Are you considering becoming a Property Advocate and want to know what consumers want in an advocate??
Do you want to understand if you tick the boxes when it comes to what clients are looking for in a property advocate?
Here are some pointers re for you to consider if you are thinking of transitioning into this side of the industry and/or starting your own property advocacy business.
Being your own boss in the Property Advocacy sector of the industry offers some fantastic rewards. Helping clients to secure a fantastic outcome is always a thrill, however it can give you the freedom to work flexibility, earn more money, have more independence and a better work life balance.
It’s not for everyone however as you have to learn to be an Advocate while starting a business from scratch, and there are elements of this role to carefully consider before you jump the fence.
Here are some of the qualities that consumers are looking for when engaging a Property Advocate
1 What’s your WHY for being a Property Advocate?
Consumers often look for a values alignment when engaging a Property Advocate.
What is it that is driving you to become an Advocate? It can make an enormous difference when you can share your story with your clients. For me it was about advising and protecting consumers from making poor buying decisions, given I had made some costly errors by taking advice from those who didn’t represent my interests as a buyer (ie the selling agent).
I am passionate about buyers being equally represented in the buying process, so much so that I started a petition in 2015 to stop underquoting in Victoria, and it worked! That passion has flowed into the Vendor Advocacy side, as many of my buying clients wanted help with the selling side. I have hundreds of selling agents that I have dealt with over the years, so my desire to protect my clients interests when selling was a natural progression, hence my being a Property Advocate, not just a Buyers Advocate.
Why are you passionate about becoming a Property Advocate? It’s valuable for you to be able to articulate that to your clients. Many clients don’t want to work with people who are only about the money, so share with them your why so they have strong insight as to why they might want to work with you – it’s about a common values alignment.
2 What proven experience and qualifications do you have?
It’s important to consumers that you are professional and have proven knowledge, insight and expertise. You may even have a niche that’s your area of expertise – commercial, residential – investment or owner occupiers or rural. Your expertise is often built up over time in the industry or closely related industries such as property valuing.
Property is an asset class and as such, any extra qualifications you have in addition to being a Licensed Estate Agent can only be of benefit to you and your clients.
Being formally qualified as a Licensed Valuer, having a Property Diploma or Degree, being an Accredited Property Investment Advisor or a Qualified Property Investment Advisor, will enable you to provide more qualified and holistic advocacy and guidance to clients. Relying solely on the numbers of years you have worked in the industry might limit your success. Those years in themselves hold value but there is something to be said for having additional professional property qualifications.
Some of these qualifications will also teach you how to work consultativley with your clients. After all, you will often have to develop investment or home buying strategy briefs for your clients when buying and these skills come in handy.
3 Membership of professional industry associations
It’s important be become a member of local industry associations because clients want peace of mind. They want to know that their Advocate is keeping up to date with changes to Legislation via completing ongoing professional training.
Becoming a member of your local REI State Association will keep you up with the legal side of real estate and also becoming a member of REBAA (Real Estate Buyers Agents Association) will provide you with guidelines for the professional conduct of real estate buyer’s advocates as well as access to training and other significant member benefits. REBAA also ensures that its members are insured for their profession and hold the relevant Licenses for each State.
4 Industry profile and reputation
This is meaningful to clients. Those established independent Advocates who have longevity in the business like myself, have developed their profile and reputation often over many years and through means such as publishing a book or developing a media profile. If you don’t have that, then consider working under someone’s brand who does, so that you can leverage off that.
5 Value delivery and price
To succeed in property advocacy, you need experience with a track records of success stories and the outcomes you have generated for your clients over the years.
You need a clearly articulated and transparent process as to how you work with clients and to be able to explain your service offering clearly and demonstrate value, otherwise why would a client engage you if they think they can do it themselves ?
There are plenty of people who convince themselves that it’s easy to buy property, and it is, however your roles as an advocate is to demonstrate the many benefits you will provide to them if they engage your services. What’s your USP?
Of course there are clients who price shop and want to pay as little as possible when it comes to engaging a Property Advocate. They may ask for a discount, however you have a strong chance of securing a client against cheaper competition when you can show value for your services. I have had many instances where my fee has been somewhat higher than an equally experienced competitor, yet the client has engaged my services for the reasons highlighted above and they have been thrilled with their outcome.
- Know your why
- Articulate your proven experience and additional qualifications
- Reference industry associations that you’re a member of.
- Highlight your profile and reputation
- Illustrate the value you deliver to your prospects
Miriam Sandkuhler, CEO Property Mavens and Property Mavens Franchising, Industry Thought Leader