Finding that Diamond in the Rough

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Choosing the right agent when you buy a property is almost as important as buying the property itself. Good agents make the deal and a bad one can not only break it, but can cause a great deal of heartache along the way.

Finding an agent who you feel comfortable with is only part of the equation. Knowledge is key and using an agent who understands the market, knows what is currently happening in the area in which you wish to purchase and who truly offers a solid service will make your life just that little bit easier.

There are a number of rules that should be followed when using the services of an estate agent.

Listen to your friends and family. Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising tool around. Successful agents protect their reputations fiercely and focus on offering good service. These individuals put their money where their mouths are and will do their very best for the buyer and seller every time. With this in mind, when moving to a new area, ask around. Find out who sells what, and where. Good agents tend to specialise in a particular area – they know what the average selling prices are, know and understand their sellers and perhaps most importantly of all, know where the bargains are.

When interviewing an agent, buyers should ask how many properties the agent has sold in the past year. Good agents have solid sales records – regardless of the state of the housing market and, because of this, their sales figures usually stand head and shoulders above those of their less successful counterparts.

A good agent will tell you how much a property is really worth. Sellers are prone to ignoring an agent’s advice when it comes to pricing. An agent who is serious about selling won’t try and pull the wool over a buyer’s eyes. If they do not believe a property is worth the money, they will tell you. Likewise, when a good agent tells a buyer that the property offers good value for money, they will back this up with statistics that indicate what has been sold in the area and at what price.

They will not waste a buyer’s time. Successful agents are busy people. They have also mastered the art of listening to what the buyer wants and will not waste time showing them numerous properties they know are not going to fit the bill.

Selling property is not and has never been a part time job. Successful people work hard and estate agents are no different. The reason so many agents left the industry after the property boom is that many simply weren’t up to the task of making a living selling property when the going got tough. Perhaps they should never have joined in the first place. There are still agents out there who are selling many millions of Rands worth of property every year – unsuccessful agents may tell you that this is because they work in the right areas where property sells at a premium. Rubbish – they sell a lot of property because they are dedicated property professionals who not only understand buyers and seller’s needs, but who know how to go about capitalising on this very important aspect of selling.

Estate agents tend not to enjoy the best reputation. Many are regarded as liars and cheats and indeed there are those out there that should never have been allowed to enter this crucial sector. The adage that one bad apple spoils the barrel is particularly true in real estate, but is it fair to tar the entire industry with the same brush? Absolutely not. There are outstanding agents around – buyers may just have to do a little digging to find that diamond in the rough.

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