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.

 

Cheers!

 

  

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So everyone is telling you not to list exclusively in Panama!!  Why?  They probably don't even know, but I am going to attempt to explain it here, and sell you on the fact that with the right agent it is far more beneficial to list exclusively in Panama in 2014!

 

Yes folks, it's 2014!  Not 1985.  There's a little thing here in Panama called the internet.  Statistically, almost 100% of real estate buyers use it.  It allows almost any agent you choose, to list your property in almost every place every other agent is going to list your property.  It's a great tool, that may not have been available to near as many Panamanians even 5 years ago.  Now, almost every agent you list with is going to go ahead and list in 3 places for sure.  Those places are encuentra24.com, compreoalquile.com, and quite often, their own site, if they have one.

 

That's great right?  But why advertise your property 7 times with 7 different agents on the same websites?  It definitley confuses the heck out of the buyer.  You may remember when you bought your property.  Just how confusing and difficult is was, with listings duplicated all over the place, old listings and sold listings never taken down, and agents not even returning emails and phone calls.  

 

Now, the reason the property is only going to be advertised on these two sites, and a homepage, is that you have listed the property with 2, 3, 7 or whatever number of agents.  Whether the consumer in general wants to admit it or not, a real estate marketing professional provides a very valuable service.  In order to provide this service, an agent has to accumulate many listings, so that he can afford to buy clothes, gasoline, food, pay for advertising your listings, carting around clients etc.  Yes!  It's a business, and for any business to remain in business, it must be smart business.  And you want a smart agent to sell your property fast and effectively.

 

It is BAD business for any company to take a listing and invest any significant time or energy marketing that property when it has no guarantee of being paid on that investment.  As a consumer, and a person that one day will have to retire on what you have spent a lifetime saving, you would never invest your hard earned dollars, or valuable time on an investment that only has a one in 7, or even a 50% chance of paying off.  Come on!  Anyone can see that these 7 agents just cannot take the risk.  All they can afford to do is throw the property on a couple of free, or almost free classifieds sites, and wait for the phone to ring.

 

Now that they have your listing up on their home page for content, they are going to go ahead and concetrate on selling their exclusive listings.  Every client that they get, is going to be shown those exclusives first, and the non-exclusives quickly become an after thought, and only get shown when a client specifically requests a viewing.   I think we can all agree, that a lot of people don't know what they want until they see it, and that with no viewings, you probably won't sell. 

 

List with one competent agent who will spend time and resourses working to sell your property because he knows for certain it is a good business investment to sell that property as quickly as possible.  That agent becomes accountable to you, and knows that as soon as he sells that property, he can pay the month's bills.

 

A competent agent will have a long list of email addresses for agents that he works with for marketing purposes, will utilize all of the social networking tools made available, will maximize SEO to make it easier for potential clients to find him, and will be operating legally within the system.  You see, there really is no need to cause yourself a bunch of headache by listing with more than one company.  Your agent is easy to find, and is spending time and money to sell.  If not, you found the wrong agent, and you can fire him.

 

Another issue in Panama is that everyone is telling you that there is no MLS system like there was back home.  Wrong!  www.mlsacobir.com is a selling tool available only to those of you who choose to list exclusively with an ACOBIR licensed real estate company in Panama.  All buyers can use this tool of course.  This not only allows us as real estate professionals to network with trusted professionals, but gives the seller and buyer a certainty that the transaction will be conducted by professionals, and will limit the number of "Panama-isms" that may occur to hinder the deal from moving smoothly.

 

The bottom line is that if your property has been sitting on the market for too long, you have either overpriced, or have it listed non-exclusively, and no one is accountable.  Who can you blame if you've got 5 agents that cannot sell your property?  How do you know whether it is overpriced, or if all 5 agents are just concentrating on their exclusives and leaving your property to flail in the breeze?

 

The Remax advantage.  A franchised company will usually give the seller an edge as well.  Remax.com gets something like 20,000 hits a day from all over the world.  That's serious!

 

If you're serious about selling, list for the right price, and the best agent, and you WILL sell.

 

Cheers!!

 

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