Agents with clout and how to identify them

News > news - 07 Nov 2006

Due to low entry barriers into the property industry there are thousands of agents across the country, many of whom are complacent opportunists. Yet there are some high flyers with excellent track records, who conduct the majority of the sales and who are actively sought out by consumers.  What differentiates them from the rest and why do buyers and sellers entrust them with their most valuable possession?


In Cape Town, Nancy O’Flaherty of Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty Tokai has managed to secure 70% market share in the Silvertree estate and surrounding area. In Johannesburg, Manuela Coelho and Ester Fernandes of Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty Bryanston, achieve between R150 – R200 million in sales each year, and in their years of being in the industry have built up an enviable market share that other agents operating in their area are unable to rival.


Barak Geffen, Executive Director of Sotheby’s International Realty South Africa says, “It’s not about how many deals you necessarily do, it’s about your market share. This equates to the value of sales done by an agent in comparison to all the sales done in a particular area for a specified period.


“These top agents not only work hard (averaging 60 hours or more a week), but work smart. They can identify serious buyers and will make sure they have a clear understanding of their needs before wasting time showing them inappropriate properties.


“You find that many of these top agents work in pairs – with one partner proficient in ‘opening’, being able to secure a sole mandate based on a track record of service delivery, and the other a ‘closer’ who is the influencing factor in a close, ensuring that both sides of the transaction are happy with the negotiated price.  Their combined efforts often results in 1 + 1 equaling 3 in terms of their results.


“Ethics are everything to these agents who will never pull the wool over either the buyer’s or seller’s eyes, and because they know their neighbourhoods extremely well, they will never mislead clients by over-valuing to secure a mandate or under-valuing to make a quick sale.”


Geffen says these agents not only secure return business, but they act as a control check to the lack of professionalism to the industry.  Sellers engage their services based on evidence of their delivery.  This results in roughly 20% of the agent body producing 80% of the transactions in the market.


“They have a huge presence in their neighbourhoods through ‘for sale’ and ‘sold’ boards, and they spend the necessary funds on a thorough advertising campaign to ensure that their homes are staged to maximize exposure.


“High flyers will generally conduct around 8 show days per weekend using show house ‘sitters’ as well as sitting themselves. In comparison, your garden-variety agent is likely to conduct just one or two show days per weekend with a lot of idle time spent in an office.”

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