The Pretty Little Secrets Real Estate Agents Keep

Most people looking for their dream home these days use a real estate agent to help them identify and negotiate the price of that home. Ditto for anyone selling their property. Even though we may research the market thoroughly, a real estate agent is a brilliant asset who can fill in the gaps in our own knowledge base.

The question is, how many knowledge gaps is he or she filling in for us, and how many are getting wider and wider because he or she just isn’t talking about them? Here are the top 10 pretty little secrets that real estate agents are most likely to keep from you:

        1.As a Seller, You Might Make More Money with Another Agent

Not every real estate agent is going to get the same return for you when selling your home. One common move they often make is to over-value your home to make you feel good and get your business.

We all like to feel that our house is worth a lot of money but overpricing it could put off buyers and leave it sitting there for far too long without any takers.

It would be far better to start off with a realistic price. Another agent’s move that isn’t in your best interest is to set the price too low in order to earn a quick sale and easy commission.

Another possibility is that the agent simply doesn’t know the market well enough and prices the property incorrectly. Keep in mind that a good agent can find clever ways to maximise your sale price and keep everyone happy.

         2. Not a Local Expert

Ideally, you will have an agent on your side who knows what the neighbourhood is all about. If you are buying, you certainly want him or her to point out the things that aren’t immediately obvious about the area.

For example, someone who is a local expert can tell you what the security situation is like, what kind of public transport is available and whether the area is a good place for kids or for older folks.

If you are selling, you would want the agent to have enough local expertise to answer questions and convince potential buyers about the value of the area.

        3. The Commission is Flexible

One of the biggest areas of concern for people when selling a home is that of the agent’s commission rate. You might think that set rates are laid down by law and that there is no flexibility built into this.

The truth is that the sales commission in Singapore should be around 1% – 2%, with some scope for negotiation. If the agent quotes you a higher figure than 2%, then it is definitely time to ask for a discount.

If the sale is a good piece of business, you can expect the agent to do all he or she can to retain it, including dropping the commission if necessary.

hings Your Real Estate Agent Won't Tell You

        4. You Are Asking Too Much for the Home

Real estate agents all over the world are very well aware that homeowners tend to overestimate the value of their homes. If you place a property on the market at a peaked price, it could sit there quietly for ages.

A good agent should warn you at the start if you are looking for more than the property is worth. This would allow you to adjust your expectation levels and plan ahead more effectively. However, relatively few agents want to run the risk of losing your business by doing this.

Of course, a smart agent may advise you to go ahead and try to sell at the price you want. Once it is obvious that it won’t sell at that figure, they would wisely advise you to lower the price to what it should have been in the first place.

        5. The Agent is More Interested in the Self-Sell

Many real estate agents are in the industry for the right reasons and will do a thoroughly professional job of selling your property at the best possible price. Having said that, there are some who may be more interested in selling themselves and boosting their career.

One trick you should look out for is that of being told that an agent will market your house with direct mailing or in a real estate magazine. This sounds fantastic, but in fact, it is a tactic that is more likely to benefit the agent than you.

The agent might be keen to simply get his or her own name out there and attract more sellers, rather than finding someone who will buy your home from you.

        6. Your Old Home Could Have Limited Appeal

In the past, people were keen on getting an older home with character. The aim was to restore it lovingly over the years. However, this isn’t such a popular thing to do nowadays.

If your property is old and has perhaps seen better days, it might be tough for you find a buyer. This is because people now want a smart, modern house that is ready to move into and offers the current technology.

This is especially true when it comes to millennials, who these days are usually looking for modern places to live. The real estate agent will probably realise right away if your home is too out-of-date to be of much interest on the market. But he or she may still try to hold your business before letting you find out the hard way.

        7. An Agent Doesn’t Want to Work with You Anymore

In an ideal world, you’d establish a great working relationship with your agent who would bring in your dream deal. On the other hand, it is possible that any given agent really doesn’t want to work with you anymore.

It’s important to remember that an agent has a life to lead. He or she can’t be expected to be there for you all day long, day in and day out. Although you are paying a commission, that doesn’t mean that you own the agent’s time. You may not call them at any time of the day or night.

If your agent wants to be rid of you, they might advise that another broker could be a better option. Alternatively, an agent might just stop returning your calls and hope you get the hint.

        8. You Are Going to Lose in a Bidding War

When you are the buyer, your biggest fears might be of getting drawn into a bidding war. If this happens, you run the risk of either losing the house or else paying way over the market value.

To get your dream property, you will need an agent who is a great negotiator and who knows the limits.

If your agent isn’t up to scratch, this is likely to be the decisive factor that makes you lose out in a bidding war, although you won’t hear him or her telling you this.

        9. The Agent is Trying to Save His or Her Job

If the real estate agent is under pressure at work, your deal is what they need to save their job. This could lead to them making unrealistic promises to you or looking for other ways to keep your business.

Sometimes this can work out for you, especially if the agent finds a clever way of pushing a deal through that suits you. However, you should always be careful that if an agent is under such pressure, he or she may not always have your best interests at heart.

        10. Your Dream Home Doesn’t Exist at the Price You Can Offer

When buying a home, most of us have a type of dream property we’d love to inhabit. The problem is that this kind of house might not be available right now or might not exist at all at a price you can afford.

If a real estate agent thinks that you might change your requirements at a later time, he or she will still want to work with you even knowing that you possibly may never find your dream home.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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