Probably more than any service industry, there is a gaping difference between the best Real Estate Agency and the worst, or even “the rest”.
During the boom leading up to the height of 2007 it was apparent that money came very easily in the industry. Many, struggling in their current job of the time saw the industry as a very lucrative, easy career option. Standards generally were low, there was little effective self-regulation within the industry and the public, quite understandably had little confidence. Some opening their own Agency made great marketing capital in being different/better/more ethical or whatever – frequently with little substance behind their claims.
Then came the Global Financial Crisis, second and third tier lenders collapsed, some high profile mainstream banks found their profligacy of lending led to their collapse and the industry lost its golden glow. Those needing the services of a Real Estate Agency knew they had a problem and became discerning with their choice. The industry took a major reality check.
At the same time, the Government stepped in and put in place an external agency to regulate standards. The Real Estate Agency Authority was formed in New Zealand giving a platform for the public to make complaints, from which they could take confidence that independent investigation and appropriate disciplinary action would occur.
Subsequent to the GFC many Real Estate Agencies have struggled to remain in profit with many closing their doors. Others, particularly those who always maintained high ethical standards and who valued the principals of service have increased their market share in a declining volume market.
So, what should a potential vendor look for in choosing a Real Estate Agency to maximise the sale price of, what is probably, their lost valuable asset?:
- Firstly, use the experience of others, who has the lion’s share of the local market. What are past clients saying of the Real Estate Agency by way of testimonials?
- How long has the agency been operating in the area and what is the churn or turnover of salespeople? Good agencies retain good people.
- What is the office profile in the New Zealand Herald and local media and does it have a quality physical presence with an office in the heart of the locality – the office window remains important.
Each Real Estate Agency has its own office policies and procedures (or lack there of). Ask what processes are in place to benefit the individual property seller – the manager and individual salespeople should be very clear about these.
Market share and the collective strength of the sales stream coupled with the experience of the individual listing salesperson in the office is very important.
Real Estate Agencies generally are improving (they must do so to survive), but there is still a gaping difference between the best and worst Real Estate Agencies.
It pays to spend time applying a few key questions before committing to give your most valuable asset to an all-so-ran agent.