Spring auction seasonFinally sales are picking up especially for cheaper properties, mainly because real estate is again looking good compared with other forms of investment. This presents opportunities for agents, but also alters the way business needs to be done.

It all comes down to buyer sentiment. When the market is trending down or flat, sales dry up. Of course the really good properties (in terms of their attributes, not pricing point) still sell well because buyers want them. But their less well-credentialed neighbours languish. There is no imperative for a buyer to buy – he or she will simply wait until another ‘perfect’ property comes along.

This all changes when the market is trending up. Buyers don’t want to miss out and will make serious compromises to ‘get into the market’. This is the time to sell properties with ‘drawbacks’ such as a noisy location or inadequate sun.

The better properties are flooded with buyers. This makes accurate pricing more difficult, especially when there is potentially a delay between quoting a price and listing. Poor agents will respond by quoting a very high price and hoping the market catches up to them.

Good agents will explain to their clients how competition can be harnessed to drive up the price. The quintessential (though not the only) method of doing this is auction.

The key to obtaining a well-priced listing is still recent comparable sales evidence, or you may find yourself with a vendor unwilling to sell even at a very good price. Marketing and presentation also remain crucial. Try not to let clients skimp on this. Of course they will achieve a sale with less effort and expense, but not at the best possible price.

Dr Gil Davis is now a university lecturer, but for twenty-five years he was one of Australia’s most successful real estate agents. He wrote the top-selling book Sell for More, packed full of useful tips for agents, which you can purchase on-line through Harper Collins.

Notes from the editor:

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