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Good property agents – qualities to look for

Good property agents – Qualities to look for

Good property agents help you preserve your wealth. Buying a property is probably the single largest purchase in your life. This one purchase often can help you make it or break it. Many people’s net wealth stems from property, a wrong choice can wipe out your savings while a good one can be the source of immense wealth and a comfortable retirement.

Good property agents

Image Credits: Good property agents attending Home Loan Report training by Paul Ho,

Bad property agents stir up your emotions

During the property buying process, there are lot of things to consider, many research to make and many financial calculations to make whilst it involves many emotions that tries to short-circuit all the sensible thinking process.

A bad property agent will simply want to sweet talk you into closing a deal and could not care less about your well-being, they will create the rush of emotions so that you cannot think straight. These are all hallmarks of a bad agent. Bad property agents love to create the rush and fear of losing out.

Bad property agents avoid giving you meaningful information

This bad property agent is ill-equipped. Chit chats and makes small talk, tries to become more personal with you and give you the feel good factor. You feel like you are invincible and could afford anything. This property agent often just talk and talk, there is no data and no data points, no reports, no analysis, just the useless stuff that do not contribute to thinking critically. They also avoid giving you anything substantial as they fear you will know too much and delay the decision process. 

Bad property agents give you Bad Data

They will just rattle off the things that developers want them to say, handing out brochures and nothing much. They really do not add much value. A robot these days comes with language ability and AI that can communicate with you, in the near future, we will have robots that can walk stairs, take the lift, bring you to the showroom and talk with you. Bad property agents talk in the same few ways and their repertoire of phrases are very limited, so very simple natural language AI programming and a robot can replace them.

They also give you bad research or bad data passing off as research. Their comparisons of places such as Hong Kong versus Singapore with logic that Hong Kong is so expensive, therefore Singapore must also become expensive logic seriously falls short of academic research standards. No doubt there is a link between how costly similar cities are and how they affect each other. Nonetheless their so called research falls short on explaining the direct and indirect causes or correlating parameters causing their so called claim that Singapore should follow Hong Kong in prices.

Bad property agents regurgitate data that was given to them, but do not understand basic information.

The above are what bad property agents put you through. I will not even go through with positive attributes such as fast and good follow up, etc. Fast follow up on bad property buying decisions is like killing you in double quick time.

What qualities does a good property agent need to have?

Good Property Agents talks little but talk sense

Good property agents need to talk less, talk sense and only talk when needed, but yet be able to build the relationship with the buyer of a property or for the home owner seller the property. The property agent also needs to listen to what their customer needs, rather than what they want the home buyers to buy or the price they want the seller to sell. Some emotions are expected, but a good agent should be moderate in emotions and should not create the emotional rush to buy or sell a property.

ERA has created a site called Find Property Agent where you can find Good Property Agents as they will try to monitor agent’s performance carefully, you can try it out.

A good property agent needs to know comparative pricing from Caveats and Financing rules and Home Loan Rates via Home Loan Report

Good property agents also needs to be numerical enough and quantitative enough without boring you to death and be able to show you caveat pricing trends, dig up property valuations of the units of interest (not some machine valuations). Financing knowledge and the ability to get down to a report with very detailed information such as the Home Loan Reports for you to use to understand your TDSR and MSR affordability, help link you to a reputable mortgage broker who can help you work across multiple banks rather than simply pick any banker who firstly may not give the best home loan rates at the point in time and secondly may not approve your loan as easily as the other banks given your client’s circumstances, putting your financing at risk.

This is important both for selling your property as well as buying a property. If you sell your property, it is extremely likely that you are going to buy a replacement property (most people only have 1 property, so if they sell, they must buy back). A good agent must make sure that you are able to buy the next property after you sell. Some property sellers get stuck after they sold their property as they cannot get approved for a loan, they ended up renting a place, straining their finances. Technically they are “homeless” as they no longer “own” the home where they are staying in.

A good property agent needs to be Knowledgeable, analytical and have the intellectual depth – Not simply marketing and sales depth.

Good property agents needs also to have property research under-pinnings and have the intellectual depth to discuss the data and interpret the market data and signals in a meaningful way, not simply to regurgitate what their team leaders or research team tells them.

A good property agent is often well read, understands the macro economy, have some basic economics understanding and the analytical ability to discern noise from real data and sensibly tell that to the customer.

