Buyer Behaviour

Disclaimer: These comments are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the current opinions and policies of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

When buying a big ticket item like a car or a home, it is often tempting to eagerly point out to the salesperson the item’s apparent flaws. Purchasing property, buyers often talk down its benefits and highlight its shortcomings in an apparent precursor to justify a lower-than-reasonable offer to purchase.

Most agents love it when buyers behave this way. Give an agent the chance to “overrule an objection” and they’re in their element, keen on defending the property with a (sometimes scripted) answer for everything.

Pointing out a property’s faults or highlighting what changes need to be made to the property achieves little other than to alert the agent of a genuine interest to buy because it is such a common buyer trait.

But, importantly, such a buying strategy can be disadvantageous because it risks ostracising the seller. Typically the agent will directly convey any criticism of their property to the owner and sellers prefer to sell to people they like.

Therefore, as a potential buyer, my advice is to do the reverse. Be complimentary of the property as your positive comments are likely to be passed on to the sellers, conveying a positive image of you to the sellers who are then more inclined to negotiate a selling outcome  in your favour.

It is only at the point of negotiating the sale that a buyer really reveals their price limits. Aggressive, arrogant or aloof behaviour from the buyer at this point of the negotiations will do little to enhance their chances of getting a bargain. A positive approach to the agent gives the buyer a far greater chance at securing the property from a seller sympathetic to a buyer who “loves it and wants to buy but can’t really afford it” compared to a buyer who is perceived as “able to afford it but reserving funds for future improvements.”

Buying and selling real estate is rarely just about the sale price. Sellers have a genuine and emotional attachment to their properties and are often so dismayed at the level of criticism of their property or attitude from the potential buyer they will stubbornly refuse to deal reasonably on an offer where otherwise it may well have been acceptable.

by Hayden Groves
REIWA President
REIA Deputy President

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