There was a moment there where it seemed like the real estate market had all but evaporated – the agents’ windows were bare, and nary a ‘for sale’ sign was to be seen on the streets. When you did see the odd advertisement, the asking price was never mentioned, with ‘contact agent’ being the default means of getting any kind of authoritative information.
I can only assume this was because the going rates were either so obscenely high that publicising them would alienate prospective buyers, or so low that the agents were hoping things would change if they just kept the situation quiet. If that was actually the plan, all signs point to it having worked, because the market seems to be slowly reappearing on the scene. Once more, there are houses being advertised in windows, newspapers and real estate apps, many of them with a starting price listed.
How does this affect me? Well, not all that much. I’m just a curious bystander, watching this story unfold. Truth be told, if I was in the market for a house, I’d be looking into the possibility of hiring a property agent for buyers. Melbourne has people who can represent you in your search for the property to buy, and help you stand your ground as real estate agents do their smoke and mirrors thing.
It’s not that I think real estate agents are out to deliberately manipulate buyers; it’s just that they’re primarily in the service of vendors. Of course they’re going to work their magic to make things look like the best possible deal, and take ‘creative’ liberties in the process, telling you just about anything to make you feel like you’re making the right decision while surreptitiously nudging up the price.
I do respect what they do, mind you. I’m not a natural salesperson, myself, so hats off to anyone who can do what they do on a daily basis.