These are the 5 things that estate agents hate most

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Estate agents deal with all kinds of people and often find that some buyers are way more difficult than others. But what exactly gets agents hot under the collar?

Buying a home isn't necessarily an easy task. Firstly, there's generally a wide variety from which to choose and secondly, although it's never recommended that a buyer rush into a deal, speed is often of the essence and those who vacillate may lose out on a bargain if another buyer acts decisively and pips them at the post.

Estate agents deal with all kinds of people and as with everything in life, often find that some buyers are way more difficult than others. But what exactly does get agents hot under the collar and perhaps more importantly, what can buyers do to ensure that the sale goes as smoothly as possible while still staying on the agent’s good side?

Every property transaction is different and even seasoned buyers ask a lot of questions. Agents are used to this and are generally happy to field queries day and night (we do suggest going easy on those late-night phone calls as most don't respond well to being woken at midnight by an enthusiastic buyer or seller). So, while questions won't annoy your agent, there are some things that will. We take a look at the more common irritants that could end up impacting on a deal.

Sweating the small stuff

Very few people find the perfect home. Even those who have consulted with an architect and supposedly built the home of their dreams will have gripes. There's nothing wrong with this - buyers are human and as such expect to find the perfect home because in their minds, the perfect property is out there somewhere. The bad news is that there is almost always going to be something you don't like about any home, whether it's the colour scheme in the kitchen, the type of carpeting or tiling used, the size of the rooms or the fact that the entertainment area isn't exactly what you had envisaged. Although an agent is more than happy to show buyers as many homes as necessary, they are going to get a little hacked off if property after property is dismissed because of minor aesthetic issues, particularly if the so-called problems can easily be rectified.

Loose lips sink ships

Selling a home is a very emotional experience, which is one of the reasons sellers utilise the services of estate agents. Agents act as a buffer and although they may give feedback to the seller as to why a buyer isn't interested in a particular property, they often refrain from repeating anything that could hurt a seller's feelings. In other words, keep your voice down and your thoughts to yourself until you are out of earshot of the seller. Yes, the lime green paint job and purple carpet in the master bedroom may assault your senses, but this doesn't mean that the seller shares your opinion. The buyer's actions can and often do affect the negotiation process and a seller who feels slighted may not be quite as willing to negotiate the price as he may otherwise have been.

Don’t Dally

No one should rush into a property purchase and no one should feel that they are being pressurised to making a hasty decision. However, buyers need to understand there is risk associated with taking too long to sign the necessary paperwork. It stands to reason that agents are going to be somewhat put out if a buyer repeatedly asks to view the same property, indicates that the property in question is exactly what he's looking for and that the price is right, but holds back from making an offer simply because he can't make up his mind. Buyers who know they have issues with making any form of decision should make a list of exactly what they want in a home before they start looking. Once a suitable property has been viewed, they should weigh up the pros and the cons carefully, asking themselves how it measures up to their requirements and then take a concrete decision based on the facts.

Price isn’t everything

Yes, we know it's important, but when it comes to property, there are other very important factors to consider. How sound is the offer? Offers come in many different forms. Some have conditions attached (such as the sale of another property) or are subject to certain conditions. The trick is to identify the best offer and unfortunately this doesn't always come down to the best price. A cash sale is usually the best, because the money is guaranteed to be in the bank by the time transfer comes around. It's for this reason that cash buyers often secure property at below asking price. A person who attaches conditions to a sale isn't in such a strong position and although the price may be right, sellers who accept such an offer do run the risk of the sale falling through because the buyer isn't able to source the necessary finance in time. It's understandable that agents will become impatient with a seller who refuses to recognise a good deal, preferring to go for a riskier alternative. Sellers need to weigh up all offers and base the decision to accept or decline on the strength of such an offer.

Ridiculous offers

Agents are bound by a code of conduct and as such are compelled to submit any offer made by the prospective buyer to the seller. Buyers negotiate the selling price all the time and it is quite acceptable to offer a lower price. However, it's important to listen to the agent and base the offer on the information provided by the agent. Why the person is selling, how much is still owing on the bond and the urgency of a sale are all nuggets of information that need to be stored and used. Making an offer for less than what is owed on the property is guaranteed to be rejected. Likewise, submitting a much lower offer when a seller isn't in a rush to sell isn't going to garner much interest.

Listen to the feedback an agent will give when an offer is rejected. Don't make the situation worse by counter-offering an amount that’s still below what the seller needs to close the deal. This annoys both the seller and the agent, and wastes the buyer's time.

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