Are Estate Agents a Dying Breed?

Excerpt from Property Professional

Are Estate Agents a dying breed?

Why do the majority of buyers and sellers choose to use estate agents? After all in theory, a great deal of money could be saved by selling privately. That, it seems, is the problem, ‘in theory’ remains just that: a theory.

1. “Most private sellers, being unaware of market trends and the value of similar houses in their area tend to overprice their homes by up to 30% in today’s climate. A buyer is therefore more likely to get a market-related price when dealing with an estate agent rather than the individual who owns the home.”

2. Then there are the complexities involved in buying a home. There are still sellers who truly believe that the voetstoots clause gives them the right to sell a home with a number of undisclosed faults and that because the home is sold ‘as is’, it is the buyer’s bad luck if something goes wrong once he has moved in and discovered the problem(s).

3. Time is pretty much money in anyone’s book and it is no different in the world of real estate. Selling a property privately entails far more than taking a few snaps, putting them on the internet and waiting for the buyers to roll in. Pricing is always going to be a huge issue and while there are certainly some who read and understand the market closely there are many who don’t. Selling a home is an extremely laborious and time-intensive task. As an interested outsider, agents have the ability to cut through the emotional aspects and focus on what really is important – getting the home sold with the least amount of fuss in the shortest time possible at the right price.

4. Using an agent not only streamlines the process, the agent offers knowledge of prices, marketing and market expertise, negotiation skills and helps to make the complex legal and bond process easier.

5. The skill set required to sell a home within a fixed period of time is another factor that needs to be considered. An estate agent with years of experience in the area, knowledge of the property market and many contacts in the industry is far more equipped to sell a home and achieve the desired price than someone who is unfamiliar with the whole process. There is also much more paperwork and admin than the man on the street realises.

6. The other problem and perhaps the most important issue that those selling property privately face in South Africa is security. Homeowners who allow un-vetted people to view their home are putting themselves and their possessions at risk and in a crime conscience society, this could well work in an estate agent’s favour.

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