Should I work with buyers or sellers?


New agents often begin by working with buyers. Unlike working with sellers, the learning curve is not as steep, it is relatively easy to get new leads and they are easier to convert. There is also less admin work you need to do than when you are working with sellers. Tasks like creating property descriptions, taking photos and creating marketing materials, uploading the listing to MLS and promoting it once it is posted are not there.

Some agents go through the buyer period and then move to mostly working with sellers. Some never do. I will give you a few thoughts on what to expect when working with Buyers or Sellers.

  1. Real estate business is seasonal. It mostly has to do with the specifics of our climate, here in Ontario, as well as real estate market fluctuations during vacation and holiday seasons. In the Greater Toronto Area, it generally slows down over the summer and the winter months. This simple observation must affect what you do and how much you do it. In the slow months of the year, the prices for homes are lower than in the peak of the market and this is a good time to buy. Your advise to clients and your focus should change along with the market.
  2. Buyers often want to look at dozens of properties before committing. Think about how many hours you spend on working with a buyer. From the first introduction to the time they purchase. With all the showings, the prep, conversations with agents, offers, negotiation, more offers and more negotiations. It is between 30 to 40 hours. May be more. Contrast that with working with sellers. You go to an appointment, get the listing signed on the spot, if you are good, and you are off to the races. Now you market the listing, which at the same time attracts new clients. Your total time investment is 15 to 20 hours from the time you take the listing to the time you sell. Seems like by working with sellers you can double your productivity.
  3. Generally the buyer’s agents gets paid full commission, whereas with listings, the commission is often negotiated down. Agent’s receptivity to seller’s attempts to discount agent’s commission varies, you can be sure though, that discounting happens often.
  4. Buying leads from the internet usually brings buyers. From there, it is a self-perpetuating mechanism, the more you work with your buyers leads, the more buyers you attract. Working with buyers is time consuming and will leave you with no time or skill development opportunities to look for and service sellers.
  5. If you have listings, you control the inventory and buyer agents are working for you. MLS is the platform attracting most of the people looking for property. Once you put your inventory up for sale, all the agents with your board affiliation are able to see the listing. Once they have a qualified buyer looking for a property of the type you have in your inventory, they are working for you.
  6. When working with a buyer, you look at many many potential options for them. Each option your buyer client considers demands a major time investment on your part. When working with a seller and unless they are also buying, your seller client does not ask you to drive them around to show property. You are only dealing with marketing their home. These marketing efforts have a side benefit of attracting new leads. You are also responsible for negotiating offers when they come in. All this activity requires a fraction of time and effort you would be spending on a buyer client while the per transaction payout is the same.
  7. Once the listing is taken, you categorize it and promote the category instead of an individual listing.This saves effort and time. It also systematizes the process, while attracting new leads at the same time. Once this system starts working, marketing twenty listings at one time is as easy as marketing one. You can’t do this with buyers - property still need to be physically shown to every one.
  8. Getting listing leads and setting listing appointments can be done for free. Just prospect. We are on the major pain point for many agents. Yes, and as a salesperson, this is something you would need to do every day for the rest of your carer. Get used to this idea and start doing it daily. You will develop skill, prospecting stamina and the discipline. You will also be making enviable income. Thing is, when you prospect you end up with seller leads. Other methods bringing you leads usually deliver buyers.
  9. Listings will get you more listings. It is often said, that every listing can give you 3 to 4 additional transactions. They could come in a form of leads from your prospecting around Just Listed/Just Sold properties, sign calls, unrepresented buyers or your sellers wanting to buy.
  10. Taking the road of becoming a listing agent, forces you to develop a hard to acquire skill set. There is long term benefit in this commitment. Few agents enjoy or stay consistent with the daily torture of learning how to handle tough prospecting calls, but if you persist and master this skill though daily practice, you will be rewarded with recognition from your peers and at least a six figure income. After some time you are no longer afraid to call. The tedium of the process is still there though.
  11. Taking listings leads to building a team. Starting with an assistant and a buyer agent. First of all you will have your sellers that also want to buy to pass to the showing agent. Depending on your demographic more than 50% of your listing clients will want to buy through you as well. The more listing transactions you churn over the course of the year, the more business your showing agent will have. And yes, an administrative assistant will allow you to focus what you must - acquire and service listing clients.
  12. Listing property promotes confidence. Prospecting calluses you. The fear of being judged by others diminishes to a point where you no longer perspire profusely when your first call of the day picks up and you need to ask them for an appointment. You are calm and composed and you ask them for the appointment. And you get it. Confidence improves performance.
  13. Listing property comes with a steep learning curve and many cases prompts agents to get a coach. There are so many complex facets in listing and servicing listed property, that remembering where your must focus is difficult. This is where a good coach can help you stay on track, focused and motivated.

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