We asked real estate agents whether it pays to make a good first impression when you’re buying a house.
We’ve all ‘suited up’ for a rental property inspection – polished our boots, ironed our shirt – with the hope of jumping ahead of the pack with our application. But, as a potential buyer, does the first impression you have on a real estate agent or seller influence the outcome of the deal? We spoke to several real estate agents from around the country to get their two cents.
It seems the general consensus is yes – to some degree – although not in the way first impressions apply to renting. Rather than judging by physical appearances, agents tell us it’s more about what you say than what you’re wearing.
Cory McPherson, Director at Capital Residential in Canberra, told us that what that lays down the most revealing impression for him is the effort a potential buyer goes to. “If you want to buy, you to need to put in the effort or that effort is not going to come back to you,” he says. “In terms of how you dress, that makes no difference, but it’s how you communicate. If you put in the effort, the agent will put in the extra effort for you.”
Cory’s tips: “Make it succinct and communicate in a way that shows respect.” Cory says that when you pay attention to the details that the agent has taken time putting together, they know you’re serious. If you just tick any box and then ask basic questions about information that has already been clearly laid out for you, it gives the impression you’re not serious. If you show that you’ve done some research, you’ll have the agent’s full attention.
Brent Compton, Selling Principal at Ray White City Residential in Perth, agrees that being nice helps with everything in life, but when it gets down to it, that won’t affect how he deals with you. “If the crankiest person wanted to buy a house, I would still want to do business with them,” he says. That said, if you treat the agent with respect, it’s only natural that they’ll feel inclined go the extra mile for you.
Brent’s tips: “It’s important to understand the competition is not between the buyer and the agent but between the buyer and the seller. So while a good agent will be on the side of the seller, they’ll also have a duty to provide the buyer with the right information and help.”
First impressions of homebuyers are very important for Queensland’s Michael Turnbull, Principal and founder of Lowest Commission Real Estate in Brisbane. He frequently provides newcomers to the market with advice on how to be a better buyer and he agrees that an agent’s impression of a potential homebuyer is not about physical appearance or even manners – for him they come from how clearly the person shows that they’re ready and able to buy.
“From an agent’s point of view, first impressions are very important, especially in a multiple buyer situation,” he says. “As an agent, I’m always going to lean toward the person who is ‘ready to buy’ – the ones who have pre-approved finance, who know who their solicitors are, who look ‘legit’. This is especially the case in a hot market where you’re getting multiple offers.”
Michael tells us that sellers will frequently ask their agent for advice, and the agent is more likely to recommend the person who’s crossed their ‘i’s and dotted their ‘t’s, he explains.
Michael’s advice: “Go up to the agent and introduce yourself. At this stage there’s no need to show any paperwork, but let them know you have pre-approved finance. Talk about your budget as well you your expectations for the property. While this is ultimately a transaction, it’s very much about service. It helps to create rapport, so try to build a relationship.”
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