Why sell your home through a real estate agent?

There are agitated times in real estate mediation in Portugal, for better or worse. And agitation is not always a friend of the necessary consideration when making such important decisions as selling a home.

Why sell your home through a real estate agent?

It is rare that the owner, who barely manifests the desire to sell his house, is not immediately covered with proposals for help and "guesses" : from friends and acquaintances who suddenly become his friends, from the doorman of the building that even has some contacts, real estate consultants from companies you've never heard of and who swear to have a waiting list of interested clients, etc. etc. A true hell and a calvary that prevents the reflection and lucidity necessary to make the right decision.

The first question the homeowner should consider is whether they intend to sell with or without the help of a real estate professional. As with everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to each of the options. Although I am an interested party on one side of the issue, I will lecture on some of them, trying to be impartial. As much as possible ;)

Advantages of resorting to real estate

1 - Better promotion of the property is one of the advantages that stand out more when we speak of real estate mediation. Gone are the days when "written in the windows" or plates with the telephone number and the message "sold by the owner" were used. The buyer's customer today is too accommodating to look for his own foot. You want to sit in front of your computer or cell phone and "flip" opportunities, compare prices, read reviews and suggestions on the net, look around the area or ask a consultant to do it for you. Needless to say, digital visibility is everything to this type of customer. So, whoever has a stronger network of digital platforms is "who wins the parade". And the real estate industry is the one that most invests in the digital promotion of the sale of a property. 

2 - The increased visibility that a property can benefit when promoted through a real estate company, which has some dimension in the market, is one of the factors that mark the difference. An owner who advertises on the same advertiser sites as the rest of the professionals gets the illusion that it competes at the same level. Now this is not true! Nowadays the number of portals and platforms that truly count in terms of effectiveness is small ( Casa Sapo , Imovirtual , Idealista and BPI Expresso Imobiliário ), and hence the number of real estate that appear when someone conducts a survey can be very high.Now these sites have agreements with real estate agencies and other professionals to highlight their real estate, which are not accessible to individuals. So, those who advertise in particular get the idea that competes at the same level, but a short time after the ad goes on the air, it is sent to the end of the listings, losing visibility and requests for visits. Not to mention the visibility achieved through the company's own mediation website.

3 - The network of connections of a Top Producer (successful consultant) count! And if the mediator has a good internal sharing network among the other colleagues, this can also be a positive factor. A good network of contacts, by itself, often allows you to close deals even before a property " goes to the air " .

4 - Choosing the right price to sell a home is not an easy or elementary task. Even the good professionals in the industry have difficulties in advising the right price, and sometimes need to correct it along the promotion course. But for a real estate consultant with a lot of experience in a given area, it is easier to consider the different variables: location, typology, age of the property, state of conservation, architecture, average market price, type of demand in the area, etc. Already a private individual, is easily influenced in the definition of a price by:

  • the price you heard a neighbor talking about a property that was recently sold in your area ;
  • the average market values that the real estate portals show and do not reflect the final values of the deed (only use the values of the promotion), much less the variables described in the previous point.
  • Simulations that come from everywhere, at a distance from a phone call, and are based on the same origins as the previous point, etc. etc.

In short, the attraction for a speculative price is great, and the disappointment that awaits the owner as well. The less realistic and out of the market is the price at which you try to sell your home, the lower the number of requests to visit and the longer the sale. A competent real estate consultant has the mission to sell as quickly as possible and at the best price, which is as it says: the fair market price .It is not an easy equation to solve and it is important above all to avoid the devaluation of the property when subjected to a prices war that, over time, will give a wrong perception of that property and will contribute to a devaluation of it.

5 - The qualification of a property is part of the tasks of a consultant. Through its intervention and the teams that accompany it, the property gains "value":

  • Photographic, video, drone and 360-degree reports produced by good professionals allow us to mirror the best the real estate has to offer, rather than scare buyers with photos of mobile phones that often give us a wrong notion of space and lighting .
  • The consultant has a clearer idea of the remaining properties competing in the same area and the weaknesses of the property that he intends to sell, which may be responsible for inducing a negative feeling in the interested visitor, which can be easily solved with small works or interventions ,

6 - Qualifying customers buyers is one of the tasks of a real estate consultant. Opening the door to any interested potential who called directly by phone to see the house, carries risks, especially at the level of the security of the owner and the property.A mediator tries to mitigate these risks, qualifying the client through a questionnaire, a previous interview, or the identification of the client, visiting with a team when they do not feel confident enough, and marking the visit to when the owner is absent. But in addition to qualifying the client for security reasons, the financial profile of the interested party is also scrutinized, thus avoiding exposing the property to unnecessary visits, not to waste time with so-called "tourist visitors."

7 - Preparing and visiting your property is a task for an experienced professional with training in the areas of communication and negotiation and who knows how to avoid unnecessarily exposing the weaknesses of the property, focusing on the characteristics that benefit him in the eyes of the visitor . Its mission is to advise and raise the moment of the visit, unlocking the resistances of the buyer and suggesting solutions to the problems perceived by the interested parties. It is your task to refuse the visit when the property is not in order or in conditions to be visited, without the presence of the occupants, ensuring that the visitor's experience is made in a more pleasant way.

