Commentary Should You Pick A Property Agent Based On The Type Of Car He Or She Drives?
- March 14, 2022
- 9 min read
If you hang around social media long enough, you would have seen it – the supercars, the high-end watches, and other displays of material wealth.
And more often than not, it comes from… drumrolls
Property agents. (And maybe some financial advisors.)
In a sea of over 30,000 property agents, this is a very competitive industry.
Social media is the online arena where people are trying to pull attention from others and put the spotlight on themselves.
It is all about selling and promoting themselves.
Am I going to start bashing agents on doing this type of promotion? Of course not.
But the goal of this article is really to help the general public educate themselves especially if they are on the lookout for engaging a property agent in this hot property market.
Let’s begin with a concept.
Here is a story from the book “Skin In the Game” by Nicholas Nassim Taleb.
Picking Between The Surgeon and The Butcher
If given a choice between choosing 2 surgeons who have to operate on you to save your life – would you pick the one who is a bespectacled, whitecoat wearing doctor or the one who looks like an overweight butcher?
Both surgeons have a similar track record of success and credentials.
Guess the choice that the author picked.
He will pick the surgeon who looks like a butcher rather than the one who looks like a doctor.
Because the surgeon who looks like a butcher had to overcome a lot of perception bias in order to get to his level.
How you look should not be a measure of your skill and ability.
For skin in the game:
All things being equal, he likely had to work harder and focus on his skills to bring the results that his patients need.
When the results come from dealing directly with reality – rather than through the agency of commentators – image matters less, even if it correlates to skills.
When no one wants you around…When you don’t look the part – then it means you have to be damn good at your job to keep it.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? You want the one who can save your life and not necessarily the one who looks good.
Let’s shift this concept and apply it towards engaging property agents.
What Should Be The Basis of Selecting A Property Agent To Work With?
One of the emerging trends I’ve been noticing is the fact that homeowners and property investors nowadays tend to NOT pick the first agent they meet.
In fact, it is very common that many property agents actually go through an interview process before they get selected.
What is going on seems like a combination of comparison shopping and job interviews.
Even top producers who made more than 7-figures last year are not immune to it.
These agents tell me it is routine to meet prospects who tell them “oh, I have spoken to a few agents before you.”
Agents are being sized up carefully before they are engaged.
But what should be the basis for selecting an agent?
- How they dress and look?
- Their level of experience?
- Their ability to speak on video?
- Their ability to communicate and relate well to the needs of their prospects or clients?
- Their negotiation ability with buyers?
There are so many factors to consider. Some of these considerations are not that easy to verify.
So it becomes even more necessary to not take the shortcut way of determining the suitability of an agent by the way they dress or the car they drive.
The Well-Dressed “Expensive-Looking” Agent vs The Normal Next-Door Agent
Personally, I would not want to engage the agent who drives a car that is more expensive than a 2-room HDB flat.
In an age of being smart and savvy with your finances, agents who drop a chunk of change in a depreciating asset like a car – well, I will be wary.
That being said, I know some agents who are really at the top of their game and these cars are literally small change for them.
For this small group of people – please spend your hard-earned monies as you wish.
The country also appreciates their tax contribution – which is higher than the annual median salaries for most of us.
The issue comes about when the “average agent” starts copying and doing the same.
And it brings across an illusion of success when there is really not much substance underneath.
So how do you check for substance?
Certainly not by the car they drive!
4 Steps To Selecting The Right Property Agent For You
Step 1: Check the CEA Public Register here: https://www.cea.gov.sg/aceas/public-register/sales/1
The purpose of this step is to check how active the agent is. You want an agent who is active in the market and has gone through a decent amount of transactions recently.
It reflects their awareness of what is going on in the market.
Length of experience in terms of years can be misleading.
Some agents may have more than 15 years of experience but only less than 10 transactions per year.
Their experience might be more limited than the agent who has less than 10 years of experience but chalks up about 20-40 transactions per year.
So don’t depend on years in the industry as a factor.
Step 2: Check for testimonials or feedback or do some online stalking.
Some agents do share the testimonials they receive and make them available online.
But if you really want to take it up a notch, do ask them if they have previous clients you can talk to.
Ask for a reference check if possible. Some agents should be comfortable sharing this especially if they have built up a good rapport and relationship with their clients.
Of course, you can’t insist on this for every agent.
But it is a good way to check.
Step 3: Interview them and see if you like them
This is where all the articles you read in Stacked come in handy.
Ask the difficult questions and observe how they respond.
Perhaps you can even pretend to be an overbearing and demanding homeowner. If you are impressed by their patience, then feel free to engage them.
I heard stories from agents who met clients who ask silly questions or pretend to be stupid – just to see how agents react. (After the whole deal has concluded, they openly shared “oh actually, we were just testing you.”
Some difficult questions you can ask:
- My neighbor sold his home at this record price. Do you think you can beat it?
- I think agents are not necessary in a property transaction. Don’t you think so?
- Do you think I can pay your commission in installments?
Watch and observe how they react.
Most importantly, don’t smile. Let them think you are serious. Laugh internally if you have to.
The goal of the interview is to see how well they communicate and how authentically they can connect with you.
Can I Choose Not To Engage A Property Agent?
Of course, you can choose to DIY.
But I prefer to tap on their experience and expertise that has been built up.
I don’t study property transactions for a living. Neither am I very good at conducting viewings nor negotiating for the best prices for my home.
And as with a lot of things, sometimes it may seem simple on the surface, but it’s usually never as straightforward as it seems.
For example, are you confident of getting the timing right between selling your home and upgrading?
What if unforeseen scenarios happen such as your buyer pulling out because of loan issues (you don’t have enough experience knowing how to screen serious buyers).
The standard 2% fee – I think it is a small amount to pay for the services they render. Because for everything else, an agent has to accept this fact:
Zero compensation is received for anything and everything an agent does – until a transaction closes.
Petrol costs, online listing platforms fees, advertising expenses, license renewal fees – these are payable upfront. Commissions are received only 4-6 months later.
So I am ok with the commissions they earn.
With the support of a good agent, I know I can move on with other important parts of my life. Like raising my kid well or becoming better at my job.
I don’t want to go through life wondering did I secure the best price for my home.
That should be a problem for my agent to solve.
That being said, of course, I will monitor closely and ask how is the process going.
If you are a property agent reading this, please don’t feel hurt reading this.
But putting yourself in debt for that high-end car in order to quickly impress potential prospects is the last thing you want to do.
You think it is a shortcut but it also adds further financial pressure on yourself – for no good reason.
Most important of all – when you sell to prospects about engaging you – this additional pressure will show up and amplify itself.
Prospects will feel it and detect it.
And I would rather engage the property agent who focuses their fullest attention on my property portfolio rather than have their attention divided elsewhere.
I cannot imagine meeting an agent who is thinking about their car’s next payment when they should be focused on helping their client to get the best results possible.
In the end, we just want someone who cares more about the interests of the client rather than the commission.
But hey, the reality is not always pretty and ideal.
How many agents out there are willing to give up the sale when they find out the situation is not favorable – whether to proceed to buy or sell?
This business can be shallow – where like attracts like.
But it can also be a fulfilling career for those who truly care for their clients.
If you are truly unsure on who to engage, have a chat with us at Stacked.
The agents we work with have been carefully vetted and considered for their industry knowledge, deep experience, and ability to uphold the interests of the clients.