Mystery Shop Agents Before You Sign-Up!

Mystery Shop Agents Before You Sign-Up!

If sellers could hear what goes on behind-the-scenes in many real estate offices, they would be horrified. And if sellers were to read many agents’ training manuals, they would be appalled. Agents are taught to “condition” owners (give them bad news to get them to lower their prices).

As for advertising, agents are regularly taught to ‘load up’ the amount of advertising and charge the sellers for it. But most agents know that the main purpose of advertising is to promote the agents not the homes. Thousands of sellers are fooled into thinking they are advertising their homes when, in reality, they are advertising their agents.

But, by far, the worst thing that agents do to sellers is betray them on price. Not only do many agents not even try to get the best price, they deliberately cause homes to be sold for lower prices. It’s the incompetency or the dishonesty of agents that causes so many homes to be UNDERSOLD.

For example, agents are taught by many sales trainers that when buyers are interested in a home, the agents should say to the buyers, “Would you like to make an offer?”. This, of course, encourages the buyers to offer LESS than the asking price.

Many agents encourage the buyers to offer lower prices when many of those buyers are quite willing to pay higher prices. Some agents even say to buyers, “You don’t have to pay that price. I can get it for you cheaper.”

Why do agents UNDERSELL homes? The answer is simple: To make sales. The difference in commission to an agent between selling a home for the best price or selling a home at any price is very small.

The cheaper that a home is priced, the easier it is for agents to sell the home. So, in essence, a lower price means less effort for almost the same amount of commission. A sale is a sale and when agents make a sale they can pocket a few thousand dollars commission and turn their attention to the next sale.

You must ‘MYSTERY SHOP’ all the agents you are considering before you choose an agent. Don’t leave it until you’ve signed up with an agent to check out what the agent is saying about you and your home. If you discover the worst after you have signed-up, too bad – you’re stuck with the agent, at least for the term of the written agency agreement.

So, do your mystery shopping now. Just visit a few open inspections and mingle with the crowds of lookers – everyone from nosey neighbours to professional sticky-beaks.

Ask the agent a few pointed questions about three topics: the home, the sellers and the price.

See if the agent seems to care about the well-being of the sellers. Does the agent encourage you to offer a low price for the home? Does the agent ‘rubbish’ the home in any way? And, very importantly: Is the agent polite to potential buyers? Does the agent seem to be collecting contact details in order to follow-up prospects later?

Or, is this agent one of the many lazy agents who just wait at an ‘open-for-inspection’ until a buyer turns up and says, “Yes, I’d like to buy it.”

Some agents get huge commission for doing little that sellers couldn’t do – such as lodge ads on the on-line real estate sites, then sit at homes waiting for buyers to show up.

Unless you are impressed with what the agent is doing, the agent is probably not doing much.

There is no magic to what most agents do. Agents seldom “sell” homes. Good homes sell themselves to buyers who want to buy them. It’s more a case of the buyers bought than the agent sold – unless, of course, the agent is a highly skilled negotiator who knows several ways to sell homes for the highest price possible.