Is it Really Just All About the Money?

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

In a survey conducted by Columinate, on behalf of Private Property, many respondents believed that estate agents needed to be more honest in their dealings with buyers and focus more on the buyer and less on the commission that could be earned from the sale of a property.

The fact that 29 percent of the 400 people polled believed that estate agents are more concerned about the sale than about the buyer’s actual needs is concerning. And even if this perception is incorrect, the very fact that it even exists needs to be addressed.

It stands to reason that all estate agents sell property in order to make money - it’s their job. However, most experienced agents understand that focusing only on the monetary aspects of the deal does not guarantee success. Listening skills are vital and those who pay attention to exactly what buyers are looking for are going to reap far more benefits than those who chance their luck by showing a prospective buyer unsuitable properties just because they cost more.

Although there are undoubtedly agents out there who are only in it for the money, this is only one side of the story. Buyers themselves are not always truthful about their financial position and this, coupled with the confusion as to what they are really looking for - and can honestly afford - can drive the sanest of agents over the edge. In these instances it is not a case of an agent not listening; it is a case of buyers not understanding the buying process and all it entails, or their unrealistic expectations of just what their buck can buy.

Simply put, uneducated buyers believe that their money buys far more bricks and mortar than it actually does and it is this lack of knowledge that can turn any house hunting exercise into a nightmare. Uppermost in the minds of these buyers is that the agent is out to sell them the most expensive property possible in order to cash in on the highest commission possible. Agents, on the other hand, are simply trying to fulfil the buyer’s mandate by showing them properties that they know will meet their needs.

Overall, money-hungry agents are far thinner on the ground than most buyers believe. Good agents have a solid client base and rely heavily on repeat business. It is not unusual for an agent to sell the same house time and time again, simply because the various buyers are impressed with the service levels they received. In these instances, the relationship has been built on trust, but how does an agent who is either new to the property industry or one who is starting out in a new area, forge these bonds with their community?

Communication between buyers and agents is always going to be key. Buyers need to find an agent who truly has their interests at heart and agents need to work with buyers who trust them enough to tell them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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