Mosman, we didn’t know anybody. We didn’t know the area. It was the complete opposite of what I was used to.
So I really had to create a really big presence very fast. To show our experience and our credibility and all that sort of thing and I really worked hard on building our online profile and our offline profile in that area. And from that, I had a lot of real estate agents that would ring me and say ‘How did you do this with your online marketing’, ‘How did you do that’ and ‘How did you do this with your video’. And so that was how I created my first online course for real estate agents, on marketing…. Online marketing and that sort of thing so…. I’ve written books on the subject. And now I’m a real estate coach on demand. So, I’ve done coaching for a long time and online marketing – all sorts of things.
So… real estate agents can ring me anytime if they’re stuck with say a buyer and they can’t get a deal across the line. Or they’re trying to get a property signed up or a listing – they can call. Anything real estate related or business related.
So that’s a bit of my background as far as, you know how I got into the profession. It’s just been something, that… I love real estate, you know. I think once you get into real estate it’s in your blood so, I just love it. I love everything about it. I loved being a real estate agent. I love helping people find their ideal home… Finding their dreams and making it their family home. So it’s something that I’ve always been proud to say I’m a real estate agent. And I always did my best as a real estate agent.
I was having a conversation with somebody yesterday about being a real estate agent and sometimes it is tough. And it’s like, when you go to bed every night – you have to think ‘Have I done my best?’ and you answer ‘Yes, I have’. You sleep well…. If you haven’t, you learn from it, and you sort of and work on what you can improve on. Real estate gets into your blood, it’s just something that yes…. I just love it.
As far as choosing a good real estate agent goes, or a great real estate agent goes. For me If I was going to choose a real estate agent, I would probably, if I didn’t know somebody personally or if I hadn’t seen anybody before, I would do a lot of research online. Because if you’re just going to ring the local real estate office and you don’t know anyone personally…. You haven’t watched them online, or you don’t know anything about them, it’s really just a lucky dip. You are just kind of putting your hand in and picking out who ever you get. So you might ring the local franchise and say, I want to sell my house. You might get the person that’s been in real estate for five minutes, you might get the person who’s been in real estate for five years or 40 years. You don’t really know who you are going to get. So to me, if I was going to choose a real estate agent, I would really research and find somebody who’s probably a bit high profile, somebody who’s a bit out there. They are marketing themselves and they’re marketing their office. Now from being online you can form the ‘like, know and trust factor’, so you can follow somebody for a little while and you can go – I actually like that person and I feel like I can trust them, you know the things they say – You can relate to them. So it’s the ‘like, know and trust factor’.
And that’s something that you can really get online rather than just having the lucky dip approach….. SO the other thing that I would look at is… have they got a track record in the area?
If your property is say prestige property, have they got a track record in prestige property?
So I would really research them and make sure that they’ve got the experience and qualifications. Now, when you choose a real estate agent, the things that I think you need a real estate agent for, is for negotiation and for marketing. So I would test the real estate agent in lots of different ways.
In negotiation, I would be asking lots of different questions. Like, if they came into my house and they told me a price – i.e what my house was worth… I would want them to really sell me that price. OK? Why is it worth that price? I want you to tell me all the factors that come into it., I want you to prove to me that it’s THAT price.
One, because I want them to be able to prove it to the buyers – that it’s worth that price. I also want to see how they negotiate in that sort of thing as well. So even if it comes down to when they’re talking about their fee, or how well can they negotiate their own fee.
If they’re just going to give in, they will probably give in on your asking price if you chose them…… so….. I would also, even go out with them and have a look at property as far as buying a property with them. Just to get them to show you some properties, go to open houses, and ask question, things like, what do you think of this property – what do you think it will sell for? What do you think it’s worth? Have you had any offers on it? See if they’re actually working for the seller or they’re working for the buyer. Okay because what you want…. When you’re selling your property, you want the agent to be working for you as a seller.
If you’re buying a property, go with the one’s that are like that – the one that’s going to give the sellers money away. But if you’re a seller, you really want go with somebody that’s a top negotiator.
So there are two things, negotiation and then the other one is marketing.
