I was discussing with a friend who seemed to have loads of issues with Real Estate Agents and i requested that he wrote what his challenges were and how to solve them and this is what he sent:
“My wife is 6 months pregnant with triplets. I was shocked when we found out and in 3 months we will be a family of 5 with many visitors to celebrate with us. Presently we stay in a 1 bedroom apartment and we need to move to a bigger apartment that can accommodate the whole family. I have to put my taste to test, I think I will go for a 4 bedroom detached house so my kids can play in the compound, my wife and i can have our own room, another for the triplets and then my mom or mother-in-law, relative or friends. I made my requests known to agents to search for accommodation for my new family. My specifications were clear in terms of location, size, budget and rental period. And I still had the following challenges with Agents:
- Engaged two agents who requested that i pay a certain amount to mobilize them to look for a property for me and this does not take away from their expected agency fee afterwards. I paid but they were disengaged for non-performance.
- Meeting with a long chain of agents. One of the agents took me to another agent who took us to another agent who introduced us to a security who then directs us to another security who knows the owner(all this at your expense – time and money). Only to be informed by the owner that the property has been taken by another tenant (what a waste of time!!)
- Agents are only after the fees, when a client makes payment they varnish without rendering after-acquisition services.
- They do not verify property documentation for authenticity of ownership.
I believe it can actually be made easier and smooth to get a client a befitting apartment without much stress using the below recommendations:
- Reduce the long Agency Chain. The client does not need to know there are 1000 agents involved in a transaction such actually discourages the client. Transactions should be agent- client – property owner. To keep the peace it may be advised that Agents should have a preexisting written agreement, where there is a long chain of agents involved, with other agents on fees as that will ease the client dealing with so many people.
- Communication/visitation: a preferred mode of communication suitable to the client should be established either phone calls, emails or social platforms. A fixed time and date which all the parties involved will be available to meet should be agreed and the agent should confirm availability of all parties before parties set out.
- An agent should understand the clients request in order to be able to advise in terms of location, price etc., and also negotiate favorably on the client’s behalf. Advise in terms of contract clauses which should be fair to the client and also go as far as negotiating a rent free period for his client e.g negotiate 2 weeks rent free period for your client to make modifications, where necessary or at least to pack and settle in.
- Agents should verify the authenticity of a property document to ensure that the genuine owner is who is being related with and also do some due diligence to ensure that there is no court matter or any form of encumbrance on the property.
- Agents should have a database of their client with their contact details and program a reminder for quarterly follow-up call on satisfaction (between landlord and Client or vise versa) of the property and with this follow up it gives a client value for the services from the Agent. With this follow up you have provided value which is your after-rental service to the landlord and Tenant. You gain in 2 ways when the tenant is searching for another apartment and also you are made aware of the landlords vacant property. Your preexisting relationship with the Landlord and Tenant helps you to understand them better and know how to satisfy them.
Agents have to be real with Real Estates as it only when you are real and really satisfy clients that you can make real cash.”
As an agent I particularly find the long chains insane and do not like to work with Agents that long chains. Agents have to focus less on body counts (quantity of clients) to quality & sales.
I find the tips given by the writer very helpful and hope you do too, as an agent or a client. Have a great read and share your experiences with agents with us.
Braimah Suleman Igekie