Real estate agents have been trained to hold things back, to keep something up their sleeves.
Take property addresses for example. In years gone by it was customary to leave them off a property ad. That forced people to call the agent to find out the address. It was only after the buyer revealed their name and number that the agent gave out the address. It was a classic case of information imbalance.
Some agents still play this game. Here’s an example and in case the property is sold I’ve included a screenshot below.
I don’t know the agent and mean nothing against them. I simply chose the property from a search on a local suburb and picked the first property without an address. As it turns out the agent chose not to advertise the price as well.
It seems clear that the agent wants buyers to call them for the price and address. But buyers route around agents who hide information. It’s easy to do on the net and I wanted to prove it. So, with a few basic web skills I was able to find the address – 1305/2 Oldfield Street, Burswood.
That did’t take long at all.
But the price continued to elude me. It’s the one piece of the puzzle I’d need to find out from the agent. Alternately I could simply compare it with the other properties for sale in the area or order the most recent sales data with a few easy clicks and decide on the price myself.
The agent and the seller now pay the cost of my information search. Why?
For one I’m taken away from their site. The moment I leave their site there’s a good chance I won’t return. That’s what happens on the net.
More importantly, if I was a serious buyer, I’d go into any conversation with the agent carrying a suspicion that the agent was going to play their cards close to their chest and tell me only that which they wanted to tell me. Perhaps the agent isn’t that way at all, perhaps they are open and honest but, as a buyer, I can only work with the information at hand. And the information presented is missing key pieces designed to put the agent in control.
Aside from the price and address, some stunning pictures and well written text, what else could the agent supply on the property profile? What are the things that would make me want to stay on their site for longer and have me believe they knew their stuff.
Here are a few ideas.
- Links to other properties for sale, even if they were listed by competitors *waits for the cries of heretic*
- A map
- A list of the most recent sales in the area, the ones from the agent’s market appraisal
- The properties WalkScore rating
- Tweets mentioning the suburb (as I write this tweets mentioning Burswood show there’s a flood fundraising concert coming up this week)
- Links to local business and restaurants
- A stamp duty calculator
- A mortgage repayments calculator
Would it take some extra time to add these to an agent’s site? Sure. Would they increase the level of trust buyers and sellers would have for the agent? You bet. And the more trust a buyer has the more they are likely to want to do business.