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Meet and greet – what to say to real estate agents

By Emma Smith

Article written by Cate Bakos from
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Forging friendly ties with real estate agents will stand you in good stead throughout your house hunting journey. Cate Bakos, a Melbourne-based licensed real estate agent and buyers’ advocate, offers her guidance on how to go about it.

Agents spend a large number of hours per week greeting buyers at open for inspections. Their days can be long and challenging, particularly if buyers are unfriendly, so making sure you stand out for all the right reasons is important.

The first and most obvious tip is to be friendly (proffering free homemade cookies: optional). If you like the property, it’s essential you let the agent know that you’re interested. People are often cagey at inspections but keeping your cards too close to your chest is a big mistake. Even when a property is scheduled for auction, an agent will present all offers to the vendors. If an acceptable offer is produced and the agent is unaware that you have interest, the property will be sold without you even knowing. So, be nice and stay in the loop.

Clever agents often get home-buyers talking at open inspections. Chat but don’t spill. Definitely tell them what you’re looking for and what your key criteria is. But don’t tell them anything about your budget. If they pursue this topic – now’s the time to be (politely) vague.
If the property isn’t suitable for you, tell them why so that they have a better sense of what you’re looking for. If you’re pleasant and give useful feedback, they’ll likely let you know about other suitable properties, including off-markets.

Try to give the agent confidence about your position to buy. If they know you have your finances in order, a realistic set of criteria and a willingness to sign a contract for the right property, you’ll go right to the top of their “Ready Buyer” list.

Stay positive

Definitely don’t be rude or dismissive when the agent greets you. This might sound obvious, but after an early start (weekend lie-ins often become a thing of the past when you’re looking for your dream home) and traipsing around several houses all morning can turn even the most saintly of us into monosyllabic grumps. But don’t take it out on the agent – ever.

They’ll most likely ask you for contact details so let them know if you’d rather not be called, or give them a heads-up about particular times you’d prefer not hear to from them.

At least walk through the property before you start asking them about price and vendor’s plans. Agents won’t take you seriously if you pummel them for information before you’ve even decided if the property suits your needs.

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