Selling Real Estate – How Lawyers Do It Better #1

Posted on February 13, 2010 by | 6 Comments

Peter Mericka B.A., LL.Bby Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd

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In this series of postings we examine the role of the lawyer in real estate sales, and explain why the lawyer is returning to displace the real estate agent as the primary adviser and consultant to consumers who are contemplating the sale or purchase of real estate.A lawyer can guide you through the real estate maze

Why Lawyers Are The Best At Marketing Real Estate

Real estate is NOT sold, it’s BOUGHT

Selling a refrigerator or the latest style of mobile phone requires salesmanship – the ability to convince the purchaser that they should buy what the salesperson is trying to sell. But the sale of real estate is something entirely different. Real estate is not sold, real estate is bought!

When a purchaser has done their research, determined where they want to live, what type of property they need, and how much they are prepared to spend, they begin the search for what they want. When the purchaser has found something that satisfies their search criteria, they make enquiries about it. It is at this point that the purchaser makes contact with the person in charge of the sale.

There is no need for any salesperson to work on “convincing” a purchaser that a property has the physical features they want, as the purchaser has already made this determination. The salesperson per se is irrelevant.

Marketing in the context of real estate sales takes place AFTER the purchaser has decided that the property satisfies their search criteria, and BEFORE the purchaser has determined the QUALITIES of the property and of the sale deal itself.

Marketing is more than just advertising

Advertising is a single component of the marketing process. Erecting a sign at a property, or posting an advertisement on a real estate website, are basic examples of advertising. Advertising is the presentation of information in such a way that it attracts attention.

Marketing, however, more complex, particularly when it comes to the sale of residential real estate. In this context, marketing is a blending of advertising with a range of legal and transactional imperatives, the purpose of which is to create a mutually advantageous outcome. Proper real estate marketing involves the building of trust, mutual respect between the parties, and a safe environment within which the purchaser feels comfortable and keen to do business.

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6 Comments

  • http:// says:

    I went to an open house and I had to put up with the hard sell from the real estate agent. He was at me and at me and at me. He was so pushy and so much in sales pitch mode and keen to impress me. Oh no, he was not trying to sell the house, he was trying find out if I was there because I was selling my house and he wanted me to get him to do it for me. I was disgusted that all he was doing was trying to get me to be his client. I refuse to give my details at inspections now and most agents do not care and if they push I just give them a fake one because I am sick of them trying to get business instead of doing the job of selling.

  • Hi Hector,

    It is most important that consumers understand that real estate agents do not sell real estate – no-one ever purchased a property because a real estate agent “sold” them on it. Real estate is selected by purchasers, not sold by real estate agents.

    The only “selling” a real estate does (as in the verb “sell”) is the selling of his or her services as a real estate agent to potential vendors.

  • http:// says:

    Mmm… not sure What the issue is here. Have bought and sold in various States and found that the costs were higher where lawyers were involved. Which ever way we look at it, the cost of the transactions should be highly competitive and any cartel type arrangement government sanctioned or not be eliminated. State type taxes are a political issue and another thing all together.

    Good sales people allow the buyer to want to buy. However if the transaction type per customer is rather infrequent, people can get away with being ‘pushy’ and ‘using power talk’ to get a sale. You normally do not expect to see that customer again so you can rip them off.. Also applies to power dressing etc, puts many clients on edge.

    General observation is that the internet systems being used by some real-estate groups are too slow and awkward in their searching capacity. Ie list of 30 displayed at 5 units a time.

  • Hi John,

    Are you saying that when you have used a lawyer to sell your property you paid as much as the real estate agent charged in commission? I can assure you that when a property is sold in Victoria, and there are no real estate agents involved, the vendor saves many many thousands of dollars.

    Anyway, back to the issue at hand, which is the marketing skills of the lawyer. You’re quite right with your suggestion that the correct way to handle a real estate sale is to facilitate the building of the deal, rather than controlling the parties to the deal.

    My observations as a lawyer representing vendors and purchasers is that the real estate agent sees the parties as a means to an end. The “job” of the real estate agent is to win the listing (by bringing salesmanship to bear on the vendor) and then to bring about a sale before the Exclusive Listing Authority expires – by any means possible. The catch-cry of the real estate agent, as he or she pushes the parties into a commission-releasing contract is, “If there are any problems the lawyers will sort it out.”

    When a lawyer is marketing the property, the marketing is done so as to ensure that the transaction is conducted in accordance with the law, and with the vendor enjoying the full benefits of the fiduciary relationship he or she has with the lawyer.

    The purchaser benefits from the fact that the lawyer, in properly representing the vendor, must ensure that the business relationship between the parties will be such that the purchaser does not feel vulnerable or disadvantaged, and the parties will not be at loggerheads after the contract has been sealed.

    Thus, while the short-sighted real estate agent simply wants to get the deal over the line, take the commission, and leave it to the lawyers to fight it out later, the lawyer must take a far-sighted view and work to keep the vendor’s client (i.e. the purchaser) interested and satisfied up to and beyond the sale and the settlement.

  • I prefer to avoid the closing costs, myself. If you know what you’re doing, then you don’t really have to worry about finding a lawyer.

  • Brett says:

    As a real estate broker myself I see some truth to this article and unfortunately I agree with most of it. Real Estate is bought and not sold and an agent is really only there to guide the potential buyer and assist him. A person cannot be sold on real estate as they know what they want and they know what they can afford.

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