The US National Association of Realtors (NAR) compiled a document 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,” says Lee Siebert, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Helderberg.
“But,” she says, “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.”Siebert explains that 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.
Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa says 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 that not only streamline the process, but ensure optimal results,” says Goslett. Siebert adds that 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 also 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,” she says.
So if you are serious about buying or selling a property, Siebert offers the following tips:
It is critical to find the right agent: Due to the intricate nature of real estate transactions, it is essential that a buyer or seller is able to get on and relate to their agent. A transaction might take several months to finalise, and as such it is important that the client can see eye to eye with their agent and trust them impeccably in order to achieve a satisfactory experience from the process.
Look for agents that go the extra mile: Buying and selling real estate is a complex undertaking, lined with many potentially complicated and unforeseen hitches. Apart from an agent, buyers or sellers need to work with a whole host of other professionals, such as movers, bond originators, inspectors, appraisers, contractors, and so on. A professional agent can go a long way in making the process easier by not only ensuring that their job is done as efficiently and professionally as possible, but also by predicting what needs to be done beforehand and making recommendations and referrals of trusted professionals to their clients.
Marketing should be the primary focus for sellers: Sellers ought to pay particular attention to the tools agents use to market their listed properties. When choosing an agent, be sure to find out about their approach to show houses and online marketing in particular. It is a well known fact that many potential buyers search for real estate online long before they engage a with an agent or attend a show house.
Understanding the full cost of buying a property should be paramount for buyers: Serious buyers need to establish what their budget is and look at houses in the appropriate price range. An agent can really help buyers by assisting them in working out all the extra and unforeseen costs involved in purchasing a property.“In the same way that 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,” Siebert concludes.