8 - The negotiation of the price. This is a matter in which you only get it when it is made by a professional and not by the owner himself. When the customer interested in buying, negotiates directly with the owner, the negotiation focuses on lowering the price, requesting compensations, etc. and the resistance of the owner not to yield is put to the test. This is a negotiation in which the owner has fewer trumps, fewer arguments and less coldness to negotiate. The consultant "works" as a buffer between the buyer client and the selling client, which allows filtering and separating emotions and articulating a more objective and rational negotiation.

On the other hand the consultant is a negotiation expert (if not, he will not be successful) and can counteract more effectively and play with the different offers to try to maximize the final price.This negotiation is one of the advantages that is mentioned by the several studies that conclude that the real estate sold by the mediators are at higher prices when the promotion and sale is made by a private owner.

9 - Mediating and Facilitating is the mission of a real estate consultant. Only an experienced professional can guarantee that all entropies will be solved, since he / she has access to a group of professionals from different backgrounds (architects, decoration professionals and Home Staging, construction professionals, lawyers, notaries, etc.). A consultant has to be more than a mediator or a salesperson, he has to solve problems and flatten a path that can be tortuous until he reaches the final goal.

10 - Save work and headaches. If you set out on the adventure of selling directly your home don't imagine the load of jobs you are getting into! Nowadays, the transaction of a property, as it is inserted into a heavily regulated, monitored and bureaucratized activity, is an operation subject to great legal, fiscal and economic complexity and involves several very laborious and risky steps. From promotion, to obtaining the technical documentation required to enable the promotion and transaction of the house, energy certificates, communication with all parties involved (sometimes with lawyers and prosecutors), inspections, assessments of the property by the bank, payment of taxes , notaries, contracts and deeds, etc. etc. Managing all these steps at the right time and ensuring that nothing fails is already a challenge for a professional, let alone a well-intentioned individual.

11 - The protection of the business is one of the advantages in appealing to a mediator with signed credits.Selling a home is too important to take legal and other risks, which the owner's lack of know-how can originate. Real estate brokerage, when done in a professional manner, defends the owner and conveys to him security, using his knowledge and legal support, taking care of the various risks from the moment of the Promissory Contract of Purchase and Sale up to the moment of the Deed of Purchase and Sale such such as after-sales service if there are future complications or complaints.

12 - The after-sales service of the business is another of the advantages that the option for a mediator provides. Facilitating after-sales communication between the buyer client and the selling customer and finding solutions to problems that always arise after the sale helps to establish a trust link between the parties and mitigate the entropy of the business.


Disadvantages in resorting to a real estate agent

Disadvantages of Selling Your Home Through a Real Estate Agent

Now here is some ground where I feel uncomfortable as a real estate consultant :) But I will try to list the main objections I hear from my clients when I try to get a property.

1 - The exclusivity and always the exclusivity. Exclusivity is a contractual clause that some mediators demand and that "scares" many interested in selling their home through these mediators. They feel that they may be caught in a reducing relationship and that the chances of selling increase as they place their house under open contract, involving more than one mediator, simultaneously. It is a natural feeling of rejection, which I consider to be fueled by the high number of loyalty contracts consumers are confronted with today. I wrote an article where I reflect in more detail what I think about this topic.

2 - Pay for the mediation service. In the distant past this cost did not even exist! The buyer's customer met with the selling customer at the village cafe, sorted out the details, drank glasses, shook hands, and had business done. Yeah, but meanwhile the "village" grew.It is no longer easy to find anything, in the middle of millions of real estate, owners, tenants, interested, etc. This is how a new industry came into being: real estate mediation serves to facilitate, expedite and be successful in the services it provides. And as everything that involves work comes at a cost, here is no exception. However, I often mention that if the owner is able to sell faster and at a better price thanks to my intervention, he will have earned to pay for our work.

3 - Privacy is called into question. The modus operandi of mediation companies is effectively based on the strategy of promoting the property and exposes it in the most intense way they can. However, it is possible to disclose only one exterior photo of the property, or the surrounding area. Or do not disclose the price and promote the property "under consultation". That is, it is always possible to reduce exposure, at the cost of greater difficulty in the sales process. In the latter case it is possible to sell without promoting, provided the consultant has access to a network of potential buyers and thus preserve the secrecy of the business. But this is not easy, nor is it accessible to most professionals.

4 - Setting the right mediator and professional is a headache and one of the reasons that most contribute to displease many owners regarding the use of this mode of sale, as an alternative to direct selling. It is not uncommon to encounter owners who have gone through 3 or more mediation companies during the process of selling a property, with no results and with a growing sense of disappointment and disbelief. Considering that there are more than 6,000 mediation companies, to which more than 40,000 professionals are connected, it is not difficult to imagine that there will be many professionals without proper training, with little experience, and without any deontological concern, even because we are talking about a sector professional where the certification of a real estate consultant does not even exist! Unlike other countries. The advice I can leave (if you do not intend to request my services;) is to seek information from friends and acquaintances who have already had a positive experience of selling a property.Try to opt for mediators of greater weight and size, who have more and better resources, greater visibility and a greater concern with the brand they defend.

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