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.
With buyers coming back into the market, many are tempted to eagerly point out the property’s apparent – and often obvious – faults. When purchasing a property, buyers often “talk down” its benefits and highlight its shortcomings in an apparent precursor to justify a lower-than-reasonable offer to purchase.
Buyer ought to know that agents love it when buyers critique a property. Give an agent the chance to “overrule an objection” and they’re in their element, keen on defending the property with an answer (sometimes scripted unfortunately) for everything.
Pointing out a property’s faults or highlighting what changes need to be made to the agent 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 offending the seller. The agent will directly convey any criticism of their property to their client (such as their decor choices) and sellers like to sell to people they like, not those that pour scorn over their much-loved home.
Therefore, as a potential buyer, my advice is to do the opposite. Be particularly complimentary of the property as your comments will be forwarded to the sellers via their agent, conveying a positive image of you with the seller who’s more likely to be inclined to negotiate a favourable sale.
After all, it is only at the point of negotiating the sale that a buyer really reveals their price limits. 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 is 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 from a potential buyer they will stubbornly refuse to deal reasonably on an offer where otherwise it may well have been acceptable.
by Hayden Groves
REIA Deputy President