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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dodging the real estate rip-off


Our long-departed neighbours have just gone through their fourth real estate agent in a fruitless effort to sell their property. With each agent they would have spent a small fortune on aerial photographs, 'virtual tours', advertising boards, display ads in local papers, and several 'Open Houses'.

None of them pulled in a buyer, not even the fourth agent's auction, and I feel like giving them my copy of Mark Schneider's excellent little book "Dodging the Real Estate Rip-Off" which kicks off with the qualifier, "Now, I'm not going to tell you that all real estate agents are a bunch of shifty, lazy, money-grabbing sleazebags who think ethics is the English county near Suthex", but then continues with a no-holds-barred explanation of why YOU are better qualified than any agent to sell your own home.


Money Magazine October 2014


To whet your appetite, read this short sample chapter although I am sure Mark won't mind if I also quote him on those expensive display ads ...

"... those huge display ads are not really aimed at selling your home, they're aimed at selling the real estate agency that's selling your home, which is why so much space on them is taken up with logos and the beaming faces of Mr Furphy, Mr Rort and Ms Diddle. Spare a thought for your fellow home seller who's listed their property with an agent and is paying hundreds of dollars for the pleasure of advertising their agent's real estate business! Be thankful that you're not one of them."

and on that furphy that real estate agents are better negotiators ...

"If there's one part of the private selling process that has many people worried it's negotiating the sale. It's a worry that's readily exploited by the real estate industry who like to convince people that negotiating is a terribly difficult process fraught with pitfalls for the inexperienced - a job best left for the cool, calm negotiating professionals of the real estate industry, in fact.

Well that's just bullshit. ... real estate agents get no formal training in negotiating - none, nada, zilch and bugger all! Most real estate agents' expertise is limited to harassing the home-owner to drop their price for a quick sale so they can pick up their 'hard-earned' commission."

and that other great furphy of the real estate game ...

"... that people who want to sell their own homes can't get access to specialist internet real estate websites and hence the marketing power of the net? This is usually told to would-be DIY sellers by our stern-faced real estate friend, Mr Furphy, in an effort to persuade them that selling their own home is just way too difficult for mere mortals, and they should really list their home with Mr Furphy who has the arcane skills and secret knowledge to do the job properly.

Well it isn't true, although to be fair to Mr Furphy he may think he's telling the truth. He may truly believe that only real estate agents have access to the main real estate sites like realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. It usually comes as quite a shock to him when you tell him that you're selling your own home and it's already listed on all the big industry sites (and it will drive him to absolute distraction if you give him a knowing wink and refuse to tell him how you've done it!)."

I listed my own property on realestate.com.au for an all-up and one-time-only fee of $499 through realprivate.com.au but there are several others, for example forsalebyowner.com.au.