The value an estate agent can add to a property transaction

While there is a vast amount of information available via the internet, there are certain value added aspects that are lost when people try to go it alone and sell their property privately, says Annie van den Berg, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Wildlife Properties, whose office services Hoedspruit and the surrounding areas

“A property transaction can be a complicated process and purchasing or selling a home is a massive, life changing decision that can affect a person’s financial wellbeing. With this in mind, wouldn’t it be a better option to have a real estate professional there, who can provide guidance and assistance during this process to ensure that the right decisions are made?” asks van den Berg.

Peter Tolond, Sales Associate at RE/MAX Wilderness Properties, notes that when it comes to selling property, an agent can provide the seller with information that they would otherwise not be able to access, such as a record of what homes in the area have sold for over the last six months. This will ensure that the property is correctly priced at fair market value, giving the seller the best possible chance of selling at a fair price, within the best possible time frame. “Apart from the correct valuation of the property, an agent will bring experience, area and market knowledge, a network of buyers and a countrywide support system of real estate professionals,” says Tolond.

He adds that if a seller decides that they do want to use the services of an agent, it is advisable for them to sign a sole mandate with that agent to protect themselves against any possibility of a double commission claim, which can arise if several agents are working on the sale of the same property.

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that signing a sole mandate is not about the seller putting all their eggs into one basket, but rather about allowing a reputable, experienced estate agent the opportunity to make the process simpler. “It will ensure that an entire team within a real estate network is cooperating to sell the property quickly and at the best possible price,” he says.

According to Tolond, it is important for sellers to know that the agent they are signing the mandate with is the right agent for them, so the agent must provide the seller with a marketing plan for their property. If at any time the agent is not following the marketing plan they have provided, the seller will have the right to cancel the mandate. It is imperative that the agent works according to what is within the seller’s best interest at all times, giving sound professional advice and assisting the seller to make the right decisions, especially when more than one offer has been presented.

He notes that before a seller signs a mandate with an agent they should ask the agent the following questions:

·         What similar property has been sold in the area recently?

·         How long was the similar property on the market with you before it sold?

·         Is my selling price market related?

·         How will you market my home?

·         How much is the commission?

·         How long have you been in the real estate business?

Tolond says that while an agent essentially works for the seller, they can provide a lot of value to buyers by keeping them up to date about homes they have on their books that would fit into the buyer’s criteria. “An agent’s in-depth area and market knowledge will also greatly assist a buyer in their decision-making process. They could tell the buyer whether their chosen area is in a growth or decline phase, as well as whether there are any land claims in the area. They will also be able to help the buyer work out their affordability levels and assist with the best method of obtaining the necessary finance,” says Tolond.

He notes that before a buyer views any of an agent’s listings, they should ask the following questions:

·         Are there any land claims in the area?

·         How long has the property been listed on your books?

·         What is the average time a property sells in a particular area?

·         Why is the owner selling?

“A professional real estate agent can be a very valuable asset during a property transaction. Their experience and knowledge can ensure that the sometimes complicated process of selling and buying a property is a far easier endeavour,” Tolond concludes.

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