The role and benefits of using estate agents

Private Property South Africa
Property Power

There are estate agents who specialise in selling or letting commercial, industrial or agricultural properties, however, in Property Power, we only focus on estate agents who specialise in residential property sales and letting.

What role does the estate agent play?

The estate agent is the link between a seller and buyer, who will negotiate an agreement of sale acceptable to both parties. An Offer to Purchase is drafted by the estate agent, which must be signed by the buyer, seller and estate agent.

For his service, the estate agent charges a fee or commission, which is paid by the seller. The commission payable is negotiable and must be discussed with the estate agent at the commencement of the transaction. The commission is usually calculated as a percentage of the selling price.

What are the Benefits of Using an Estate Agent?

  • An estate agent will know how to deal with the legal, financial and marketing issues in the appropriate manner.

  • He will also have knowledge of different sales techniques, financing alternatives, valuation methods, construction practices and relevant property laws and regulations.

  • He will be familiar with the local property market, understand consumer behaviour and be able to communicate with people at different levels.

  • The estate agent will protect the interest of his client to the best of his ability with due regard to the interest of all other parties concerned.

  • Buying property is probably the biggest investment you will ever make. The estate agent plays a vital role in ensuring the security of your big investment.

  • Estate agents registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board are governed by a code of conduct, Common Law, as well as certain provisions of the Estate Agency Affairs Act, which are enforceable by means of disciplinary action by the Estate Agency Affairs Board.

Obligations of the Estate Agent

In Terms of a Prospective Buyer (or Lessee)...

  • Acting honestly and with fair conduct.
  • Qualifying the buyer, i.e. obtaining information about the buyer in order to introduce him to the ideal home.
  • Showing selected properties to the buyer.
  • Maintaining contact with the prospective buyer.
  • Assisting the buyer to make an offer.
  • Assisting the buyer to obtain finance.
  • After-sales service.
  • Complying at all times with the legal and ethical obligations owed to a prospective buyer, regulated by the Estate Agency Affairs Board, i.e.: the duty not to make a misrepresentation, the obligation to disclose material facts, the duty not to prejudice the interests of the buyer, the duty to act with responsible care and skill, the duty not to discriminate against the buyer, the obligation to be ethical regarding the receipt of trust money, the duty not to abuse or unlawfully disclose confidential information.

In Terms of a Seller (or Lessor)…

Generally, an estate agent's client is a seller or lessor of a property. The estate agent's function is to introduce a willing and able buyer/lessee to his client's property, but he also guides a seller through the selling process by:

  • Advising him on the market value of his property;
  • Marketing his property effectively;
  • Assessing prospective purchasers to ascertain whether they are financially able to purchase his property and what their housing needs are;
  • Advising a prospective purchaser on the suitability of the property for his needs, its general conditions and whether there are any restrictions on the use of the property;
  • Negotiating the transaction, taking into consideration the interests of all parties concerned;
  • Completing the Offer to Purchase document, making sure that the document is legally valid and reflects the requirements and intentions of all the parties concerned;
  • Advising the buyer on financing the transaction and assisting him in arranging such finance;
  • Liaising with the conveyancing attorneys attending to the transfer of the property and assisting them to expedite the registration process.

This article originally appeared in Property Power 11th Edition Magazine. To order your copy at the discounted price of R120 click here.

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