Having been involved in a few real estate transactions in my time here in Panama, I have seen a bucket full of owners attempting to assist the showing intermediary with the presentation and sale of their property. This is a mistake 90% of the time. I'll explain further.
In Canada, we are blessed to have a well organized MLS and a licensing system that, for the most part, ensures that someone qualified to sell your home will be showing the home. For that reason, I think Canadians are "trained" to step aside and allow the agent to show the home. There is usually a lock box left on the door handle or railing, and the realtor simply lets himself in and does his thing. That very thing that has made him or her successful and allowed him or her to stand the test of time in the business. You liked this system, so why do you fight it in Panama?
In this blog, I am going to list a few of the top issues that realtors face here in Panama when trying to effectively sell your home. Things that seriously hinder the sale of your property and cost you serious time and money.
Make your home easy to show!!
The worst thing you can do is make your home difficult to show. Top real estate agents will show many properties per day in Panama, and spend most evenings scheduling the next day of viewings. If your unit is rented, or the agent has to stumble around making 5 phone calls and cocrdinating 3 people just to get a key, or someone to let them into the property, that agent is likely to show something else. A top producing agent simply does not have the time to deal with a hard to show property.
Another reason your hard to show property isn't selling is that often, agents are thinking on the go. In other words, a client sometimes shares a piece of information that changes the direction in which the agent is headed. The agent often has to change his or her gameplan mid-show. So, that means that if your property wasn't on the list of showings at 9:00 am, it could suddenly be at 2:00 pm, and if the agent can't get in, you lose. There is plenty of real estate for sale here in Panama, with owners that list exclusively and hand a key to the agent so that he or she can show the property quickly and easlily, and on the fly if necessary. If you haven't sold your home, the first thing you should ask yourself is how easy do you make it for your agent(s) to show.
Panama is the land of immigration, foreign executives, vacation home buyers, etc. It just so happens that many people fly here, grab a hotel, and head out for anywhere from 3 days to a week to find and decide on a home. You must make your home available to show. Every missed showing is a missed oportunity, and to sell, you have to show. Please do not assume that if the porperty is unavailable to show one day, that the client will reschedule. They almost never do, and again, there is another condo up two floors or house in the next neighborhood that shows easily and will sell.
My friends, please stay out of the way.
If there is just one thing that a seller should take away from this blog, it is that your realtor is a professional. He or she should know what they are doing by now. They are making a career of marketing and selling real estate and they are successful at it. Showing your home is where we shine.
Taking pride in your home is very important, but just as important is to get out of the way and allow your agent to do what you are paying him or her to do. Hovering over your agent and his clients pointing out each upgrade, and sharing each memory does NOT sell your home. People want to envision themselves in each property they look at. They want to take mental ownership and imagine how their life fits the home. Having the owners there painting a picture of someone else's life in the home will unsell your home. In fact, it's even a good idea to remove personal family photos. Statistics support this. Homes sell better when the owners are not present.
Overpricing won't fool the buyers.
There are few possessions more personal than your home. And for that matter, few investments made as large. You've spent countless hours entertaining, renovating, perfecting and just loving your home. But now it comes time to price it acurately. Maybe your entire retirement budget relies on the money you can get for the property.
It doesn't matter how much you paid for your property, or how much you love it. Your agent is in the trenches each and every day helping people buy and sell property. He or she will tell you how to competitively price your home so that it sells quickly and for the most money possible. Overpricing is VERY common in Panama and the number one reason a home does not sell. Your overpriced home will sit on the market for months, and years, and gain a reputation as unsellable, or undesirable with buyers and agents. It may end up selling for far less than your agent's original suggestion.
The internet makes this even more of a problem than it once was, as 99% of buyers will scour the internet before and during their purchase to ensure that they are paying the right price. Information is so readily available to your buyers, so you must be competitive to sell.
Don't be so sensitive!
Just as in life, in negotiations you must be sure not to take things too personally. Don't outright decline a low ball offer. Again, buyers want to ensure they are getting the best possible price, so if they start a little low, all you need do is correct them with a counter. This is a business transaction, negotiation will often net you a positive result if you just keep emotion out of it.
So these are a few of the bigger issues that hinder the sale of a property in Panama. Some others small things include clutter, needed repairs not being made, listing with multiple agents or FSBO, and of course bad photos on the MLS.
On a side note, don't forget what you are paying your agent for. Showing the home is only 10% of it! A successful agent must build and maintain one or more websites, keep an office with staff, maintain a presence in the community, build and grow a network of clients and other agents, pay to advertise no only your property, but their brand. The brand brings clients. You want a realtor with a large network, and attracting clients through marketing and networking costs a lot of money. It's a business with expenses, so don't ever feel like you're not getting your money's worth.