It’s no secret that real estate agents are one of Australia’s least trusted professions.

The question though is that is that poor reputation deserved, or is it simply an ingrained prejudice? And what does it mean when buyers and sellers don’t trust an agent?

Prior to real estate I was a HR and management consultant where I was used to being treated with respect, sometimes even reverence, by clients.

My long standing joke (with tongue firmly in cheek) is that changing careers from consulting to real estate was like going from messiah to pariah!

Despite the fact that I was the same person providing service & advice in the same way, I found myself being treated completely differently by clients based simply upon my profession.

Like any profession you get the good with the bad, but I have to say that the best real estate agents in Australia are bloody good and their level of professionalism and competence is equivalent to the best people I’ve worked with & met in the global corporate world.

Now if you’re a buyer, I want to re-assure you that won’t find yourself magically buying a property simply because you looked at me replied to my greeting or a question that I asked at a home open – my juju isn’t that powerful (I wish!).

On a serious note though, this level of mistrust and almost fear of agents that can exist can really work against you if you’re genuinely wanting to buy or sell a home.

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If you’re a seller who doesn’t trust their agent enough to share important details about your situation or property or think that you’re agent is taking advantage of you or might not have your back then you need to find another agent.  Whilst we don’t need to know intimate personal details, we do need to know of any pending financial issues, time pressures or anything else that is specifically relevant to the sale so that we can recommend an appropriate strategy for you.

If you’re unsure about an Agent read their online reviews from something like Rate My Agent to see what other buyers and sellers have said about them.  And remember that the agent that’s promised you the highest price might not be the one with your best interests at heart.

The biggest consequences of mistrust though are often for buyers. Buyers are understandably nervous about overpaying for a property but this can lead to game playing and missing out on their dream home.

Agents aren’t psychic – if you don’t tell us you’re interested in a property we won’t know and if you’re not honest about what you might be prepared to pay for a home we’ll likely end up selling it to someone else that is.  We’re deal makers, not psycho’s there to screw you. If we can negotiate an outcome where you get the buy the home for a price that you’re prepared to pay, brilliant. If we can’t, we can’t, we both move on!

Ultimately it’s up to you how you decide to interact with your agent. But remember that we can’t resolve or deal with something we don’t know about, and we can’t help unless you let us.

Natalie Hoye is the Founder and Licensee of Red Fox Property Group – a boutique agency doing things differently in the suburbs surrounding Beaufort Street. We call it ‘real estate alchemy’: a genuine blend of science and intuition, marketing and magic, head and heart. The Red Fox Way. And we’d love to chat with you about your local real estate needs. Call us now on 0405 812 273.