I recently needed to transfer a private health insurance and I turned to an insurance intermediary that was recommended to me, to ask for a solution with the requirements I wanted. After many iterations and an indefinite drag, emails back and forth, difficulty in making a telephone contact, I ended up giving up when, after giving the OK, I was sent a “lot” of forms to fill out, despite although they already had all the information. When I was ready to resign myself to the situation, I sent an email to another mediator with whom I had recently taken out another type of insurance, and after 5 minutes I received a call back. Start well! After a few minutes explaining what I wanted, I provide the identification data, confirm that I don’t have to fill out all the paperwork, and I have the insurance taken care of. Wow!!!
It has certainly happened that you want to book a vacation, start by contacting an agency and end up giving up and doing everything yourself, using Skyscanner.com to book a flight and to Booking.com to book a hotel. It has happened to me, due to the frustration of dealing with some travel agencies (not all, of course). Last year, I was looking for a trip to Florida, and I initially contacted an agency to provide me with suggestions. They quickly began to charge hotel options and when I asked the person if he had been there, if he knew the best areas, the answer was always negative. In other words, he was selling me a product without knowing it. Later, I had the opportunity to visit a Virgin Holidays agency on a trip to London, and I realized the contrast for a 5* service ! The person who helped me was able to give me good advice about hotels, help me plan the itinerary, and give me countless suggestions about programs! This person had already been there several times, knew the product well, spoke with enthusiasm! And best of all, it was even cheaper than booking through my means, due to the agreements that Virgin Holidays has with some hotels!
The disintermediation of Transactional Services
Technology has been reducing the space for intermediaries who provide a mediocre service. Service providers have started to use technology to disintermediate the business, and this is visible in all sectors: from insurance, tourism and real estate.
If this is true, it is also true that intermediation remains alive when service is excellent and customers recognize value.
In my case, there are 5 attributes that for me are fundamental in any type of service, and that make it truly a value-added service and not a mere transaction. Are they:
What does this have to do with the service provided by a real estate agency?
In a word: everything!
If we don’t get a good service, most of the time it’s our responsibility (the customer who uses the service). Yes, because we are the ones who choose who we want to work with. But we seldom do so, with discretion. In real estate, for example, an owner who wants to sell his house spends more time trying to understand how the market is doing than selecting the real estate agent with whom he will sell his house. Makes sense? Before choosing a good specialist, how much time do you spend asking for references and researching him and the clinic?
The 7 Deadly Sins of the Selling Owner
A selling owner must assume the responsibility of taking good care of what, perhaps, is his greatest financial asset – his home. And you should at all costs avoid the following list of what I consider to be the 7 deadly sins of the Seller Homeowner, which generally mean taking longer to sell your home and for a lower value than it would otherwise be possible.
I will have less exposure (advertising) than if I gave myself to several: establish a commitment that the real estate agent will place the property on the most relevant real estate portals and that it will explicitly indicate that it shares the commission with all agencies . Ask how you will promote the property to other professionals;
Only that realtor can sell the property: ask your agent for a written guarantee (in an addendum to the mediation contract) that they will share the commission by 50% with any agency (with valid IMI) that brings a buyer. In this way, any agency can sell the property, as if it were open;
If the Marketing efforts don’t go well, I’m tied to a contract for 6 months: ask that everything agreed in terms of promoting your property and your agent’s commitments be written in an addendum to the contract, with the possibility of terminating the contract if the commitments are not fulfilled;
An Exclusive contract must be a premium service contract. An Open contract is a basic, undifferentiated service. Why? A good mediation service implies a significant investment in a good Marketing plan, which can reach 20% to 30% of the remuneration provided for in the contract. Only if the agent is sure that if he sells the property he will receive the commission, will he be able to make this investment. You may think: yes, but if it is open, if you sell, you also receive the commission, so you must invest if you want to be remunerated. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that: if the property is open, the real estate agent has no interest in disclosing it to their peers, because anyone, if they have a buyer customer, can skip over it and go directly to the seller. If you’re still not convinced, the advice I give you is: as in the examples we talked about in the introduction, look for the best ones and you’ll understand why exclusive service is so important. And attention, to be better it takes much more than many years of experience. But that is a topic for another article.
In real estate, as in other areas of activity, everything boils down to providing a service of the highest quality, so that you feel that if you did it by your own means or if you worked with another professional, you couldn’t do better. At the end of the day, what counts is achieving your goals, which in the case of selling a home are: selling at the best price, as quickly and with the least possible friction.
Your comments are welcome. Share them with us. And, you know, if you need to discuss any sale of your property, talk to us.