Don’t be intimidated

Private Property South Africa
Cathy Nolan

Sellers shouldn’t rest on their laurels just because a sales agreement has been signed. Any agent will tell you that the hard work really only starts once the property has been sold and it is imperative for the seller to keep abreast of what is happening. It appears that there are many who are somewhat intimated by their estate agents. This is particularly apparent among those who know little or nothing about the selling process. They simply don’t know what to expect and rely on the agent to protect their interests.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Agents are human and mistakes are made, so learning to ask the right questions at the right time could save the seller time and money. For example, it is very important for sellers to note the date by which the purchaser’s bond needs to be approved. The computer has simplified an awful lot of the selling process and it is a fairly easy exercise for all involved in the property transaction to keep tabs on what is happening.

Many problems occur fairly early in the process when the buyer is trying to secure a bond. Banks have become far stickier about granting finance for an asset in which they cannot find value. If there are problems with the valuation and the bank cannot find value, the seller needs to be informed immediately and needs to find out why the bond has been declined. Don’t take the agent’s - or the buyer’s - word for it. Phone the bank and find out the reason the bank has decided not to finance the property. This, of course, has the added benefit of helping sellers price their properties more realistically as generally speaking, it is extremely unlikely that a different bank is going to arrive at a drastically different valuation figure.

Efficient agents keep sellers in the picture and anyone who has sold a property but doesn’t hear from the agent concerned on a fairly regular basis, should start asking questions. Sellers should never sit back and assume that because there has been no feedback, all is well. While there may be a perfectly legitimate reason as to why an agent is keeping silent, there can also be problems which the agent is trying to resolve behind the scenes. The seller needs to be aware of any such problems and should be kept up to date at all times.

Sellers should never allow their agents to bully them or use intimidation tactics. They have every right to know the status of the sale throughout the entire process and should never be made to feel that their concerns may be deemed ‘silly’ by those supposedly in the know. A seller employs an agent for two reasons - his selling skills and his knowledge of the real estate market.

An agent who is above board and who is comfortable with the selling process will be more than happy to answer any concerns or queries the seller has. Those who either don’t respond or who attempt to dodge the questions asked, should be viewed with caution.

Buying property is a major decision for most. Keeping your wits about you and ensuring that your agent is doing his job properly will not only make life a lot more pleasant but will, hopefully, help speed up the entire transaction.

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