Does your estate agent have what it takes?

    Positive growth exhibited by healthy levels of sales, rental and commercial activity in the property market seems to have spurred a recent boom in the number of people entering the real estate business in some areas according to Graham White, managing director for Seeff North Coast.

    While success in real estate sales may look easy to accomplish, the reality, says White, is that successful agents tend to be those who have been doing the job for 6-7 years and more. They would have been through the better times, but more importantly, they have learned how to succeed and tough it out in the harder times.

    There is no reason why an agent cannot do well regardless of area and market, but most of that is down to the individual. The skills needed are not complicated, but there is a vast amount to learn and hone and that is where the time comes in, he says.

    The backing of a strong brand with a culture of success and a comprehensive on-going training programme, mentorship scheme and lots of support is almost a prerequisite. Technologies have changed, but what remains constant is that there is no top performer who does not understand that building trust over a long period of time is vital to long term consistent success.

    Statistics show that the right area agent impacts how quickly you sell, and the price achieved according to James Lewis, managing director for Seeff Southern Suburbs, Hout Bay and Llandudno. Seeff’s sales data shows that our area agents sell over 90% of all sole mandate properties, often faster than the market average and achieving a better price (if priced correctly at the outset).

    Lewis says that working with an established local area operator who can navigate market fluctuations, as they are familiar with how the market moves through the various economic cycles, is often the difference between selling or a property sitting on the market.

    Such an agent should provide a track record of successful sales, time on the market and prices achieved for sellers. They should be active and visible in the area. You should see their “for sale” and ”sold” boards and receive pertinent communications from them about sales in the area and the market.

    Beware of high price promises, multiple agents and open mandates. This will not achieve a faster sale or better price, he adds. With multiple agents, no-one will be focusing solely on your property. Choosing a sole agent with a Sole Mandate means you are contracting with an agent to focus on marketing and selling your property.

    A good agent will provide an updated CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) based on the current market insights and a marketing plan which includes the latest digital marketing tools and referral network of buyers backed by a trustworthy brand and full back-office support.

    Important questions to ask prospective agents include proof of their registration with the EAAB and holding a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate, how long they have operated in the area and a list of sales achieved.

    Prospective sellers should also probe how quickly they sell their mandates and what is the differential between asking and selling prices and reasons for the value proposed to market the property at. Finally, find out what marketing activities will be done, what referral networks they have, what systems and back-office support they have and how they will communicate and provide regular feedback?

    Author: Graham White
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