Are Canadian Owners the Greatest Obstacle to a Successful Sale?

Written by Posted On Monday, 24 October 2005 17:00

Property owners may be their own worst enemy when it's time to sell their Canadian real estate. Even well-intentioned sellers can short-change themselves after they've selected a real estate brokerage and salesperson to list their property and get the best possible return.

Most property owners spend more money hiring a real estate expert (popularly referred to as "my agent") than they do employing any other professional advisor. Yet, sellers traditionally approach this significant financial expenditure with less knowledge of what an effective professional can do for them than when they hire a licenced plumber.

If sellers don't know what a real estate professional can achieve, how can sellers tell when they've hired an exceptional real estate agent or even a competent one? This knowledge gap makes the listing process a challenge for both parties. Real estate agents who back up what they say with research, facts and figures, but who present this realistic information to unrealistic or disinterested sellers don't always get the listing.

Stereotypes get in the way of good decisions for too many sellers. Those who believe you can't expect much from real estate agents are rarely wrong since this self-fulfilling prophecy undermines the professional relationship and corrupts results. This lack of respect can lead to diminished returns. For example, one contrary seller was pleased with $50,000 profit because he did not realize his disrespect sabotaged the agent's efforts to generate twice that amount. Consciously or unconsciously, these sellers undermine the agent's efforts and build barriers to the rapport between agent and owner that is essential to achieving the sellers' goals - or exceeding them. An agent should be allowed to function as a professional extension of the owners, but that requires the owners' co-operation and commitment.

Owners who are too emotionally invested in their property or are rigidly determined to be in control, rarely discover what a real estate expert can do for them in marketing, selling and negotiating on their behalf. Those who tap into the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm that an experienced real estate agent brings to a transaction are often dazzled by the depth of sales strategies, fascinated by the breadth of real estate knowledge involved and delighted by the agent's one-track determination to achieve the seller's goals.

Sellers who want maximum effort from a real estate agent should be prepared to work on the same level themselves. Buyers are "king" once a property is listed. Their schedules rule. When sellers restrict availability for showing or refuse to inconvenience themselves by temporarily vacating while buyers view the property, agents are frustrated and sellers are the losers.

Thanks to the proliferation of "make-over" TV shows and home design magazines, today's buyers expect a "looks like new" house or condominium with great decor. Real estate agents understand which updates and upgrades can cost-effectively reduce selling time and boost sale price. If an owner ignores this new level of buyer expectation and feels "this was good enough for us," can the seller later legitimately complain about the agent?

Real estate professionals are trained to make suggestions from list price strategies to decorating and clean-up essentials -- all designed to improve selling opportunities. Following these suggestions should go a long way to a successful sale. Real estate brokerages and salespeople are hired to bring in the best offer possible in a timely, hassle-free fashion. Why would Canadian sellers do anything but support this work, which is all done on their behalf?

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PJ Wade —       Decisions & Communities

Futurist and Achievement Strategist PJ WADE is “The Catalyst”—intent on Challenging The Best to Become Even Better. A dynamic problem solver and author of 8 books and more than 2800 published articles, PJ concentrates on the knowledge, insight, communication prowess, and special decision-making skills essential for professionals and their clients who are determined to thrive in the 21st-Century vortex of change.

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