Making money in a sluggish property market

Coaching experts give estate agents tips on how to raise their game to thrive in tougher conditions.

There are ways to maximise profits in a tough real estate economy, said Bill Gibson, sales specialist.

Speaking to estate agents at the national conference of the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa (IEASA) in Johannesburg recently, Gibson said times like these can provide the best opportunities to gain market share.

Finding sellers, although they are in abundance, remains important.

"This is the time that estate agents need to be actively involved in listing properties if they want them sold," he said. Increase your canvassing by at least between 20% and 40%, he told agents.

Gibson suggested agents hold show houses with properties where other agents have the mandate. This is, of course, with permission from seller and agent and follow-up on all potential buyers who come through to the show house.

Investment seminars - and there are a lot of them - provide a platform to mingle and circulate, he said.

"Referrals are also a good source of potential buyers and sellers. This starts from one's circle of friends and business associates," said Gibson.

He said in a tough economy there are still buyers, albeit fewer than in boom times, and agents have to work extra hard to find these buyers.

Meanwhile Graham Le Sar, business and coaching specialist, said the market right now is as it should be. Estate agents on the other hand need to be more innovative in the way they respond to the market if they are to successfully sell properties.

He said real estate is a like contact sport, estate agents have to constantly engage potential buyers, sellers and homeowners to keep the momentum going.

"The biggest mistake estate agents make is doing nothing when the property market is down," said Le Sar.

He said estate agents need to find ways of preparing themselves for a change in the market.

His advice is that estate agents work less, but more thoroughly, ensuring every detail of any transaction is full covered and explicitly explained to clients.

"Homeowners will always own houses and these are first potential buyers when they sell," he said.

Graham Gavin author of Real Estate Power said successful estate agents generate new ideas and fresh leads daily.

He said it is possible to thrive in a "down market" when your attitude is right - plus a few extra measures thrown in to make an estate agent stand out from the crowd.

Among other things, he said agents are not paid for the time they invest in selling houses but how they sell them.

If you sell successfully to one client, you will get more referrals as the service was outstanding, he said.

"To thrive in a down market, think smart and swiftly implement those strategies in every transaction you make," said Gavin.

Article by: Denise Mhlanga -