Let’s really think this through.
Who does your agent work for? Yes, I know they work for you because they have a listing agreement with you. But do you really know what that means? Other than the fact that they have legal obligations as set out by the Real Estate Council of BC (link) what are their obligations to you?
The vast majority of agents represent “one off” buyers and sellers and do a great job and follow the guidelines to the letter. But here are some things to think about when selling your presale condominium development:
1. Agents need to make a living today and their expectation is that they will be paid upon the completion of a sale. This is generally 30, 60 or 90 days out from the time the sales contract is written. That’s great for the agent but where does that leave you? Your project could be 1 or 2 years away from delivering a finished unit (and paying out the sales agent). Do you really think that the agent is all that excited about working hard at getting a client to buy in your project and waiting 2 years to be paid? Why would they not just find a nice resale or a project that is far closer to being finished and take their client there and get paid now?
2. Remember that 80 – 90% of buyers discover you first on line today and then call an agent to view and possibly buy. It is your hard-earned marketing dollars that has created excitement, and motivated the client to call. Are you sure those dollars have been well spent? What if the agent is taking the client to other projects once that client has contacted them? Monitor your agents closely.
3. Promises, Promises – We have all heard them: List with me – I am a top producer; my company can offer international exposure; I specialize in your area; I will get you top dollar; you will sell out faster with me…
4 – Don’t be fooled. This is just the usual agents “pitch” to gain a listing. Top agents and their agencies do extremely well. That is because they are knowledgeable and hardworking and are constantly on the go wrapping up sales here and wrapping up sale there. But if they are that busy will they have time for you or are you just one more listing?
Before you list with any agent or agency ask the following questions and listen carefully to the answers:
1. What presale developments have you done in the past?
2. If I list with you, am I getting your undivided attention? Define what that means.
3. My Sales Centre is open 7 days a week. How many days will you be in attendance? If not you, then who will be on site?
4. Do you return all calls or does an assistant? Is that assistant up to date with my project?
5. Do you provide real time reporting to me on all enquiries, web site visits and sales center traffic?
6. My project will not be closing sales any time soon. How will you maintain contact with the registrants, convert them to buyers and then be in touch with those buyers on a regular basis so that we do not lose sales?
7. Do you have a CRM system that will be exclusive to my project or are my enquiries, combined with other enquiries in a shared data base?
8. Where do the sales enquiries go? Are they your clients after they make contact with you or are, they my clients?
9. Other than MLS, what are your short and long-term marketing plans?
In closing remember that it is your project and it is you that is financially at risk and have your reputation on the line. Make sure that your agents are working directly on your behalf and not using your project to train other agents in their office, garner leads for themselves or other developers, burnish their reputations or make sales elsewhere off of your marketing dollars.