Importance of asking questions

Importance of asking real estate questions

The Importance Of Asking Questions

Had a busy week meeting up with five different sellers last week.

One particular seller’s situation is an unfortunate example of how fundamental mistakes can affect the outcome of a sale.

This seller has been trying to sell her property for some time unsuccessfully.

And so she wanted to hear my take on her situation.

She found it puzzling that her neighbour’s property sold so fast while hers continued to linger on the market.

It did not make sense to her.

Not that she did not receive any offer.

There were actually offers.

In fact, the seller received 2 offers shortly after the commencement of the sale.

But both the seller & her current property agent regarded them as low offers not worthy of consideration.

Were the offers really that… low? I wondered.

The Backstory

Despite my curiosity, I put that at the back of my mind and proceeded to find out the moments leading to the commencement of the sale.

The seller had told her property agent that she wanted $X as their base price.

That would be their non-negotiable baseline.

And the agent said “Okay”.

And here comes the 1st issue.

The property agent just accepted the price.

You may wonder… what is wrong with that?

Isn’t the property agent supposed to follow instructions?

Well, it depends on what kind of property agent the seller is looking for.

Is he merely looking for “a runner to execute his orders”?

Or is he seeking a professional opinion so as to make the most informed decision?

There are a lot of factors involved that can affect the outcome of a sale.

Without getting a complete picture of the seller’s situation & thinking, the property agent involved in the sale may not be able to give the most appropriate suggestion.

Hence, to me, one of the most important things to do during an appointment with the seller is to ask questions.

Lots and lots of questions.

No Questions Asked

So this seller’s property agent did not ask the seller any questions.

The property agent acknowledged the $X base price and got off to work.

In this case, the seller is actually not looking for “a runner”.

This is simply a first-time seller who thinks that the price she wants is reasonable.

So when the property agent said “okay”, the seller genuinely thought that everything is gonna be ok.

“No questions for me? Alright.”

This would lead to a significant problem as I was about to find out.

Blind leading the blind?

Me: “So, Miss Seller, why $X?”

Miss Seller: “Oh, I saw that my neighbour on the same floor sold for around $X very recently.”

Miss Seller: “So I reckon $X for my unit would be a very fair price.”

On the surface, this is not unreasonable thinking.

Assuming both units have very similar attributes and condition that is.

But… what if there are actually differences between both units?

And therein lies the problem…

The neighbour’s unit that got sold…. actually has a floor area that is 10.465% bigger than this seller’s unit.

Besides that, the neighbour’s unit also has attributes that are generally more desirable among buyers.

Which means the neighbour’s unit should logically attract higher prices.

The seller looked shell-shocked as she took in what I said.

But she understood what had happened.

And why the response “had been poor”.

With all things considered, the 2 “low offers” were actually very reasonable offers.

Unfortunately, the seller’s property agent had not done a proper analysis of the property. She also did not bother to ask any question.

All of these could have been averted …

(1) If the seller’s property agent had asked some important questions.

(2) If the seller had known a “yes sir / yes madam” kind of property agent may not be a good sign.

The Ending?

Naturally, it was very hard for the seller to come to terms with what had happened.

I gave her my advice and suggestions for her consideration.

At least she will be able to make an informed decision henceforth.

What about you?

If you were this seller, how would you take to this sudden revelation?

P.S. Most sellers may not be aware of this – offers that come in very early during a sale are usually from very serious buyers.

And very often, these are the best offers that will be received for the property.

Why do you think this is so?

Blog photo by Paulette Wooten on Unsplash

Jack Sheo

Jack has been guiding real estate clients since 2010 to make sound decisions pertaining to Singapore real estate based on data, stats and trends. Well-liked by both his local and international clients for his friendly yet professional approach to helping them, he welcomes the opportunity to have a chit chat session to see how he may be of assistance.

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