We may not buy property as often as we get our hair cut or require medical treatment, but it’s equally, if not more important that we select our real estate agents with as much care as we do hairdressers and doctors – and to develop an ongoing relationship once you have found the realtor that best works for you.
Rouvaun McKirby, Jo Thomas and Jacques Fourie, the veteran Constantia sales team for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty firmly believe that such a relationship between Realtor and client offers several compelling benefits.
McKirby says: “Most people will end up buying and selling several properties over the years, especially if they enter the property market at a young age, whilst some will buy multiple properties for investment purposes.
“And, as anyone who’s ever bought or sold a home can tell you, hiring the right agent for the job is critical to your success; not only to finding a buyer the perfect home for their needs but also to ensure a seamless sale process and, for buyers, the best final sale price that can be achieved.
“We have several clients with which we have worked closely over the years,” says Thomas, “including the foreign national seller of the property for which we recently co-brokered the highest ever sale price in Constantia.”
Thomas adds that because of their excellent relationships with their clients, they also often end up facilitating second and even third sales of properties which was the case with the home that achieved the record-breaking price.
“With this particular property, we first sold it to about 13 years ago and continued to keep in touch with the new owners who added their own touch to the property through renovation.
“Because we knew the history of the house and how had evolved over time, we were therefore the obvious choice when they decided to retire and move away from Cape Town, and, as we have an extensive database, we were able to immediately present them with the right buyer for the property.
“The most recent sale, our third of this particular property, and the record price achieved was also due to the maintained relationship with the house and owners.”
The team offers the following tips for selecting the agent and agency which is the right fit for you and with whom you can develop the kind of long-standing relationship that would best benefit you in years to come, regardless of whether you are buying or selling:
- Referrals – ask around for recommendations from friends, family and neighbours;
- Regard it as a hiring process – no one ever employs the first and only person they speak to;
- Interview at least two or even three agents – and don’t be won over by the highest valuation received if you are a seller, especially in a tough buyer’s market when the highest valuation is usually not the best valuation;
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions – ask them about their recent sales, where they have worked before, about what is happening in the market in your area/the area in which you are buying, etc;
- Ask to see proof of results – don’t just take their word for it;
- Ensure they are certified – you are entitled to confirm their accreditation and ask to see their Fidelity Fund Certificate;
- Transparency – choose an agent that is confident enough to give you the real facts and not just what they think you want to hear;
- Keep an eye out for red flags – unprofessionalism, lapses in discretion, lack of knowledge about real estate topics and bad reviews;
- Talk about the money – don’t be afraid to talk about their fees. Do they follow traditional commission structures, do they charge a flat-fee?
- There is no one size fits all – choose an agent or agency that best works for you and takes the approach that you prefer and with which you feel most comfortable.
“Ultimately,” says Rouvaun, “the goal is to achieve a speedy sale at the best possible price and, in order to do so, not only must the property be realistically priced for the current market, it must also be properly marketed, all of which require experience and knowledge and the backing of a reputable agency.
“There’s no point in getting excited about high-end valuations if the realtors and their brands don’t have the local, national and even international reach on the correct platforms to communicate with a wide targeted audience of serious buyers.
“Therefore, one of the main criteria that should be considered over and above the agent’s track record and knowledge of the area and local market is their own and their agency’s marketing reach.”
Thomas adds that the importance of a comprehensive marketing strategy when selling a home should never be underestimated, especially in a tougher market, as it can significantly impact the final sale price realised as well as the length of time it spends on the market.
And, in terms of the EAAB regulations, a mandate presentation by the agent must include a marketing plan.
Thomas concludes: “When it comes down to the wire, having a professional, experienced and legally-savvy estate agent at your side and making use of all the latest tech offerings, is critical to ensure a seamless transaction that doesn’t reveal any nasty or costly surprises weeks or even months later.”
“The key factors in moving property, especially during the next year or two, will be experienced agents who can adapt to new marketing techniques, with good databases and extensive marketing to the right demographic and, of course, realistic pricing.”