Michael Yardney turns the table on Kevin Turner and interviews him about his experiences as an agent, how to cut through what agents say and more importantly how to know that the agent you are appointing to sell your property is the best agent.
Michael: Hi. Michael Yardney here, and I’ve turned the tables. I’ve grabbed the microphone, and I want to interview Kevin Turner, because Kevin is an experienced licensed estate agent – not everyone knows that. Kevin won multiple awards as a winning agent, he speaks to estate agents all day for his own Real Estate Uncut podcast, and he speaks to investors and home owners every day for his Real Estate Talk podcast.
Kevin, welcome to the interview on the other side of the table.
Kevin: This will be interesting.
Michael: Kevin, I’ve sprung this upon you because I’m seeing lots of people who are selling up – they’re selling their homes – to move up, to move down, to downgrade, to upgrade, and also investors who over time, need to sell their homes. So I wanted to pick your brain on how does a seller get the best price for their home, Kevin?
Kevin: This is such an interesting question, Michael, because not many people when it comes time to sell actually focus on the agent. They think more about the price they want to get and how they’re going to market their property, but at the end of the day, the most important decision that a seller will have to make when they come to list their property is the agent that they will list it with. Because, believe me, there’s a huge difference with the expertise of some agents.
Great agents make the industry look really easy, Michael, so much so that anyone thinks “Oh, all I have to do is get myself a nice flash car, put some buyers in it, take them round, show them some properties, they’ll like it and buy it, and I’ll make a lot of money.”
Michael: Even more than that, Kevin, today there are Purplebricks and a lot of these do-it-yourself sites where people think “I know a bit about real estate. I’ve lived in a home. I’ve been to a couple of open for inspections. I know how to handle it.”
Kevin, I think we have to be open and explain that you’ve spent a lot of time researching this for your shows, for yourself, but also for a book that you’ve called How to Find the Best Agent. So I want to pick your brain on some of the homework that you’ve done about how to find the best agent.
I have to say, I do agree that of all the factors involved, an agent is potentially going to make you tens of thousands of dollars.
Kevin: They will.
Michael: How do you choose them, Kevin?
Kevin: Just before I answer that question, Michael, which is the key question of this, can I just address why I wrote that book?
Michael: Yes, please.
Kevin: You mentioned there Purplebricks, you mentioned Open Agent, and all of those organizations who offer to put you in touch with the best agent. That’s the reason I wrote the book, because I was deeply concerned about the fact that that’s misrepresenting what they actually do. They actually will only put you in touch with agents who are going to pay them a commission to get the listing.
This is a real beef that I have about the way these third-party sites work. They basically sit there and take a commission from putting you in touch with not the best agent but just an agent who will pay them a commission. I just wanted to get that on the table. That’s the reason I wrote that book.
Michael: I think that’s a good point, Kevin, because most people don’t realize that. Without mentioning too many sites – there’s Rate My Agent and all of those – the average consumer believes “I’ll go on there,” just like they go on Trip Advisor or Google Reviews to choose their restaurant or choose their holiday. It’s not the same with agents, is it?
Kevin: No, it’s definitely not. You talk about those others – Trip Advisor and people like that – they actually have affiliate arrangements with all of those people, and they do actually come up and they compare deals for you as opposed to anyone who offers to put you in touch with an agent. As I said, they’ll only put you in touch with a select number of agents who will actually pay them a commission.
It gets down to that key point: a lot of people don’t understand the sorts of questions they need to ask, and that’s why right at the back of the book, Michael, I’ve listed down 21 of the key questions you need to ask an agent and the sorts of answers you should expect back.
This is actually going to help you find the best agent, because there are things that the best agents will be able to tell you about the marketplace that you’ll find very interesting, but the more uneducated or the newer agents won’t have that same depth of knowledge.
Believe me, they need to have that knowledge for when they’re talking to a buyer – even being able to test their negotiation skills, Michael. There are a couple of things in the book that will tell you exactly how you can do that and some of the things or the little tests you can put out to find out if the agent is really the full issue, if they’re going to be able to get the job done for you.
Michael: Kevin, we can get that book at RealEstateTalk.com.au. Just go to the home page and click on the link there, and you’ll be able to get that book.
But I’d like to dig into a couple of the questions. How much difference does one agent make to another though, Kevin? Does it really matter?
Kevin: It matters an enormous amount, Michael. It matters because of their database, the number of people they’re working with, but very much so their negotiation skills. Basically what you’re doing is you’re putting someone between you the owner of the property and the buyer – someone who wants to buy it.
Now, every seller wants more than their place is worth – that’s a fact – and every buyer wants to pay less than what it’s worth. So you have that compressed air, and that compressed air sometimes can be $60,000 or $70,000 worth.
