For Bayleys Real Estate Agent

Being Prepared Pays Off.

Former New York mayor Rudi Giuliana extols the virtues of “relentless preparation”.

I get that, and in my world of real estate (while I do value “location”) I have been known to offer the following advice to clients – “preparation, preparation, preparation”.

Rudi Giuliana, who went on to be voted Time Magazine Person of the Year following the Sept 11 attacks, was talking big picture, serious stuff.

So how does “relentless preparation” fit into our peaceful world and property transactions half a world-away?

Preparedness is integral to how I function. If my clients want the big picture, sale success story then I tell them they need to get serious about how they prepare for a sale.

You don’t go to a job interview with greasy hair, holes in your clothes, and unprepared. I apply this analogy to taking your property (your key asset) to the market.

I used to work in risk management and I apply theories learned there to this job. I run things like a military camp. I will go in looking for problems. I will see the features and benefits and then ask what is wrong with the property? I will look for things that would-be buyers may think they need to deal with and think they need to factor into their price.

So, if I think a house needs a new roof, I will take $50,000, for example, off the asking price. This is because I will do the research and come up with an accurate quote (three of them) for re-roofing before we go to market. This means the purchaser doesn’t need to catastrophise the problem, which can adversely affect a sale price. I do quite a lot of such leg work first. It is a lot of work, and a lot of people don’t do it, but it pays off in the end and I have happy vendors.

Part of skill is all this is getting vendors on board as the advice you are giving them may not be advice they want to hear. They may not want to hear they should paint the bathroom or replace the carpet. Maybe “I don’t want to do this” could be what they are saying. But, I have to remain very focused on the outcome – on getting the best outcome for them. Yes it is money, but it will assist in getting a sale, and hopefully a premium price. I have to tell it like it is, otherwise I can have owners sitting with a house that doesn’t sell and they are asking “what’s the matter?” I work collegially with my vendors to circumvent that happening.

Having clients asking “why doesn’t this sell” isn’t a big part of my world; thanks in part to this “relentless preparedness” approach. Last year I sold everything within three weeks and had no deal crash. Very impressive. This year I have sold everything bar one (a high-end, expensive home), also within three weeks. This is very impressive in the real estate world. I sharpened my skills at the time of the 2008 financial crisis. I had to think outside the square to stay afloat in the real estate world. I learnt by doing the hard-yards and this is when I fine-tuned my “preparedness” approach.

These days I have excellent assistance in preparing homes for sale. Jacqui Cook, of Helping Hands, is my trouble-shooting project manager and she is great at getting people on board and making the action happen. She has a team of sub-contractors, and a gardener to call on. Vendors feel well supported because of this team approach and it most certainly helps with achieving a high standard of presentation. Having Jacqui on board allows me to go about my business, confident that all the behind-the-scenes requirements are being expertly taken care of.

I work collegially with my vendors. There is robust discussion around comparative market analysis, around advertising and photography, and around presentation standards. That coupled, with preparedness, preparedness, preparedness is a winning formula!