RE/MAX of Southern African recently hosted Power Brunches with property expert, author and trainer, Ed Hatch.
Ed Hatch has been a licensed realtor since 1977 and as the senior instructor for the Council of Residential Specialists and the president of Ed Hatch Seminars; he has spoken to over 100 audiences each year since 1990. He has been a featured speaker at the last 17 consecutive National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conventions, ten Certified Residential Specialist CRS Sell-a-brations, and has spoken internationally throughout the US., Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. “Having a trainer of Ed’s calibre share his experience with us as property professionals was remarkable and I think many of the agents that attended were able to gain insight from his vast knowledge of the industry and people,” says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
The seminar and training focused on the negotiation skills of an agent and how they should be prepared for the inevitable. According to Hatch, agents are experiencing the same challenges that he did in 1977 and the years that followed, because people are predictable. Knowing people and how they react will better prepare agents to deal with challenges and have a viable plan-B at hand when needed – be proactive, not reactivate. He reminded agents that the real estate industry is a people-based business and not a product-based business. Although being a part of a big brand will get you in the door, it is your face-to-face interaction that will ensure you get the business and referrals.
Hatch referred to the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2010 survey, which revealed that approximately 48% of sellers and buyers found their estate agents through referrals. This is an extremely high number considering only 10% found them through the internet. This shows that even though technology plays an important role in business and is a tool that can be used by agents, personal interaction remains vital. According to Hatch, one of the challenges that face agents today, as it has in the past, is the correct pricing of a property . Many sellers often ask for a price that is not market related and it is up to the agent to communicate the benefits of pricing the home at a fair market value. Statically if a home sells within the first four weeks of being listed it sells for 1% above or below fair market value. However, if the same home sells between week five and 12, it sells for approximately 3% below fair market value.
If it sells between week 13 and 24, it sells for approximately 6% below and if it takes longer than 24 weeks to sell, it will sell for around 10% below fair market value. Agents need to be able to successfully mediate between the seller and buyer and essentially understand the needs and goals of both parties. It is a key element of negotiation to communicate to buyers and sellers in a way that they clearly understand and can relate to, as often disagreements are just misunderstandings. Says Goslett: “Out of the last 100 days, 69 have been spent on training events for our Broker/Owners and real estate agents to ensure they are some of the most professional in the industry and are well equipped to offer the best service to their clients. This is one of the factors that we believe has attracted so many agents to our brand. We were ranked as the largest real estate brand in the country in a May Finweek survey and had 200 agents joining the brand between January and April this year, of which around 50 agents rejoined the brand.” “As Ed pointed out, buying a property is the biggest financial decision many people will make and it is one that will likely affect their life and financial well-being forever. As real estate agents we need to be able to help them make this informed decision in the most professional manner. The personal touch, combined with the art of effective communication with ones client will always be an invaluable skill for an agent to learn,” concludes Goslett.