And the other thing too, is when they come to your house, if they give you an appraisal or you go out with them as a buyer. How’s their follow up? Do they ring you up and say ‘what did you think of that property?’, ‘Would you consider making an offer on the property?’. Or if they have appraised your property….. What sort of follow up have they done for you?
Do they drop you off a written appraisal? Do they ring you? Do they ask you how you are going? Do they try to give you something else? Do they offer more comparable sales or let you know something that comes on the market?
That’s a really big thing as well, because so many times you list with an agent and they don’t keep in contact – they don’t follow up. And that’s something that is so important. You want to get the feedback and all that sort of thing. So, I think that’s really important.
So do you want me to go on in the marketing, side of things now? (Laughing).
The things you are saying are really valid and obviously I have the same things too. And I’m glad you’re saying that, because obviously that’s the thing, a lot of people don’t realise what an agent’s job is. And I think to be honest, a lot of agents don’t even realise what an agent should be doing. I totally agree. I think there are two roles, marketing the property and negotiating the sale of the property.
Darren: I think everything else is almost irrelevant, you can get someone for $25 an hour that can hand out some flyers, and conduct open inspections or drive around to get contracts signed, paperwork etc..
But if your agent has skills in those two things, negotiation and marketing… That’s most important. That’s the most important thing, because at the end of the day it’s going to result in tens of thousands of dollars extra in the sale price of your house. So that’s what’s really valuable. The agent… and that’s why their commission can become almost irrelevant as well, because…. if they’ve got those skills, they can add so much value to your property and if they are charging an extra thousand or two thousand dollars more than the other agent that doesn’t have those skills, but they can make you an extra 20, 30, 40, 50 thousand dollars that could be the big difference.
Lisa: Exactly, because if the agent is not negotiating a better price for you, then you might as well do it yourself. If you are a better negotiator, you might as well do it yourself. That’s why check their fees, if you can negotiate better than them, don’t choose them. Sell it yourself.
Go with somebody who is a negotiator. Somebody that has studied it.. and someone that knows what to do. That is a massive tip. A massive tip. (Laughing).
There are people that come to me from out of state (and they don’t want me to be their real estate agent), They’ll say how do I choose between real estate agents? I say… Ask them two questions… Ask them whether they are going to reduce their commission and will they be willing to reduce the cost of marketing
Either of those… Then they are not the agents you want. If they can’t negotiate on their own fee….then what are they going to be like when it’s your house and they don’t really care. This is their money they’re willing to give away. Likewise with marketing, you’ve got to be willing to market your home.. Marketing makes such a difference to the sale price for a house. If an agent doesn’t believe it’s important, then….
Then, they are just going to take shortcuts.
There’s a question you can ask real estate agents as well.
Do they understand the difference between advertising and marketing? Because advertising is putting an ad in the paper and just putting a property online.
There’s so much more involved in marketing yourself. To market your office…. like you do your podcast. Videos that you do. That’s marketing yourself and your office and things like that. So advertising is just one small part of it.
I have for my coaching clients what I call the marketing umbrella or different ways of making the phone ring. If you’ve only got one or two ways of making the phone ring and that’s by putting an ad in the paper or an ad on the real estate portals. It’s not really the highest, you know…. if one of those sources stopped, you’ve lost all of your enquiry. So it’s really getting that enquiry from lots of different places and that’s a question to ask a real estate agents as well…. Is how do they advertise/market your property and how do they market themselves?
And see what they say. What’s their brand like? What’s their brand promise? And as I said, if they’re a prestige agent, does their website reflect that? Does their marketing reflect that? Does their presentation reflect that? Is their brand consistent? And just check little things like their advertising. How is the advertising of their property for sale… Is it concise? Are there any typos? Is it well written? Is it entertaining or is it boring? You want to go with somebody that’s got a little bit of flare with writing or copywriting.
Sorry for interrupting. How would you describe……. a lot of people out there using the word marketing when they are talking about advertising. A lot of people would be thinking they’re the same thing, you know. Putting an advertisement in the paper, putting on the internet. What’s the difference between marketing and advertising in your view?