If you’re dealing with an agent who doesn’t know how to negotiate to get you the highest price – because they are working for you at the end of the day; you’re going to pay their commission – if they don’t have the skills to do that then you’re leaving thousands and thousands of dollars on the table.
In some cases, Michael… And I know you’re a buyer’s agent and I’m talking to you. You’re an expert negotiator. So, too, is your team. You’re there to get the best deal for the buyer. I want to know that I have an agent who’s equal to your skills and can match you and make sure that I’m going to get every dollar out of you that I possibly can.
This is where this book will really help you identify those things. And yes, Michael, a good agent will make a huge difference.
Michael: Kevin, I agree with you. It was a loaded question, because there are certain agents who, as buyer’s agents, we love working with because they seem to give the properties away a little bit, and there are others we know are going to push the hardest and work the hardest and negotiate the hardest.
As an unassuming consumer who’s selling their home, I’m emotional because I’m either excited or disappointed – there are usually a lot of emotions going on around selling your home – and then I invite a couple of people into my home and they all wear nice suits and they all drive nice cars and they all give me a fancy presentation pack, how do I decide which one to go with?
Kevin: That’s a great question, Michael. The thing that I make a point of in the book is that you have to test their negotiation skills, because that is what you’re employing. You’re employing a paid professional negotiator.
I give you a good example in the book of how you can do that, the sorts of questions you can ask them, and about someone coming in and offering you a price much lower than your asking price. I give you the scenario there and I give you the answer in the book.
Once again, without trying to tout it, Michael, I think all the answers are in the book, actually.
Michael: Yes, they are. And it’s really so cheap that it’s not worth even wondering if you should or shouldn’t get it. If you’re in the position where you’re considering selling a property, whether it’s your home or an investment property, it’s on the home page of Real Estate Talk.
Kevin, is it the agency – the logo, the banners, the brand – that’s important, or is it the specific person?
Kevin: Once again, this is a great topic. Look, it is the person; it’s not the brand. But having said that, can I just make the point that when you engage with an agent, you’re actually giving them an agreement to sell your property but that’s actually with the agency not the agent?
Michael: Most people don’t realize that. You’re signing with the agency, the company.
Kevin: Yes, you are. So it’s important to know that you’re dealing with a good company – that’s the first point – but if you are unhappy with your agent and you make a mistake, don’t think that you can just sack that agent; you have to actually sack the agency because they are the ones you have the agreement with. I think that is an absolute key point, Michael.
Michael: One more hint for our listeners before I let you go and revert the microphone to you taking charge, Kevin. What other hint would you say if you’re looking for the best agent?
Kevin: There’s a part in the book, Michael – I think it’s around pages 9 and 10 – where I give you a table with 13 key things that you need to look for when you’re looking to find the best agent. In other words, you’re going to compare them.
I always advocate that you have to get three agents in, the key questions you ask those agents, you keep a record, and make no commitment until you’ve seen all three of them because you’re going to make a comparison.
On page 9, I actually give you the 13 key comparisons, and right at the front, I talk about the top discount rate performance. This is probably a great demonstration, Michael, of why you need to get a good negotiator on your side, because in table 2, I give you about three or four comparisons about if you employ a dud agent, how much money it’s going to cost you.
This graph alone allows you to do an ABC-type rating, and you’ll very quickly be able to determine who are the best agents because you’ll know the key questions to ask them, Michael, coming straight out of the book.
Michael: Thanks, Kevin.
In summary, the cheapest agent is the one who gets you the highest price, not the one who gives you the lowest commission.
Kevin: Yes. And you’ll see that on pages 10 and 11. I demonstrate that quite graphically for you in the book.
Michael, you mentioned there that it’s quite cheap. It’s the cost of a couple of cups of coffee. I’ve tried to make it as cheap as I possibly could, basically really just covering the cost of production, to get this out to you.
In a bookstore you would pay probably $30 or $40 to get a book like this with this amount of information in it, because I’ve given you all of my experiences over about 25 to 30 years of having worked with agents and having worked as an agent. It’s all in the book here. And as I said, for the price of a couple of cups of coffee – just under $10 – it can be yours.
Michael: How to Find the Best Agent by Kevin Turner. Go to the home page at RealEstateTalk.com.au and click on the link. It’s as easy as that.
Thank you for your time, and thank you for letting me hijack your microphone, Kevin.
Kevin: It was a pleasure. And it’s good to have the tables turned for a while.
Michael: It’s a funny feeling, isn’t it?
Kevin: It is a funny feeling but I’ve enjoyed it. Thanks, Michael.
Michael: My pleasure, Kevin.