PROPERTY agents and negotiators should never broker a deal without a method, says IM Global Property Consultants Sdn Bhd founder, managing director and CEO Ishak Ismail.
“Even in property valuation, we have to apply valuation methods to arrive at property values. For example, to arrive at a market value of a property we have to apply methods — the comparison method, the investment method, the cost method and the residual method. So as negotiators, we must have methods.”
Further, he reminds property agents to always prepare a strategy and to take control of the process. Not in an autocratic sense, he clarifies, but in order for agents to be able to give suggestions and to arrive at positive results for all parties.
During a bargain of the terms, Ishak tells property agents not to force their clients to agree to all the terms. He assures agents that having both parties agree to two out of 10 items is already making progress.
“Agents can always re-propose on a different day, and if the agent re-proposes another eight and two are agreed by the parties, the agent has now successfully gotten the parties to agree to four terms,” he says.
Ishak offers seven simple steps of negotiation for agents and negotiators alike to follow.
Establish a good relationship
“An agent must first establish a good relationship and rapport as quickly as possible with the client. Personally, if I have yet to feel a good rapport building or that I cannot get along with the client, I would not proceed to discuss any terms further.”
Seek first to understand and then to be understood
“An agent has to be proactive. Begin with a goal in mind and establish what the client is seeking to achieve. If there is anything the agent or negotiator does not understand or is unclear of, he must ask and clarify, and never assume.”
“Two important things an agent or negotiator must clarify are whether a listing is a quality listing. Is there a caveat on the land, for example? Secondly, clarify the eligibility of the buyer, such as whether the buyer has enough money to buy the property and if the buyer is eligible for loans.”
“Should an interested buyer not have money to buy a property, an agent should share with and educate him on the process of buying a property because even if the agent cannot close the deal with the buyer that day, it may take place another day.”
Classify the property
“An agent must understand and classify what the client is looking for, such as property type and location of property. Always be positive and friendly, and take control throughout the process.”
“Explain and explore options, give proposals and provide room for the other party to ask questions, and bargain better terms. It is important for agents to actively listen, be aware of attitude and vocabulary such as not falling asleep during the negotiation process, and not insult your client’s feelings.”
Emphasise the benefits of the property
“Agents should emphasise the benefits of the property they are proposing, and always confirm what the other party has agreed to. Agents can ask their clients to make an offer subject to conditions such as loan approval, and if the loan is not approved, the agent will refund the deposit fully. Agents can make conditional offers that are reasonable.”
Find a win-win situation for both parties
“Agents should offer positive results to both the buyer and seller, and do their level best to ensure the transaction runs smoothly and successfully, such as by calling bankers and submitting the documents for the buyer as quickly as possible.”
Dealing with difficult situations
“Difficult situations may arise due to the price, the payment of earnest deposit, payment terms, and sometimes it could be the property valuation or the loan margin.”
“Agents should have reliable contacts such as bankers and contractors to fix a property and improve its condition, which also enables the property to sell at a higher price.”
Closing the deal
“It is important for agents to record all the terms that have been agreed upon, and to bring the letter of offer at all times. The co-agency letter must first be signed, in respect to their co-agency partners and the client.”
“Ask the parties to sign the letter of offer and collect the earnest deposit to be paid to the firm. Do not keep and do not wait to pay the deposit because if a client discovers that the money has not been paid to the company, the agent might lose the client’s trust and the deal.”
“So ensure that all particulars and documents of the parties are in order to be sent to a lawyer to prepare the sale and purchase agreement, and to submit for loan approvals quickly. It is good to update both parties on the progress of the sale.”
Lastly, Ishak reminds agents to strictly adhere to the Malaysian estate agency standards.