A lot of people think real estate agents are only interested in sellers.
However, here, we also prioritise building strong relationships with buyers. By doing so, we’re not just helping people find their perfect property, we’re also helping our clients sell. And that means we’re also doing a better job.
Real estate is built on relationships
I’ve been in the real estate business for quite a while now and I’ve come to understand two things about it.
First, real estate is built on relationships. The relationships you make with both buyers and sellers extend way beyond any property transaction. They’re ongoing.
Second, most buyers don’t just buy one property and then settle down for the rest of their lives. They take a long, multi-stepped property journey.
Often people start out renting before saving a deposit and then taking their first step onto the property ladder into a unit or small house. Some now even rentvest to get started. Then they often make more property moves – upsize to a larger property, buy a family home, buy an investment property or holiday home, help the kids get a foot on the property ladder, before deciding to downsize into a smaller property.
Data from REA shows that average “hold times” for properties are increasing. In 2020, the average hold time was 10.6 years for houses and 9.5 years for units. A decade previously in 2010, the average hold time was 8.0 years for houses and 6.9 for apartments.
But even though we’re holding property for more time, we still move on average every decade of our lives.
Buyer management and cross-selling
While real estate agents work for the vendor, we often meet buyers several times over many years, at different stages of their property journey. We really value the relationships we build with buyers, and call this buyer management. Building strong relationships with buyers not only helps them – it helps vendors, and it helps us do our job better.
Sometimes we advise them and help them skip a few stages along the way; other times we provide a reality check on the market, which can mean they have to add more steps in.
We often meet buyers at one property, but end up selling them another one. Sometimes they simply missed out on buying the first property at auction, sometimes they came to inspect it and it wasn’t right for them. Sometimes they were simply a neighbour wanting to know what was on the market and what they could one day buy. We call this cross-selling, where we form relationships with buyers and take them to see something else that could fit their needs.
It requires us to really listen, to dig deep into what they’re looking for, do our research, and use our knowledge of what else is on the market or being offered off-market.
Beyond off-market properties, we often have “quiet listings”, or prospective sellers who may want to sell under particular conditions, perhaps for the perfect price or particular settlement terms. And we draw on these when it comes to cross-selling, if they truly match a buyer’s criteria.
The art of compromise
Compromise is an essential part of the property journey. We’ve rarely, if ever, seen a buyer get absolutely every single thing they want in one property, no matter how big their budget may have been. Part of the property journey is learning what you will compromise on. This means we often show them a range of properties – and sometimes in a particular order – so that they can work out what it is they are willing to negotiate on.
As agents, we need to go on the journey with them. But we also guide them. Sometimes it’s easy to match them with their ideal property, but other times we spend years meeting the same buyers, listening to what they’re looking for, and showing them properties before they finally buy.
We view this time as valuable – we’re creating relationships, providing a helpful service, bringing new buyers to our vendors, connecting buyers with properties, and keeping our networks active.
And we always go the extra mile because we know that good work with buyers always builds a pipeline of sellers going forward. Many of our buyers come back to us when it’s time to sell because they remember the positive experience they’ve had with us, and we’ve got that relationship and trust to build on and go forward with.
If you’re looking to buy or sell in Potts Point and the Eastern Suburbs, contact my team today.