Just as a Buyer’s Agent was an unknown service until only a decade ago, a Vendors Advocate is gradually gaining awareness and acceptance. Many buyer’s agents are now offering vendor’s advocacy as another part of their service. In both situations, they can research, give market estimates, and real estate knowledge to a seller, in much the same way as it is provided to a buyer.
WHO IS 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 prior to speaking to a listing agent. Sometimes a VA may say selling may not be the right thing 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 desires.
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. After all, how often do you attempt to service your own car, diagnose your own 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 fairly straight forward. Like a selling agent, a VA can 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 that will best suit both you and the property. Sometimes a good personality fit is as important as experience and market share. Any prospective seller with a long-term association with a particular selling agent should stay with, and value, that existing relationship.
The VA and the listing agent, once selected, work together throughout the marketing campaign. The VA takes a smaller split the final commission – usually 25 to 30%. Therefore, engaging a VA does not actually cost you any extra money – you get two agents for the price of one.
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 concentrating on finding the buyers while the VA can be the eyes and ears of the vendor who has the benefit of getting a professional second opinion.
THE SALES CAMPAIGN
Once you have chosen the right listing agent, the VA steps back and lets them do their job. However, the VA is able to monitor the sales process using online data and listing reports to ensure the marketing campaign is working. But when negotiations begin, the agent 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 are always variables that can occur. Most people are only in the property buying or selling process a couple of times in their lifetime, at best. It is unreasonable to expect them to be fully understanding of all the rules and regulations, strategies, and best practices, marketing, and negotiation techniques. Especially since processes and procedures are continually changing and improving.
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 property to the market.
NO SALE NO FEE
A Vendors Advocate does not charge for the initial consultation. If a sales process is agreed on, then 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 will still be 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 many hundreds of satisfied clients over that time. He started offering his services as a vendor’s advocate about five years ago and is more than satisfied with delivering this service and creating even more satisfied clients. Go to the BPS website for more info.