The Tough Truth

Posted on July 1, 2008 by | 6 Comments

Neil Jenman - Don't Sign Anything
by Neil Jenman
Consumer Advocate

Right now, in a lot of areas of Australia, there are a lot of unhappy property sellers. They can’t sell. In some areas, some properties have been on the market for six months, even longer. To sellers, an on-going unsold property can be mental agony. It’s like torture. They all have a breaking point, the day when they say, “Enough, I can’t take it anymore, just sell it.”

Ironically, once they make that final decision to sell – no matter what the price – the sellers’ moods usually lift. It’s gone. They can get on with their lives.

In an instant, these sellers go from unhappy to happy. There is nothing like a sale to improve the mood of even the most stubborn seller who owns the most hard-to-sell property.

Sadly, though, most sellers who have taken a long time to sell have usually sold for a much lower price than they should have accepted.

It need not have happened this way.

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  • Hi there, I’d like to comment on your full and quite well written article Mr Jenman.
    I read some time ago that an agent who asks a client for advertising monies to assist with their job is ripping off their client (not a quote, just from memory).
    If this position was a fact, is that still your position where properties need to be advertised in order to find the right buyer.
    A database of buyers sitting around waiting for a bargain may have been satisfactory to sell a property in 2003 during the biggest property boom this state at least (Qld) has ever seen, but does it work in this tightening market?
    (And I still question whether selling to a buyer ‘on the database’ with no advertising was the ‘best’ price for the seller, despite the seller being happy with the price achieved.)
    I agree with you 100% on the rest of your article and have used words similar to yours in some recent training I have undertaken with real estate professionals (and the ones I am training I do put in that category, despite many others out there NOT being in that realm). Maybe Neil Jenman and my views are closer to each other’s than I used to suspect. I read ‘Don’t Sign Anything’ by the way and do agree with much of what’s in there.
    I’ll write an article to this effect one day soon, but I’ll leave my comment for discussion for now.

    Thanks for considering,

    Glenn Twiddle
    Real Estate Training Brisbane

  • One addition. When I say advertising, I don’t mean ads that the agents close just for the sake of advertising their name. I mean the sort of advertising that works in the particular agents marketplace. eg if the internet is king in their particular demographic, then eblasts from, targeted emails, premium listings and property of the week, etc. If signs are the way to get buyers in that marketplace, a big photo board. If the local paper is where the buyers go, then a pictorial OFI ad in that publication.
    I agree that the agent that shoves a Courier Mail (SMH or Age) super expensive ad down the throats of a seller just to get ‘profile’ then that is definitely a no-no, but in my opinion, ads and Open Homes, at the moment, and for the last 7 years WORK. In the USA right now, I’ve heard opens aren’t working so well, and at some time in the future they may not here either.

    Anyway, just wanted to make that disctinction. Would love to hear your comments.

    Glenn Twiddle
    Real Estate Training Brisbane

  • Toby Beavers says:

    I have been reading some of the comments on this site, you guys think you have problems, try the real estate market here in the US.

    I’m in Virginia where we have seen a 65% drop in sales over the last year, the problem is that not only are houses been reposessed, but the banks don’t have the money to lend or are unwilling to lend for new purchases.

    I wish we had your problem of a slow market instead at least you are projecting an upturn in the real estate market within the next year or so, we don’t even know if we hit the bottom yet.

    Toby Beavers

  • http:// says:

    Quite frankly who cares about what Jenman says or does. If you want the truth in real estate do YOUR OWN HOMEWORK! Use a service like it’s a no brainer and stop looking for the scapegoat!

  • Hi Steve,

    I’ve had a look at No-brainer is right; that website is just a parasitic snake oil dispensary!

  • http:// says:

    Reading this article makes me cringe as i think back to our naivety when attempting to sell a house about a year ago. In retrospect we allowed ourselves to be ‘bought’ by a high valuation from an agent. After three months of no real interest & a couple of low ball offers, we got 2 other agents through to appraise the property. Ironically they both gave us the exact same figure, $55K less than our then current agent had originally listed it for.
    We went with the one with the best marketing strategy who actually eventually sold the property after a few weeks for the exact figure she quoted us when she walked through the door.
    (Needless to say, we give her rave reviews).
    Having said that though, we have recently purchased an investment property minus the sales agent, using only conveyancing solicitors on both sides & have found it to be a very pleasant experience.
    Access to information is always very important, as is being able to stay on top of what is happening with a sale. We were very careful to select a conveyancing solicitor, not just a ‘conveyancer’ having read articles on this & related websites.
    We probably would never have realised these types of transactions are as commonly done, or possibly even preferential, if it were not for excellent websites giving sound opinions on what can be very stressful & drawn-out processes.
    That’s just my opinion, but I don’t know if I’d ever go back to an agent again, as this recent experience of cutting out the middle person, and the ease with which you can do some of your own online research makes it financially prudent to do what you can do yourself & leave the legal side to qualified solicitors.

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