You put your house on the market and the first buyer to show interest turns up with a slickly dressed companion, their suit and shoes outshining your freshly washed floors. You watch the pair wander through your home pointing out all the flaws and talking to each other in hushed tones. And all the while you wonder, who is this poised person making you feel so uneasy?
The answer? Your buyer has come equipped with a buyers' advocate – a licensed real estate professional hired to source the right property and negotiate a good price.
Quite often, buyers don’t have the time to research and find their own properties or they choose to draw from the experience and knowledge of a buyer’s advocate.
The downside for you?
Buyers’ advocates are highly skilled negotiators with a thorough understanding of the market and what your property is worth.
How do you deal with a buyers' advocate to negotiate a successful sale?
1. Don’t be intimidated
You’re now up against a professional who’ll have stronger negotiation skills than your average buyer and a deeper understanding of the market. They may try to stipulate certain terms of sale or manipulate market data to their buyer’s interests. Try not to be intimidated in these situations – it’s all part of their goal to secure a lower sales price. Your goal is to secure the highest possible sales price.
2. Stick by your reserve
If you’ve followed our advice in previous posts, you’ll have spent time researching your reserve price. You’ll have an idea of what similar properties have sold for in your area and an understanding of current market conditions. A buyers' advocate may point out sales for similar properties that, for some reason, had a buyer’s advantage and use such examples to try and lower your reserve. If you’ve done your own homework, you’ll be able to point out other examples that reflect the true value of your home, which aren’t skewed to the buyer’s interests.
3. Don’t fall for sales tactics
Most buyers’ advocates have a few sales tricks up their sleeve. They may, for example, use ‘the other property’ tactic and make you feel pressured to lower your price or lose the buyer to another property. Or, they may put a time stamp on their offer in an attempt to pressure you to accept quickly. In these situations, always keep a clear head. Try not to be pressured or rushed into a decision.
Last word of advice…
Just remember, a buyers' advocate is merely trying to win a good sale for their client. With this in mind, nothing really changes. You still have an interested buyer to negotiate with and - to some extent - you can relax knowing negotiations will be kept at a professional level.