The power of preparation

Property expert, author and trainer, Ed Hatch, recently visited various locations across South Africa to address real estate professionals working for RE/MAX of Southern Africa to share some of his vast knowledge regarding effective negotiation.

Since 1977, Ed Hatch has been a licensed real estate professional and has worked within the industry in various capacities. He is the senior instructor for the Council of Residential Specialists and the president of Ed Hatch Seminars, and have spoken to over 100 audiences each year since 1990. He has been a featured speaker at the last 17 consecutive National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conventions, ten Certified Residential Specialist CRS Sell-a-brations, and has spoken internationally throughout the US, Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

“As Ed pointed out, purchasing a property is a decision that could affect a buyer's financial position and well-being for the rest of their and their families lives, and as such we as professionals working within the real estate industry must have the necessary skills to guide buyers and sellers for that matter, through the process and help them to make the best possible decision. Drawing from the experience of trainers such as Ed Hatch will better equip estate agents working under the RE/MAX brand to handle the responsibility of selling a homeowner’s most valuable asset,” says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

Reaffirming the training from his visit during 2011, Hatch once again focused on the negotiation skills of an agent and how they should be prepared for the inevitable. It is vital for agents to be able to successfully mediate between the seller and buyer and essentially understand the needs and goals of both parties.  An essential element of negotiation is to communicate to buyers and sellers in a way that they clearly understand and can relate to, as often disagreements are just misunderstandings.

According to Hatch, research and preparation is the key to any successful negotiation and business encounter. Although houses have a more updated contemporary look to them, the challenges surrounding real estate transactions are very much the same as they were back in 1977 and the years that followed. Knowing the various aspects and complications that could arise before they happen, will give the real estate professional the necessary time to prepare the correct response and plan in able to move forward. While technology has provided agents with invaluable tools to streamline their business operations, personal interaction and face-to-face communication is as important as it was 30 years ago. This is confirmed by surveys that suggest that approximately 50% of sellers found their real estate agents through referrals, as opposed to the 10% that found them via the internet.

Hatch says that a recurring challenge for agents today, as it was in the past, is the fact that many sellers want higher prices for their home than what the markets dictates. He notes that marketing a property at a value that is over-inflated can be detrimental to the sale and often results in the home sitting on the market longer than necessary and selling for far less than what was originally asked for. Statistics suggest that a home that takes longer than 24 weeks to sell, will sell for around 10% below fair market value. This is why it is imperative for agents to be prepared and have a comparative market analysis to justify the price they suggest.

“Due to the mammoth nature of property transactions and impact they can have on the parties involved, it is important for real estate agents to be on top of their game. Having a trainer of Ed’s calibre share his knowledge with RE/MAX of Southern Africa can only further enhance the service we provide as professionals in the industry. The art of negotiation as well as effective communication with one's clients will always be invaluable skills for any professional,” concludes Goslett.

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