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First Offer Syndrome

Selling in a reasonable time frame is every genuine vendor's aim, second only to selling for the highest possible price.

"Yet most agents say that the hardest sale to make is the one that comes along in the first days of marketing," Tom Miszczak of RE/MAX Southern Stars said. "Inexperienced vendors are often unaware of the mechanics of the marketing process. They think that if Purchaser One is prepared to pay $x in the first week of marketing, the Purchaser Two will pay $x+ next week. They say things like if the first ad brings in this sort of response, what will the second one bring? - as if the price increases incrementally with time."

Tom Miszczak said that vendors should be aware of the processes that are set in motion when a property first comes on the market.

"A property attracts the greatest amount of attention when it is first presented," Tom Miszczak said. "All the purchasers that have been looking for their ideal home for weeks and months converge eagerly on a new listing." According to Tom Miszczak these are the qualified purchasers - the ones who have done their homework and know exactly what their money will buy.

"New listings attract numbers and numbers mean competition" Tom Miszczak said. "And it's competition that creates the climate that generates the highest offers. This is the time when a purchaser who falls in love with a property will be afraid that someone else will snap it up before they do. The longer a property is on the market at a given price, the more the sense of competition fizzles out and the more likely subsequent purchasers are to feel they have plenty of time to make up their minds."

Tom Miszczak says the feeling that time is on their side gives purchasers the psychological edge. "Basically they feel they can afford to offer less with more chance of getting a bargain." Tom Miszczak said. "It's not hard for them to work out that a property is getting stale."

According to Tom Miszczak a property starts to go stale once all the "qualified" purchasers have inspected it. Those who come on the scene subsequently are new to the marketplace and have yet to work out what their money will buy. Naturally new purchasers are unready and unwilling to commit themselves until they have done their homework. "In the final analysis, the vendor's two main aims are not separable," Tom Miszczak said. "They are two sides of the same coin. Selling for the highest price usually means getting serious about that early offer. Vendors who fall victim to First Offer Syndrome often regret their early refusal to negotiate when they discover further down the track they end up settling for less."

Agents in Touch

Prospective purchasers sometimes say their privacy is being invaded when agents ask for their name and telephone number.

"They are concerned that the agent will ring and pressure them to buy a house they don't want," Tom Miszczak said. "And there are agents who operate in this way. But the more professional agents have up-to-date training and marketing strategies and they don't rely on outmoded foot-in-the-door techniques."

Purchasers who buy under pressure usually get cold feet before the contract is exchanged. "It's a negative result for all parties concerned," Tom said. "The agent would of been better to acknowledge that the purchaser didn't yet have enough market knowledge to be sure of their decision. What many purchasers need is more information."

Agents who record purchaser details can provide service to both vendors and purchasers alike. "From the vendor's point of view it is important that agents follow up after inspections when purchasers have had time to make comparisons," Tom said. "Vendors can use this feedback to make informed decisions about the validity of marketing strategies."

According to Tom Miszczak the main advantage to purchasers is that they are retained on file so that they can be amongst the first to be contacted when new properties come on the market. "After all, many sought after properties are sold before the property is posted onto the internet," Tom said. Letting agents keep in touch is also an easy way of staying up to date with what is selling for what price.

"If you know an agent has a local reputation for professionalism and results, you can only gain by leaving your details - and you can always refuse if you know that an agent has a reputation for being pushy," Tom Miszczak concluded.

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