THE QUESTION TO THREE RECENT RESIDENTIAL BUYERS
What do you wish agents knew about client communication?
Susannah Moehl, Atlantic Beach, Cape Town
My parents bought my ﬁrst ﬂ at for me. Not only did they pay for it, they also did all the transaction admin. So when I was ready to sell and buy something bigger, it was pretty daunting and incredibly stressful.
I found an agent who was well known in the area. She promised she had lots of clients on her books. But she left me in the dark at every step. She’d show my ﬂ at, and then I’d have to call to ask for feedback. When I noticed it wasn’t in the property pages one weekend, and asked why not, she said she had meant to tell me she missed the placement deadline! What may seem like insigniﬁcant information to an agent who’s been in the business for years can be really important to clients who are new to the house-selling process.
When it came to signing the oﬀer and doing the legal stuﬀ, I expected the agent to hold my hand but she didn’t. Every call and email from the conveyancer took me by surprise. I didn’t enjoy the experience at all.
Ryan Thorne, Parklands, Cape Town
I know a common complaint about estate agents is that they don’t communicate. But I had the opposite issue. My agent talked too much. I couldn’t get my views and needs across, and his calls lasted 20 minutes each. It showed a complete lack of respect for my time and was incredibly frustrating.
He would call me after absolutely anyone showed interest, even if it was just someone inquiring if the house was near the main road. It was as if he needed to prove that he was working hard. He would also call back and forth to set up viewing times even though he had my availability schedule – he would just “try his luck” in case I could be home at 10.30am on a Tuesday. Eventually, I asked him to SMS me only.
David Klaassen, Greyville, Durban
I’ve learnt my lesson. Now, as soon as I start a working relationship with an estate agent, I set down my preferred methods of communication. I’m not shy about letting the agent know what I expect from them, and then if he or she fails to live up to these expectations, I’ll take them to task.
The real estate market is time-sensitive, so I want an agent who will let me know quickly where I stand with my current buying or selling situation so I can move on to another property or potential buyer fast. I’ll be paying the agent a lot of money when my property sells, so I want to make sure he or she does the job to my satisfaction, otherwise I may as well sell it myself.
Words Kate Calnan