It’s often what’s said before negotiations, not during negotiations that determine whether your agent is a good negotiator or not.

Many agents, obviously keen to make the sale, give away the vendors bargaining position and money well before any offers are made. How does this happen? It happens because a lot of buyers ask the agent questions to find out how motivated or desperate the owners are to sell in order to find out how cheap they can buy the property. Consider the case where an elderly couple are selling up to move on. The buyers inspect the property and says to agent A ‘We quite like the property, what’s their bottom line. Agent A responds ‘Well the wife’s quite elderly and about to go into a nursing home, and he’s had a few health issues and as you can see from the state of the gardens he can’t really maintain the property any more. As you know the home’s been on the market for a while and they are getting desperate to sell – give me an offer and I’ll see if I can get it through for you”.

Sound familiar? Agent A has completely disintegrated the seller’s bargaining position and left the gate wide open for the them to lose thousands of dollars. Let’s say the buyers inspect the property with agent B and ask the same question. Agent B is an experienced agent who knows the 5 common questions asked by buyers to uncover the seller’s motivation in order to establish how cheap they may be able to purchase the property. So when Agent B hears the question they are fully prepared to respond, but not in the same way that Agent A did. Agent B will respond by asking questions such as: ‘I haven’t discussed this with the owners, do you have a genuine interest in the property?’ They may then ask questions like ‘Does the property suit your requirements?’ or ‘Based on other properties you have looked at around this price range, how does this one compare?’ So Agent B is taking the discussion away from the vendor’s motives to the buyer’s motivation to buy the property, thereby protecting their bargaining position. Which agent would you select? The lesson here, is that before you list your property for sale, it is imperative to ask potential agents what the 5 most common questions are that buyers ask to determine the seller’s motivation. Then ask them how they would respond to them.

Daniel Gilbert has a B.Comm (Accounting) from the ANU and is one of the most experience agent in the region with over 23 years industry experience.