Just as a Buyer’s Agent was an unknown occupation only a few years ago, a Vendor’s Advocate is now gaining awareness and acceptance. Many buyers agents offer vendors advocacy as well. In both situations they can research, give market appraisals and real estate knowledge to a seller in much the same way that it is provided to the buyer.
WHO CAN BE A VA?
A Vendor’s Advocate needs to be a licensed and experienced real estate professional. However, a vendor’s advocate does not list or sell the property for you but only advises you on the process. It is preferable to speak to a VA before speaking to a listing agent. Sometimes a VA will tell you that selling may not be the right thing to do at this time, or your expectations on price are not accurate. A good VA can provide other options besides selling and give long term planning advice for your property intentions.
WHO BENEFITS FROM USING A VA?
Engaging a VA is especially useful for a vendor who is time-poor, absent from the location, unfamiliar with the selling process, unsure about selling or just feels they need an experienced professional to help with this major decision. How often do you attempt to service your car, diagnose your child’s illness or build your own house? Sometimes engaging a professional for important decisions is the most prudent decision you can make.
The process of using a VA is simple enough. Much like a selling agent, a VA will provide a market valuation of your property using comparative recent sales. Then they will provide data and information on which agents have a good track record and sales history. They help you choose the right selling agent to best suit you and the property. Sometimes a good personality fit is as important as experience and market share. A potential seller with a long-term association with a particular selling agent should stay and value that existing relationship. A VA is also very helpful if you wish to be an owner seller, or decide to use one of the many new owner seller websites.
The VA and the listing agent, once selected, work together throughout the marketing campaign. The VA takes a smaller split of the final commission – usually 25 to 30%. Therefore, engaging a VA does not cost you any extra money – you get two agents for the price of one, so to speak.
What is in it for the listing agent? That is a good question. There has been resistance in the past from some listing agents but that is diminishing. A good listing agent soon sees the benefits of including a VA in the process. They can then get on with the business of locating potential buyers while the VA can be the eyes and ears of the vendor. And the vendor, of course, has the benefit of getting a professional second opinion.
One strict rule remains essential. When acting as a buyers agent, a BA can never receive payment from a seller, or a seller’s agent. When performing the duties of a VA, they are not to receive an extra fee from a buyer on the same property. Conflict of interest rules remains paramount.
THE SALES CAMPAIGN
Once you have chosen the right listing agent, the VA steps back and lets them get on with their job. However, the VA monitors the sales process using the online data and listing reports to ensure the marketing campaign is working. And when negotiations begin, the VA is strongly in the seller’s corner ensuring that the best possible price is achieved.
Whether the sale is open tender, auction or off-market there is always a myriad of different variables that can arise. Most people are only in the property buying or selling process a couple of times in their life. It is unreasonable to expect them to be fully conversant with all the rules and regulations, strategies and best practices, marketing and negotiation techniques. Especially since processes and procedures are continually changing and improving in the fast-paced world in which we live.
A good VA is also able to advise the seller on how to best present the property. A seller often makes incorrect assumptions on what needs to be done and sometimes wastes money on expensive renovations. Usually, simple cosmetic changes are best when taking a property to market.
NO SALE NO FEE
A Vendors Advocate does not charge for the initial consultation. If the sales process is to be embarked on, the VA helps the seller choose the right agent and none of this will cost money. If it is decided at any time that selling is not the right option and the campaign is ceased, there is still no fee. Along with the selling agent, the VA is only paid once the property is sold and settled on.
Michael Murray runs Byron Property Search and has been the local buyer’s agent for twenty years. He has had many hundreds of satisfied clients over that time. He started offering VA service about five years ago and is excited to be delivering this service to even more satisfied clients.
For more information go to the BPS website.