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the talk and express themselves in property terms, language or
words that meet industry standards,” Gunning says.
He adds that the minimum education and requirement to
become a selling agent may be basic, but what separates an
average one from a highly successful one often comes down to
the agent’s inherent skills.
Being a selling agent isn’t as simple as standing in front of
a house in a smart suit with a clipboard greeting or showing
people through. There’s a lot more to it, such as personality and
It’s also about the ability to match personality with the seller
demographic. About understanding the market, having strong
interpersonal skills, being very organised and being prepared to
work hard; at odd hours and over weekends.
“It’s a numbers game so you need to understand how the
numbers work,” Gunning adds.
“The biggest property doesn’t always mean the bigger the
fee you’ll earn that year. The property may be $1.5 million,
however your fee is still up for negotiation. Often this can mean
a lower percentage commission is negotiated compared with
percentages negotiated on lower priced properties.
“Often the very successful agents aren’t operating in the high
end, rather in the middle-priced housing where a higher volume
of properties is turned over. In Sydney, this is often around Castle
Hill, Baulkham Hills and Liverpool.”
They’re also adding to and updating their contact databases,
which is the lifeblood of their income.
The toughest part for many selling agents is dealing with
buyers and sellers seven days a week, Gunning says.
“Many selling agents burn out from the conflict between
the two parties and the lack of personal time off. You can get
hammered if you don’t have confidence to handle the situation.”
Most people generally respect Sundays as a day of rest for
agents, Gunning notes. “While many agents are given a day
in reprieve on Monday or Tuesday for working Saturdays, this
doesn’t mean they turn the phone off because a missed call
could mean a missed commission.”
Gunning says to be one of the top earning selling agents you
need to consider the job as your ‘additional’ child. This means
long days, sometimes finishing at 7pm or 8pm, so your clients
can be given a private viewing outside of their work hours.
“Unless you see it as part of your life, you’re not going to be
highly successful. As an agent you’re on call constantly, a bit like
a doctor often is,” he says.
“Only very successful agents can balance this well. Instead of
lengthy holidays taken in blocks, they take short breaks every
four or five months, but if they’re in the middle of an auction
campaign then time off is impossible.”
Holidays are often restricted to the Christmas period, through
to January and early February, Gunning adds.
“The Christmas holiday period is often when most sellers don’t
want potential buyers tramping through their house.”
¿ CAN BEING AN AGENT HELP YOU GET AHEAD?
Your first consideration is probably whether the income as a
selling agent could help pick up your pace in building your
property portfolio, or at least make servicing the loans easier.
Your second consideration is also about whether the gained
skills of a selling agent and daily exposure to property are also
likely to help. Let’s take a closer look.
1 As a selling agent your negotiation and people-reading skills
improve every day, because you’re the middle person between
sellers and buyers on a daily basis.
The advantage: When negotiating to buy your investment
property you’ll have the inside scoop on how it all works,
and you’ll know how hard and far you can go on price
2 Through other agent colleagues, you’re alerted to properties
coming up for sale well before they’re marketed. You also know
when new infrastructure, gentrification or developments are
proposed for an area often before anyone else does.
The advantage: This means you have more time to
undertake due diligence and negotiation, and can potentially
buy a property with good future gain potential in a less
3 Your day-to-day knowledge of the property market and its
cycles is not only better than most property investors, but you
can also tap into a wealth of knowledge from your colleagues;
industry experts who’ve worked through many more property
cycles than yourself and often across several more property
markets than what you know intimately.
The advantage: This helps you know when to buy, when to
sell, when to renovate for profit, or when to release your triplex
development to the market for the best price or rent.
4 You can see firsthand what adds value at transaction time.
The advantage: When you’re renovating or building new, you
know where to spend the money to add value and gain the
5 You’ll understand more about buyer demand – where people
increasingly want to live and what dwelling type they want to
The advantage: You’ll know what will rent and sell fastest.
¿ HOW TO BECOME A SELLING AGENT
As the national real estate licensing system proposed for
implementation in December has now been canned, it’s
licensing business as usual across each state.
Despite the false start of the nationalised system, three
consistencies already appear to be evident across the nation
when it comes to selling agent requirements. These include: the
minimum requirement of a year 10 high school certificate, the
age of 18 to practice, and the recommendation by real estate
institutes that new selling agents start out as assistants to
selling agents, also commonly known as ‘agent representatives’,
before they become a selling agent.
æOften the very successful agents aren’t operating in the
high end, rather in the middle-priced housing where a
higher volume of properties is turned over.Æ Malcolm Gunning
BEHIND THE SCENES // SELLING AGENT
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