Agents, Lend us Your Ears

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

A survey conducted on behalf of Columinate Online research has highlighted the areas in which agents need to brush up on their service levels and improve the perception that buyers, sellers and those renting property tend to have about them.

The need for agents to be honest and upfront about the general state of the property appears to be one of the biggest bugbears to plague the industry, with 30 percent of the respondents commenting that this is their biggest gripe. The other area that received a significant negative response - 29 percent - was the need for agents to be more attentive to people’s needs and less focused on the sale.

Most of us have been there…some agents simply don’t seem to listen and the more you tell them that you don’t like klinker brick homes for example, the more facebrick homes they show you. The listening skill, while not an easy one to perfect, is the one talent that estate agents have to master very quickly if they want to be successful.

Interestingly, given the amount of training and the educational requirements needed to practise as an estate agent, nine percent of those polled indicated that agents needed to be more knowledgeable about property. While the report doesn’t indicate if this means the property industry in general or merely agents who are not familiar with the stock on their own books, either way, it is another area to which agents need to pay attention.

Seven percent of those interviewed felt that agents needed to be more professional. While low, this figure is still high enough to cause concern, considering the lengths to which the industry is going in order to improve its overall image. Sadly, although it would seem that a great many agents are dealing with the public in a professional manner, there are still those out there who are letting the side down.

Although the high commission charged by agents often appears to be one of the public’s biggest grievances, remarkably, only seven percent of those polled indicated that they viewed this as a problem. A further seven percent of those interviewed stated that overall, agents needed to communicate better. This is particularly important, given the emotion and money involved in the sale of property. Communicating effectively has become vital, as property is taking far longer to be registered than before and it has been noted that agents have a far tougher time keeping the buyer and seller happy during this somewhat drawn out process.

On the bright side, when asked which characteristics they most associated with estate agents, 63 percent said ‘assurance’, while 61 percent mentioned ‘empathy’, indicating that most found agents attentive and caring.

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