When it came time to sell his mum’s house in Coogee, author and Aboriginal tour guide operator Grant Hyde decided to sell it himself, using a friend who is an auctioneer and putting up advertising.
Eventually, he gave up and put her home with a professional real estate agent.
“One hundred per cent you need an agent,” he says of his experience. “When I tried to sell the house myself, I just missed too much of the market, we missed out a lot of the places where we should have advertised and all those potential buyers that agents have on their books already.
“As well, we’d done a lot of renovations to the house but one website listed its pre-renovation value as $1.3 million – and a lot of buyers kept quoting that to us, and we didn’t know how to counter it.”
Hyde, 46, the co-founder of Kadoo Tours, ended up with one offer for $1.45 million, and that, he didn’t feel was a particularly firm offer. He then put the property with an agent, Brooke Marshall, of Belle Property Randwick, and ended up selling for $1,765,000.
Sales agents certainly agree they’re worth their weight in gold. Debbie Donnelley, of Phillips Pantzer Donnelley, says their most important role is being the person in the middle between buyer and seller.
“Sellers are very reluctant to say to an owner that they hate the kitchen, but they will be much more open with the agent,” she says. “So that means we can find out what they really feel and then negotiate.”
She’s regularly had calls from owners about buyers who’ve turned up late to an open, and been let in and say they “love” the property. But when she phones them, she often finds the reverse is true.
“We also, nine times out of 10, know how much a buyer has to spend,” she says. “That’s also very helpful for a vendor’s sale.”
The president of the Real Estate Institute of NSW, John Cunningham, says the main reason sellers should use agents is because “selling is 80 per cent an emotional decision and 20 per cent a logical decision”.
“The emotional side of the transaction cannot be underestimated, that is why you need the deft hand of a professional to guide you through the process,” he says.
“At the end of the day the agent is a trusted advisor who is their to maximise your sales price.”
Ivan Bresic, of BresicWhitney, agrees an agent is absolutely necessary to maximise a sale price. “It’s like if you’re going to be in court; would you represent yourself, or get a professional, a lawyer, to do it?” he asks. “It’s the same for a house sale. You need someone who’s a professional in the business, who does this every day, can give you the right advice, can negotiate and advise on marketing and presentation and professional photography.
“It’s also about time. A sale can take one day or 90 days. You need someone dedicated who’s going to give it all the time it needs. An agent is important too to take the emotion out of the sales process. It’s not like selling a car or boat; it’s a home, and it’s very easy to let emotion cloud your judgment.”
Even buyers’ agents like to deal with a professional sales agent. Simon Cohen, of Cohen Handler, says: “It is very wise for sellers to use a real estate agent. Everyone is exceptionally emotional about their own home, and you need someone to show you the facts and manage the process.”
He says he has bought properties cheaply in the past from sellers who didn’t use an agent. “Without an agent it’s difficult to get a realistic understanding of what it’s worth,” he says. “But on the flip side sometimes sales won’t go through because sellers won’t budge from what they think their house is worth, even if it’s not worth that much.”
Mr Cunningham says the role of the agent is to successfully implement the seven key selling strategies:
1. Presentation Strategy: How to make the property stand out from the crowd.
2. Marketing Strategy: Embarking on the right marketing program to maximise the eventual sales price.
3. Pricing Strategy: Working out the appropriate estimated sales price.
4. Communication Strategy: Ensuring the buyer is across feedback from the market and buyers.
5. Buyer Nurture Strategy: Engaging with and nurturing buyers into commitment mode.
6. Negotiation Strategy: Dealing with multiple buyers to get the best deal for the seller.
7. Auction Strategy: If the home is going to auction, the agent’s job is to create an environment that will yield the highest result for the seller.