Find the right agent for you

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Buying a home can be nerve wrecking, particularly for first timer buyers. The trick to feeling comfortable is to find an agent with a personality that is the right fit for you.

When I was younger I was particularly nervous of a specific real estate agency. No, they had not attempted to fleece me of my hard earned money - in fact I hadn't had any dealings with them whatsoever. Simply put they, like the ladies who used to sell upmarket beauty products at the entrances to department stores, intimidated me. Unsurprisingly, when I got to know them on a professional level, I discovered that they are really nice people and actually not intimidating at all. The scary part is that I'm sure I’m not alone in this and that many others are also intimidated by salespeople.

All personality types sell real estate and unfortunately there are those who will do anything to close a sale. I generally don't like bossy, overbearing people and as such will walk away from any situation where I feel that I'm being pressured into buying something I don't really want. However, there are people who fall victim to these salespeople and end up agreeing to purchase something that they aren’t 100% sure they really want – or need.

To be fair, it's not always the agent’s fault that some people feel intimidated by them. Buyers, particularly those who are entering the market for the first time, are often nervous because they are scared of looking foolish by asking the wrong questions. On this point, it's vital to know that there is no such thing as the ‘wrong’ question, so ask away.

So just how do you go about finding an agent with a personality that is the right fit for you?

Quiz your friends and family about the agents they have dealt with in the area and choose one that sounds suitable, judging by these recommendations.

Interview prospective agents. This should be done before viewing any property. While it's important to know how much experience the agent has and how many homes he or she has sold, it's also vital to figure out if you are going to be comfortable with the person concerned. Is the agent approachable, and do they make you feel relaxed enough to ask questions about a property or a transaction in general?

As the old adage goes, ‘there is a lid for every pot’ and as such different agents are going to appeal to different personality types. Some, like me, don't enjoy abrasive, overbearing people, while others are more than happy to deal with them. Others may not work well with someone who adopts a softer, more personal approach to selling homes. Either way, it doesn't really matter which personality type you prefer your estate agent to have, as long as you feel at ease in their company.

Walk away if an agent makes you feel uncomfortable or you feel like you are being pressurised into buying something you don't really want. It is however important to note that there is a strong chance that the agent who first showed you the property you eventually purchase will be entitled to the commission. It is therefore vital to inform your new agent if you have previously viewed the property with a different agent.

Many investors chose to only work with a specific agent because they like the way they get things done. Buyers should take note of this and remember the agents who have in the past helped them find the right home, in the quickest time, without any undue pressure.

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