Selling An Inside Look To Why Having An Exclusive Agent To Sell Your Property Is Wise
- Weeko Lee
- May 3, 2021
- 10 min read
For some homeowners, there is this strong belief that engaging multiple agents to market their home will be a great idea.
“Since there are so many agents available and willing to take up my listing – why not I cast a wider net and gain greater exposure by working with multiple agents? This should result in more offers right?”
The answer is no. It is more nuanced than that.
To be fair, there actually was a point in time when engaging multiple property agents to sell your home was the smart thing to do.
This was before the Internet came along.
Back then, while you still had certain avenues to market the property (flyers, newspapers), the network that the agent had mattered more.
So naturally, you’d want to have multiple agents, to be able to cover more ground.
Today, with how dominant property portals are in Singapore, there is honestly much less need for that.
Let’s explore some of the issues and consequences that might occur if you ignore the value of doing an exclusive listing.
#1: Loss of Control
Everyone likes the idea of having multiple agents working to sell your home.
By right, you should be able to reach a wider range of buyers in a multiplier effect.
But let me explain why this is often more of a downside than it is a plus point.
Put simply, these multiple agents are not working for you.
Let’s say you have engaged 10 agents to market your property.
You might think you have 10 different listings at any one time, thereby capturing a bigger share of the listings available.
And while that might be true, the truth is that they are working separately with only 1 goal in mind.
“Let’s close this deal as soon as possible so I will be the last one standing who will secure the commission.”
So instead of having multiple offers – you will have pressure multiplied by your various agents – all eager to close the deal ASAP.
They no longer care about your well-being nor prioritise your goals.
Instead, the agents will prioritise their own needs – the need to recover back their marketing costs, time spent and effort.
You will hear very demoralising reasonings coming from these agents:
“Maybe you should lower your prices. These buyers can walk away. “
“You should let go at this price – your neighbour also selling at these prices.”
“The buyer says your interior does not look good and they have to spend a lot of money to do up the place.”
Imagine if you are a seller who keeps hearing these reasons from agents whom you expected to get good offers from – this will get old fast. And become very frustrating as well.
Worse still, in a bid to stand out, some more unscrupulous agents may even lower your selling price in the listing to draw more buyers in.
And yes, while they do get more buyers with that hook, more often than not it ends up harming the final price that you might get.
The question is, do you have the time to be managing all these agents “working” for you?
Let’s not forget, if those buyers are savvy enough – they will talk to ALL the agents marketing that unit.
Then they will figure out which agent is desperate enough to close the deal fast – who can pressure the seller.
Of course, you as the seller – still have the final say. But you already lost control over the entire sales process.
Those multiple agents you engaged?
They now dictate what happens next, not you.
The only power you have is to stop marketing your property altogether – which is the exact opposite of what you want to achieve initially.
Why go through all these frustrations – just for the sake of getting more “exposure”?
#2: Your Listing Becomes A Marketing Channel
Have you ever wondered why agents agree to market your property even though they know they are competing with other agents?
The reason is simple.
A property listing attracts buyers. The more listings they have, the more buyer enquiries they get.
And guess what? Agents can serve buyers as well.
If they understand what the buyers are looking for – they can convert those buyers to become their clients.
This is one way to get more clients.
Your listing is just another source of potential leads for their own business.
But if you grant an exclusive listing to your agent, then their priorities will shift.
Instead of thinking about drumming up new clients from your listing, they can actually focus on closing the best price possible for your property.
Why? There is no competition.
Instead, the only competition is achieving the best possible deal for you.
An exclusive listing ensure incentives do not get misplaced but prioritised in its proper position.
#3: Lack of Sincere & Committed Effort
Property agents are humans too.
The absence of an exclusive agreement only reminds them that they are only one of the multiple agents you engaged.
This means they will not work their hardest for you.
I guess it is similar to being in a monogamous relationship – how can someone be truly committed to a relationship if they have someone else waiting in the wings?
Your listing becomes a “by-the-way there is also this property for sale”.
It is not the star of the show, it is not memorable enough for agents to prioritise it in their marketing efforts.
Perhaps this would be best explained through how a listing portal like PropertyGuru charges agents.
