Recently, the US National Association of Realtors (NAR) presented a document to Congress detailing all the tasks that real estate professionals must complete to close a single deal. The list contains 184 tasks ranging from the pre-listing activities to the conclusion of the sale and relates exclusively to the activities relevant to the sale of one property. “The list of activities compiled by NAR provides an insightful overview of the complexity involved in today’s property transactions and is certainly a detailed justification of the sales commission earned by estate agents, which has often been called into question by those who believe that sellers can save money through DIY property sales,” comments Goslett. He adds while sellers can indeed sell a property unassisted, it would require a considerable investment of time and effort to complete these 184 steps. “And even if all the steps are successfully completed, the results may still not match those that can be achieved by a professional estate agent,” he says. He attributes this to the fact that beyond the actual activities performed by an estate agent – although already ample justification for any remuneration received – the real value of professional estate agents lies in their expertise. “As with any other profession, the real value in using a professional estate agent lies more in what they know, than in what they do. What an estate agent actually offers is the knowledge, industry and market insight, expertise and experience that ensure a property is sold at the best possible price in the shortest possible time, and that the interests of all the stakeholders in the transaction are protected,” explains Goslett. He adds that a professional estate agent brings to the transaction an extensive knowledge of the laws and regulations that apply to property transactions in South Africa, the rights of buyers and sellers, and the bylaws and regulations that affect property in an area, which serves to protect both sellers and buyers. “Expertise in dealing with over-optimistic sellers, negotiating with buyers and closing sales, is invaluable. Professional estate agents have established procedures, systems and business relationships in place that not only streamlines the process, but ensures optimal results,” says Goslett. “In addition, professional estate agents have the crucial industry and market insights to ensure a property is marketed effectively through all available channels, that the seller receives excellent advice regarding ways to improve the curb appeal of a property, that the pricing strategy is based on comparative market information and a finger-on-the-pulse ‘feel’ for the prevailing sentiment among buyers, and that current and future developments in the area are considered. They bring the essential experience in drawing up valid contracts, dealing with valuers, bond originators, conveyancers and officials, and taking care of the numerous mundane details of surrounding show days, multiple listings, newspaper advertising and screening buyers.” In many professions, the role of ‘brokers’ or ‘agents’ are questioned as consumers with easy access to more information have become more educated and empowered to conduct their own affairs. “However, paradoxically, as access to information and consumer knowledge increases, the need for expert advice and professional assistance becomes more, not less, crucial,” says Goslett. “In the same way a consumer would approach an expert to handle legal issues in an increasingly intricate legal landscape, to address health issues as medical technology advances and to fix electronics as the equipment becomes more sophisticated, so consumers should rely on reputable, professional and experienced estate agents to ensure that their rights are protected in an increasingly complex property industry and that the results of a property transaction are optimised to the benefit of all the parties involved in a dynamic property market impacted by numerous factors, trends and developments,” he concludes.
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