Under the EAAB code of conduct, an agent is obliged to:
- To protect the interests of their clients at all times.
- To avoid misrepresentation.
- To disclose all facts.
- To avoid bringing discredit to the industry.
- To adhere to legal requirements in contracts.
- To avoid undue influence (i.e. prevent him from appointing his own conveyancers).
- To avoid unethical marketing tactics.
- To receive remuneration in exchange for service provided.
Therefore, once a mandate has been signed you need to:
- Explain the mandate terms
- Ensure that the seller is 100% comfortable with the terms – specifically the length of the mandate, the commission, what he can and can’t do, etc.
- Explain the marketing process
- e. what we undertake to do during the mandate period and what they should expect with regards to appointments if offers are not forthcoming etc.
- Once the listing agreement has been signed, you should spend some time with the sellers explaining how their home will be shown and what will be done to find a buyer for their property.
- By explaining the marketing process with sellers, anxieties they may have, such as concern over invasion of privacy, disruption of lifestyle, lack of buyer traffic, lack of offers, and unexpected or inconvenient showings, can be alleviated before they become major.
- Give advice on preparing their home for viewing
Avoid any unnecessary expense but point out anything that is reasonable!
There are many things you can ask sellers to do to prepare their home for viewing by potential buyers. In making these suggestions, caution should be used so that you are not suggesting expensive repairs of decorating that will not provide an adequate or reasonable return to the seller in money or quickness of sale.
Such things as burnt-out light globes, leaking faucets, collections of items in cupboards, garages, and other areas, dirty windows and doors, cluttered yards, and loose gutters are all things that the sellers fix with a little expense or time. Suggesting repair beyond things such as these will require a careful evaluation on your part
Normally, there are two ways to cover the above suggestions. One is telling the sellers what they think they could do to help their home show better. In doing so, be sure to stress the potential benefits they can receive. Two is to give them a pre-printed list of things they might consider doing
Finally, you should make suggestions for the actual showing. Lights on, walk and drive clear, and soft music are just a few of the suggestions you might make.
- Give advice on viewings
- Neat, clean (especially bathrooms, kitchen, etc).
- Make home feel warm and inviting.
- Allow the agent to take control – keep out of the way.
- Do not allow people in without appointments etc.
Many agents recommend to their sellers that, if possible, the sellers should try to be away during the showing. This will help the potential buyer to relax and allow the agent to show the property more flexibility.
If the sellers cannot leave when there is a show day scheduled, you should suggest to them that during the showing, they continue their activities to one area of the house. If television or stereo is on, the volume should be kept low, and if the buyers have questions, as the sellers to look to the agent for guidance. Above all, ask your sellers to allow the agent to control the showing and to provide information only when asked for it.
Do not arrive at your seller without an appointment. Ensure you have your seller’s contact details on you at all times and phone them on their cell phones if necessary.
If you cannot keep your appointment for whatever reason, make sure you phone the seller or send an SMS explaining the reason for cancellation and if necessary, phone him later to again apologise.
While this rarely happens, there are times when people will come to the seller’s door and ask to see the house without an agent. You should inform your sellers that it is in their best interest NOT to allow these people in. Rather have your seller call you or someone in the office so you or he can come out. Or, at the very least, have the people to call you to see the house. In all cases, you should have your sellers get the names of the agent requesting an appointment and/or showing the property so that you can follow up.
Another area to mention is the number of showings the sellers can expect, especially during the first couple of weeks. Many times, due to the mechanics of exposing the property, not many agents or potential buyers will be aware of the property for the first few days. In addition, there are not usually hordes of people just waiting to see that property.
Along with this, you should discuss the possibility and importance of an early offer, one received in the first few days or the first couple of weeks of the listing term. Indicate to the sellers that many times people will reject the first offer only to find that they may not receive additional offers for some time. Thus early offers should be given serious consideration by the sellers, even if they do not match exactly the terms of the listing.
- Keep the seller informed
- Give feedback on appointments.
- Keep in constant contact.
One of the most frequent complaints from sellers is that the agent did not stay in contact with them. According to the sellers: The Agent took the listing, and the next time we heard from him is when he had an offer or “when the listing was about to expire”.
Sellers should hear from you personally at least once a week by telephone and you should visit them at least once or twice a month. In addition, you can use the mail to send them copies of ads on their property, progress reports, and so on. Always call. This is a good idea just be sure to call when you said you would. If you can’t because of other business, call as soon as you can afterwards.
Remember to ask who has shown the property, and then call these other agents to find out their buyers’ reaction to the property, price, terms, and other conditions of the listing
By staying in touch, you will make the sales process easier and smoother, be able to solve problems before they arise and if necessary, build the need to changes in price or terms and demonstrate your desire to do the best job possible for the sellers
- Explain the transfer process
- From offer acceptance through to handover to the new owner.
- Lower offers, obligations, etc.
Finally, briefly explain to the sellers what will happen once a buyer is found, and an agreement has been reached resulting in a sale. The steps necessary to consummate a sale can vary with different types of financing and local requirements. A more detailed explanation should be made to the seller once a buyer has been found and a purchase agreement written and agreed to.
By covering all these points at the time of the listing, many questions and potential problems can be handled leading to a smoother marketing and sales process. The sellers will know what to expect, will understand the benefits to be gained, and will be more confident in your ability to do a good job for them.