Real estate agents add value

Although in today’s age information is readily available at the click of a button, there are still a number of elements that are lost when consumers try to sell their property without the services of a real estate professional, says Dieter Harck, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX One Hundred, whose office services Fourways and the surrounding areas.

“Often consumers think that selling their property is as easy as placing an advert, however the ins and outs of a property sales transaction can be complicated to navigate without a real estate professional,” says Harck. “Selling or buying a home is a huge, life-changing decision that will likely influence a person’s financial wellbeing for the rest of their lives. For this reason, doesn’t it make sense to have the guidance of someone who deals with this on a daily basis?” he asks.

Harck notes that during the home sale process, an agent can provide the seller with factual information regarding the state of the real estate market, providing relevant supporting material to illustrate and advise on how to best present the home in that market. Presenting the home in the right way will ensure that the seller’s return on their investment is optimised. 

“An estate agent will 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 assist the seller to correctly price their home at fair market value, giving the seller the best possible chance of selling at a fair price, within the best possible time frame,” says Harck.  “Aside from correctly valuating the property, an agent will also bring experience, area and market knowledge as well as a network of buyers and a support system of real estate professionals.”

According to Harck, when using the services of an agent, it is best for a seller to sign a sole mandate. “A sole mandate is a written contract with the agent that protects both the seller and the agent. If more than one agent is marketing the home, it can be an administration nightmare and could also result in two agents claiming commission for the sale of the home. A sole mandate prevents this situation and ensures the seller that the agent will give the sale of their home maximum attention and output,” says Harck.

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that while many sellers may feel that signing a sole mandate is restricting themselves, it is actually allowing a reputable, experienced estate agent the opportunity to make the process simpler.

The most important aspect when signing a sole mandate with an agent is knowing that you are working with the right one. During the selection process it is important to vet the agents you interview by asking them the following questions:

- How many homes have you sold in this area?
- What is the average price of homes in the area?
- What market share do you and your company have in the area?
- How many show days do you do per month?
- Do you have a marketing plan?
- What is your “asking price to selling price” average?
- How will you communicate with me during the marketing of my property?
- How will my property be advertised?
- How does my property compare with the competition?
- Do you have a service guarantee?
- Do you have a referral system?
- Do you have a buyers’ database within your company?
- On average, how many active buyers are on that database?

Harck says that the answers to these questions will give the seller a good feel as to whether or not they are happy to work with the agent.

He adds that while an agent essentially works for the seller, the service they provide will also add a lot of value to buyers. For example, an agent can keep the buyer informed of any new listings they have that meet the buyer’s criteria. An agent’s in-depth area and market knowledge will also greatly assist a buyer in their decision-making process. An agent can provide the buyer with some advice and help them to work out the difference between what they need and want in a home. An agent will also be able to educate the buyer, especially first-time buyers, with regard to the process involved in purchasing real estate.

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

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