While there are mixed feelings regarding real estate agents, the fact remains that they do provide an extremely important service to the property market and are responsible for the majority of property transactions throughout the country, says Chris van der Merwe, Broker/Manager of RE/MAX Coastal, whose offices service the Knysna, Sedgefield and Wilderness areas.
“Since the change in legislation, real estate agents have been recognised as professionals in their field. Professionalism within the real estate industry has increased vastly since the qualification criteria were introduced and the agents who are currently working as real estate professionals are able to assist buyers and sellers efficiently and effectively,” says van der Merwe.
He notes that buyers and sellers can benefit from the expertise and knowledge that a reputable estate agent can bring to the transaction due to their continual exposure to the property market and legislation around property transactions.
However, there are some key elements that an agent should bring to the party when dealing with either a buyer or seller:
According to van der Merwe, aside from the established network of prospective buyers that an agent would be plugged into, they can assist in realistically pricing the property by providing information to the seller based on a comparative market analysis. Agents will also have a support structure and tools of the trade at their fingertips, and will have the means to market and advertise the property in the correct and most professional manner.
“Other key elements that an agent should offer the seller include professionalism, which means being on time, presentable, prepared and brilliant at what they do. They should offer the best service, which entails an accurate property evaluation; marketing plan and excellent communication, keeping the seller informed during every step of the process. An agent should also be entirely honest with the seller and give them their professional opinion about their property,” says van der Merwe.
He adds that when selecting an agent, sellers should ask the following questions:
- Do you have a marketing plan for my property?
- What is the time period that you think you can sell our house?
- What homes have you sold in our street?
- What prices did you get for these homes?
- Who do you think is going to buy our home?
- What is your commission percentage/amount?
- How long mandate do you suggest?
Van der Merwe says that when it comes to dealing with buyers, a good agent should know the homes that they are currently marketing and which ones would be applicable to the buyer’s criteria and the right fit.
“The agent should know what is available, what has sold and the average prices in the areas. Again it is very important that the agent is professional in their dealings with the buyer. This means taking the buyer out on time, having a clean car and being friendly and courteous,” says van der Merwe. “The agent should also provide the buyer with feedback on properties viewed such as the pros and cons of each property, disclosing any known defects to the potential buyer and what would need to be done to remedy the problem.”
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Van der Merwe says that buyers should ask their agent the following questions:
- Why are there so many homes for sale?
- What are the best areas in which to purchase?
- What are the areas that offer the best return?
- In which areas have you seen the property values rise above the rest of the town?
- What is crime like in these areas?
- Do you have any distressed sales?
- Do you have bargain properties?
- Which properties offer the best value?
“When entering into a property transaction, both buyers and sellers would be far better off working with an experienced, reputable real estate agent,” van der Merwe concludes.
This article “What Should Real Estate Agents Bring to the Party?” was issued by RE/MAX of Southern Africa.