Good property agents have Integrity, Honesty and Transparency

Integrity is important as there often is a baseline where an agent of integrity will not cross in getting a deal. here are often things that do not necessarily benefit the client but is good for deal closures.

In cases where an agent is selling your place at $1.6m, the agent received multiple offers for $1.5m, but instead tells you buyers are offering $1.4m. And they may even withhold the offers from you completely for weeks, so as to break you down gradually into softening your asking prices. This is known as staging, when you (the seller) are exhausted and despondent, you will agree to a lower price and this helps the property agent to close the deal.

An honest agent will allow the home seller the transparency during offers, so that the price is first set within reasonable boundaries, else turn away the deal. There is no point to drag it out. There is currently no known ways of tracking what the buyers are offering and hence this practice is believed to be prevalent. But do Note, transparency works both ways.

Good property agents have Hunger and speed

Hunger is the key motivation for everybody. We are all racing against time to find the next meal. A good agent needs to be suitably hungry always, so as to help you buy your ideal property or expedite selling of your current property. Speed is of the essence in any property transaction. So no matter how honest an agent is, if this agent is NOT hungry, it counts for nothing.

A good agent will quickly close out any outstanding issues accurately so as to be able to progress the deal. And who says hungry agents cannot be good agents?

Good property agents brings to you experience, the people network, the system to create good marketing collateral and campaign

Being hungry is the baseline, but simply being hungry is of no use. Good property agents will have a network of contacts and people where they can bring your property the biggest possible audience. Not only that, this good property agent must also have the resources to create good marketing collateral of your property, such as professionally taken photos or videos that brings the best face of the house to the buyer. A good property agent will probably ask for more commission, but will also draw up a detailed marketing plan and executed on a weekly basis. He or she must not be stingy to advertise when needed and show you proof of such advertisement, because an agent that is not willing to advertise is not worth your commitment to an exclusive deal.

An example of a Property marketing plan (to do list): –

Week 1: Clean up house, work with designer to stage the house for Photo taking and Video taking.

Week 2: Post on Portals A, B, C, D, E, F. Get Ready Weekly Open house or house viewing slots. Share with all agent network to market this property (be generous and open to Co-broke with other agents)

Week 3: Email campaign of 20,000 emails with the property. Share this property on Social Media sites A, B, C.

Week 4: SMS campaign to targeted potential buyers. Monthly review of offers and trends.

Week 5: Prepare 50,000 flyers to targeted potential buyers in district XX, blocks 123, 124, 125, 126, 201, 203, 210, etc.

Week 6: Advertise on Sites A, B, C, offline media, D, E, F. Singpost mailer campaign to Condominiums who may be targeted buyers.

Week 7: Prepare Advertorial about the house to highlight the merits. Open overseas marketing channel (if relevant).

Week 8: If still not sold, monthly review of marketing activities, effectiveness and whether asking prices are realistic.

Week 9 to 12: Aggressive ramp up of marketing.

These are the level of transparency good property agents will give you and update you, instead of making you feel whether they are doing their work or not. Then you look around online and offline, you cannot find your house being advertised or featured, you feel very upset, only to be assured that the work is being done. But how do you know? Often, it is not done, or they simply post it in a few sites, that’s all. So set realistic prices, expect and demand transparency so that both can win, because to execute these marketing it will cost the agent a lot of money, if you expect transparency one way from the agents and yet you are behaving like a bad home seller or bad home buyer, then this will not work.

So the rule is, expect and demand transparency and have a way to track it, and at the same time, you have to be transparent yourself. It works both ways.

A professional buyer agent will have a wide network of partner seller agents to bring up the best offers within your designated preferred areas. In case you desperately seek a certain area, a good agent will create a flyer campaign to reach out to those areas where you are targeting.

To summarise, there are the attributes of what a good property agent needs to have

It is easier to find a spouse than a good property agent. A good property agent  needs to have: –

  • Build relationship with substance
  • Listen to your needs and talks little
  • Analytical
  • Quantitative, give reports and data to customers
  • Able to explain numbers in a simple way
  • Speed, Hunger and hardworking
  • Experience and network
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Well prepared prior to every meeting with quantitative outcomes. (most bad agents are qualitative, not quantitative)

If you are looking for loans, you can check out the best home loans in Singapore here.

Find out how to buy a condominium here.

Written by Paul Ho


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