While these are outdated numbers, I think it is still a good representation of how it works.
As you can see, depending on the package that you take up, each agent will be limited to the number of concurrent listings at any one point.
So let’s say even if you have 10 agents working for you, the bare minimum each would spend would probably be just putting a listing up.
While that may be fine and dandy on paper, the problem really comes in when there are a few hundred listings for the development you are hoping to sell (this is common with just completed projects).
What you really want an agent that is prepared to spend – and by spend I mean with ad credits to continuously boost the listing for greater awareness.
Just to give you an idea, you could easily spend $1 – $2k on just PropertyGuru alone – without even taking into account other mediums like Facebook ads etc.
All the more so if your home needs more attention, where different tools like video, staging, and engaging an interior designer will help get you more awareness – all of which come at a cost.
So in order to sell your unit at the best price with potential concessions like timeline extension or delayed move-in date – you will need an agent who can negotiate and fight for your interests.
It is really not about money at this point but your belief in whether your agent can help you achieve your goals.
Only by signing an exclusive agreement will signal to your agent about your commitment to them and re-affirms their commitment to you.
It is a 2-way relationship.
#4: Your Listing Becomes A Practice Home
The truth is when there is no exclusive, there is no self-imposed deadline. There is no structure to stage your home and there is no clear schedule on viewings.
The agents will look to their seller to be prompted and they are less likely to behave with their own initiative.
Too flexible till everything becomes fluid.
Your home will be on the market far longer than expected.
Buyers will start questioning why your home has not been sold, further fuelling speculation that will drive the offer prices down.
And agents might start using your home as a way to practice their viewings and sales skills.
They know they need the practice anyway especially so if they are brand new agents – so don’t be surprised if you have viewings but no offers.
When a listing has been too long in the market – it will become stale. And buyers can smell it.
This is the last thing a seller would want.
An Exclusive Listing Matters If You Want Alignment Between Seller and Agent
On the surface, an exclusive agreement is just a piece of paper. But it is much more than that to any agent worth their salt.
It is an indication of serious commitment to sell their home and a serious desire to achieve this goal in the best way possible.
Being in real estate for the past 12 years, I will politely decline any non-exclusive listings offered by homeowners and sellers.
For me, I sincerely believe in doing my best for all my clients but that is only possible when my clients are also sincerely committed to me.
Do take note that an exclusive agreement can be easily terminated if you are not satisfied with your agent’s performance with regards to selling your property.
You can decide how long you want the exclusive to last – it could be a 3-months exclusive or a 6-month exclusive.
What matters is both seller and agent are aligned in terms of expectations and goals.
Remember, Plans Might Change During The Sales Journey
I still remembered this EM Bishan flat I was marketing back in July 2016.
The owner gave me a 3-months exclusive but I couldn’t secure the price she wanted.
So I was replaced with another agent instead.
In Nov 2016 – she called me & requested me to take over again to sell her flat – citing that she could not relate with the new selling agent as he was being very pushy to get her to reduce her selling price.
She signed another exclusive agreement with me.
It was definitely not a straightforward deal.
During the journey of marketing the home, some plans were changed due to various reasons.
Changes were made based on:
- the next location to buy
- the decison to buy or sell first
- to rent the existing place from the buyer or to find another place to rent while the new place is under renovation.
Throughout the journey – it was about managing the expectations of the seller and doing a good job trying to market her property.
Close engagement and regular communication with my clients are necessary so I can be aware of any changes in their plans.
I eventually managed to sell her EM in Bishan and helped her secure her next home – an EA in Sembawang by April 2017.
Selling your home is a big step and due care and consideration should be taken.
It is very important that all owners who are planning to sell are very comfortable to share all their issues – with the agent they engaged.
This allows all potential situations and pitfalls from unfavourable decisions to be fully explored and discussed.
Being the sole exclusive agent to represent a seller means I been fully entrusted to take care in closing this chapter in their lives.
This is not something I take lightly. Your interests and rights will be fully represented and acknowledged.
At Stacked, we subscribe fully to the idea of engaging exclusive agents in the marketing and sales of your property.
If you are keen to explore your property options or have plans to sell your current property – feel free to contact us for a no-obligation discussion.