Okay, Well as I said advertising is just one little part of it. Going now to marketing. Marketing is like marketing yourself, so you’ve got your podcast, you do your videos. It might just be giving out pens and things like that with your name on it, things to create top of mind awareness. It’s following up with different marketing materials and things like that. And another thing I was going to say too is, when you’re talking to a real estate agent, say if you’re particular property would be open to say the Chinese market. Or something like that. What strategies has that real estate agent got that would attract the Chinese market? There might be different marketing skills for that. How can they market to the Chinese? Can they contact different agents? Will they offer different platforms to market to the Chinese? Will they go on different programs? Whichever way that may be.
Is the property close to a University or Hospital or something like that? Or is it located close to a school that maybe you can put some notices on the notice board at the University or somewhere close buy – let people know that a house is coming up for sale in that area, or something like that. Or if it’s a block of land, also contact the developers direct and things like that. Don’t just advertise and put and add in the paper or online.
How will they actually go out and market that property and sell that property? Will they contact people that are on their database before, rather than just putting an ad in the paper. Go and actually ring those people that have called before about different properties.
Darren: So, would you say then, sorry. We’ll just say maybe then marketing is more of the strategy of selling the property.
Lisa: Yes. Marketing is the whole thing… Advertising is for example just promoting your properties specifically. An ad in the paper or just your ad on RealEstate.com. It’s everything relating to a particular property. Flyers for that particular property. Specific advertising.
So marketing, examples of marketing is marketing yourself through a podcast, video marketing for your office, your team. Promoting all different things in your office and that might be…. I have for real estate agents, I call it the marketing umbrella. And some of the things that I’ve got – is different ways of making the phone rings.
So you know, newspaper, database, and all that sort of thing. And you’ve got letterbox drops, you’ve got flyers that you send out to absentee owners, so people that own property in the area but live elsewhere get to know you….. So that’s kind of like, you know.. you do something that’s different to what others do.. not just putting an ad in the paper.
We’ve got thank you cards, you send thank you cards to people, you do editorials. When you sell a property to somebody, you can do a nice bottle of wine with your label on it or something like that. That sits on their cupboard or their bar for people to look at. And say your photo frames with the sold sign on it with the people standing out on front of the house – there’s a cap or a cup with your name on it. People do fridge magnets, I’m not a fan of fridge magnets – I’ve listed lots of properties from people where other agents had fridge magnets (laughing). So it’s just all sorts of different things to get your name out there. Things that are different to the other agents. And as I’ve said it’s offline and online marketing – so actually if your listeners are interested, my new book is out, it’s called “Secret Agents” and on my website it’s called www.TheRealEstateHotline.com.au and I’m actually giving away a free audio copy of the book at the moment. So that’s all about real estate marketing so it goes into the whole thing. It goes into offline marketing/ online marketing. How to get the phone to ring and all that sort of thing. It’s written for real estate agents but it can actually can be put into any business model. That’s something that your listeners can just opt in and get the book for free and that’s everything real estate marketing.
Thanks for that opportunity. And I’m sure some of you will get in touch….
So obviously this show is called Property Secrets. So I want to be able to dig in a little bit deeper.
So obviously we’ve been having a chat about trying to find the best real estate agent and we’ve talked a little bit about their negotiating skills, marketing and some of the questions we might ask. We’ve thought about what goes on from the outside. Is there a particular secret or something that you can think of from your perspective…. That you would know straight away that says.. that’s the better agent and the not so good agent and then we can maybe learn from it as well?
To me Darren, I really just think it’s that ‘like, know and trust factor’. I really think to really be comfortable with the agent. You know…who you’re going to choose, because I’ve spoken to people before that have said ‘Look, I’d like to go with that agent, because you know I really like them and I trust them. But this agent seems a lot more gung ho. and I don’t think he tells the truth all the time but I think he might get me a better deal’.
Go with your gut feeling, really sort of feel who you feel comfortable with it’s a big decision in choosing a real estate agent and you’ve got to make the right decision. You’ve got to be comfortable with them. They’re dealing with a lot of money. It’s your biggest asset most of the time. And you’ve really got to trust that person.
So I think really the trust and that’s something researching online – it’s something that is really going to help you get a good idea of who that person is. What their values are, whether they align with you and as I’ve said… you know whether they are really getting out there and promoting themselves, their office, their properties for sale . Really going the extra mile in being a buyer magnet, because that’s who you really want to go to. Somebody that the buyers are calling. They say ‘I’ve got to go with Darren because he’s always out there, and he’s everywhere I go, that’s where he is.’ And really that to me is the agent that you have got to go with.
