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Posts from the ‘Mastermind’ Category


Commission Discussion 101

picture courtesy of Nick Youngson. link
Generally I have done my best to stay away from the great commission debate. In a lot of ways its kind of a moot point. If you are a seller you can pretty much pay whatever you want. You can even pay nothing and sell your home yourself. But a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have one of our top agents at my Mastermind session and he made a point that has really stuck with me. He said that in his experience 25% of the people he meets never talk about commission. They completely understand the value he brings to the table and are willing to pay for his insights, experience and market understanding. Then there is another 25% who see little value in his offering. These people firmly believe that mls is the only thing they need to get a home sold and will list with the person who will do it for the lowest commission. Usually they are disappointed in the outcome and statistics have proven that on average, if they do sell the home themselves, they receive 13% less than they could have by using a Realtor. Then there’s the other 50%. That middle group that is essentially your battleground. These are the people who you need to prove your value to.
So, what is your value proposition? We hear about it a lot but if you were put on the spot, could you adequately explain why you deserve the commission you want? I’ve been at it long enough to know what my value is. I have practised it over and over and over again. I know how to deliver it in a way that doesn’t warrant a response. There is no discussion, no debate, no counter proposal. It’s on the table. Lets move on and sign up this listing. Of course you can get easily pulled back into the debate but you have to be resolute in the discussion. Of course you won’t win them all especially when a potential seller says that another agent will list their house for less and supply the same level of service. When that happens my response goes something like this;
“I appreciate the choices that exist for you, and across every good or service that exists there are several price points. You can buy a $20k car or a $50k car. Both will get you from A to B. But the cheaper model may take more time. It may choose a route that is bumpy or unpaved, the radio only gets one AM channel and the seats are uncomfortable. Yes, you arrive at your destination but the experience in getting there was unpleasant. Like the better car, the experience you get with me will be unparalleled. I know where I am going and I know how to get there based on my many years of experience. My understanding of the conditions in the road play an important role in determining strategy for arriving at our destination quickly and successfully. In addition, my service has no chance of a breakdown. My team is highly tuned and able to anticipate and solve every problem and the car that you drive will look its very best throughout the journey”.
The debate is often easier when the difference in commission rates is larger but stories and comparisons always work the best and I believe it is fair to say that every person who opted for the cheaper item or service, whether it be a car or computer, lawn care or renovator was disappointed in their decision.
Mark McLean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office, the Immediate Past President the Toronto Real Estate Board and a director at the Ontario Real estate Association . The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB, OREA or Bosley RE


WTH!?! Your Client Walked Away Over That?!?!

broken microvaveI’m trying to be polite here. The “WTH” stands for ‘What the heck”. A few weeks ago at our Mastermind session we talked about how an agent lost a deal over a relatively small item. In this case it was a $500 Ikea cabinet. As soon as that story came out others piped in about some of their lost deals too. It was surprising to see what buyers and sellers would walk away from. I put it out to my Facebook friends and got some wild responses.

One person lost a deal over a pool table when the seller was moving out of province anyhow. Another lost over a broken snow blower. Apparently the seller promised it to a nephew and buyer walked without it. Other inconsequential items included a fridge, a $100 microwave, a bookshelf, drapes and a flowering shrub in the garden. Of course it isn’t always about possessions. Sometimes it’s a technicality. I heard from one friend who had a deal fall apart because the age of the home was reported as 14 years old when it was actually 18 years old, while another deal died over a 6 month discrepancy in the age of the furnace. Another fell apart when the seller signed back an offer to close on the same date that was the anniversary of a death of a family member and was taken as a sign that this “wasn’t meant to be”.

Often the argument is just an ego thing where the buyer and seller just don’t like each other and dig their heels in but other times it is the telltale sign of something larger. Our job is diffuse the anger and turn it into a positive. Here is my example; Once I went on a listing presentation on a condo. The exact same unit on the floor directly below sold for $365k. I suggested to the seller that if we listed at $369k we might do a little better (being one floor up). The owner was insistent on listing at $379k so I thought, sure why not. It’s not wildly off base. After a few weeks we got an offer for $375k so being already $10k ahead I pressed my seller to accept. She wouldn’t. Insisted on the full $379k. We couldn’t make the deal work and the seller walked. So clearly my seller lost on a great opportunity….or did she? About a month later the seller listed with someone else at $379k and the condo sold way over in multiple offers. In effect, it turns out the original buyer lost. There is a lesson in here somewhere.

Clearly buying or selling a home is an emotional experience. Both sellers and buyers think they hold all the cards. Getting them together is the real trick. If you hit this critical impasse the first thing to do is isolate it. Is this a buyer getting cold feet or a seller who’s just not ready to let go? Knowing the true motivation will help resolve the issues. Sometimes however, people are just stubborn jerks. Other times you step up and buy them a new microwave. In the end, the buyer and the seller just want to know that someone cares. Finally, I heard from one friend who tells it like it is. His client was his wife. Many years ago she dug her heels in when there was only a $200 difference between her and the seller. The agent husband managed to get the deal together and it has been their matrimonial house for 20 years. He loves to tell the story about how she almost let the deal die over $200. Hilarious.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.


Let Me See Those Cats

catsYeah, I know, that’s a weird title for a blog, but it will all be clear by the end. I promise. Years ago I heard about a buyer who had a very unusual way of purchasing a property. Now, this was back in the days when multiple offers were few and far between but her methods are worth mentioning. She would put conditional offers on over 5 properties then start negotiating with each seller until there was only one left. Strange approach but there was some method to her madness. First she could judge the motivations of the sellers and take advantage of the weakest one. It was a strategy that worked even if it burned out a few agents along the way.

In a round about way, I’m telling this story to illustrate a problem that we will face in our careers. No, I’m not just talking about high maintenance buyers, I’m talking about buyers who will use conditions to get out of deals. As agents we need to remind buyers that when they put the pen to paper they should be prepared to purchase. This is not just an opportunity to waste time.

Case in point, a buyer buys a condo through his agent, conditional on the status certificate. The lawyer reviews the documents. As time is of the essence, the listing agent calls the buyers lawyer to get an update and is told that everything is a-ok. At the same time, the buyers brother is trying to convince him to get out of the condo deal because a sweet income property just came on the market. The buyer calls his agent and tells him to use the status certificate to get out of the deal. Sorry, no can do. The seller’s agent knows everything is good and threatens legal action. As you can imagine, the deal firms up.

So what does any of this have to do with cats? It’s not just a catchy title. there was a story in our office about a deal that fell apart because of a status certificate. Apparently the buyer had 3 cats and the building only allowed two. The Sellers didn’t ask for verification but could you imagine a different time when that could happen? “Yes, sure. I will just need some verification that you do indeed have three cats”.

Someone once said that if you put a little effort into it, you can get out of any real estate deal. There are enough places to make mistakes in a typical agreement if you look close enough. Examples of discrepancies include wrong frontages and depths or mutual driveways and other easements, wrong maintenance fees, taxes and, of course, time limits. It is in our best interests to make sure our offers are bullet proof. Changing your mind is not an excuse and your clients can’t hide behind a condition. Like wise, please don’t tell your clients they can use a condition to get out of a deal. A recent RECO complaint resulted in an $8,000 fine to an agent for leading a buyer to think he could use a home inspection to get out of a deal.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.

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