It’s really, when you think about it, the agent has a lot of control over this whole process. It’s a little bit like black box, obviously, hopefully if you have a good agent they should be communicating with you but really you’re handing over your house to them and saying please do a good job and get me the most amount of money you can. And then you sort of sit back on the sidelines and just have to watch from the outside, So really, if you don’t trust and feel confident they going to do the right thing by you then, how are you going to know.
Exactly. It’s too scary, it’s too scary. Yes. Just make sure you like them, you trust them and that’s everything to me.
Darren: The other thing. I find with real estate – buying real estate. selling real estate. People don’t necessarily realise that it’s real money. You know. They don’t realise that, you know, going that extra time to the buyer and gets maybe and extra $10,000.
Or the fact that they market slightly better or negotiate better and that might be an extra . 10 or 20 or 30. You know if they can make an extra $40,000. How long would it take you to save $40,000?
For a lot of people, that might be years and years and years – It might be 10 years to save $40,000. So the fact you’ve, you know, someone that you can trust them enough to do the right thing to get the extra few cents. People drive across town to use their shopper dockets to save a few cents on fuel.
That’s right. Exactly.
This happens to me a lots… I get an offer and I go back to the owner and I say we’re not going to accept that – we’re going to go back’. They’re like ‘no, no’. And I’m like ‘No, we’re going back. ‘No, don’t go back’. And I’m like ‘but it’s real money’. Like if I can get you an extra thousand dollars…… that’s a thousand dollars. It’s better for you, my job is to get you the most amount of money and that’s the thing. That’s one thing I’m constantly telling people, it’s like ‘this is real money you’re talking here. It’s not make believe’.
People get so blasé – like you say spending extra dollars here or there.
And that’s again in the negotiation. Go with the agent that does that. Ask them.. How did your last negotiations go, or speak to some of their previous sellers. That’s part of marketing as well. To have video testimonials. The more video testimonials you can get on your website that people can watch ….and you can show people and say… say they are living in Smith Street. Well here’s actually a seller that I sold for in Smith Street and this is their video testimonial and this is what happened with them. That’s just gold.
And the other thing too… is people obviously… well you might have been aware that there a negative perception about real estate agents from some people and so the thing is.
It doesn’t have to be confrontational. You don’t have to be, you were mentioning you found someone that you trust but you think this other guy is a dodgey…. you think he might be able to get you a higher price.. In reality you don’t have to be dodgy you don’t have to scam people, you don’t have to try and rip people off to get the highest price.
Just say hey ‘The more you offer the more chance you’ve got of getting it’. You know I’ve got other offers and you’ll be honest and upfront with them. And people sort of feel like it has to be this, you know competing against each other and win-lose scenario. But I don’t feel like it has to be like that.
Lisa: No. I think you know, we’ve got to be proud to be real estate agents. We’ve really got to be proud of our profession and what we do and it’s like anything – there’s bad fish in every pond (laughing).
Lisa: You can just do your best and represent you and represent your company. And that’s all that you can do. Yes. You just do your best.
Fantastic. That’s great advice. And it’s good that we sort of break it down to really with just dealing with people at the end of the day. That’s what real estate is. Selling a property. Buying a property. It’s all about dealing with people. So if you find someone you can engage with and you can trust, that’s probably the most important thing I think. Definitely good advice.
People who may want to get in touch with you… to find out a little bit more about some of your trainings or maybe they are still struggling trying to work out which agent to go with. What’s the best way that people can get in touch with you.
Sure. My website is www.TheRealEstateHotline.com.au and that’s pretty easy. And that ‘s got all of my contact details. And as I said my free audio book.., I think, that would be really helpful for a lot of people as well, just to see how you can market properties in different ways and that sort of things.
And we’ll be able to find that on the website or Google your name and find it somewhere.
Yes. My website.. and yes… I’m everywhere online. http:www.TheRealEstateHotline.com.au
Alright. Thank you for that.
Thanks for sharing today. I’m sure our listeners have learned a lot obviously. I found it really interesting as well. I really appreciate your time. Thanks for joining us.