THE QUESTION TO FOUR RECENT RESIDENTIAL BUYERS
What do you wish estate agents knew about the properties you viewed that could have smoothed the process and sealed the deal?
Mohamed Fareed Ballim |New house in Emmarentia, Johannesburg
I bought a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on 31 December 2014, when everyone was on holiday, and I am happy with my purchase. But I reached a stage in the house-hunting cycle when it became a chore – I went from falling in love with houses to getting into a bidding war for properties. I was even asked if I would consider an auction on a property two other buyers were keen on. Estate agents tend to think that buyers are wasting their time if they view various show houses and are not interested. However, the property I view needs to “talk” to me. Every seller comes with a history and it would be wonderful for an estate agent to take time to get to know those requirements. The usual questionnaire of requirements filled in at a viewing doesn’t help.
Also, estate agents often promise to keep you posted about new listings, which usually doesn’t happen. The service from a few estate agents has been superior, but with others I didn’t want to go to the show house because the estate agent had been rude to my family at past viewings. A family that goes along to view show houses won’t do that unless they are seriously interested in finding a house. In a nutshell, many agents can become better by simply building a relationship with each potential buyer.
Lauren Sprout | New house in Brentwood Park, Benoni
I bought a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house off plan, which was completed in October 2014. In the beginning stages of the buying process, the estate agent didn’t have a show house to view, advising me that it was not standard practice. After complaining that I wanted to see the quality of workmanship before buying, the agent arranged a viewing of a recently built home in the complex. I was provided with spec sheets and photographs only after I asked. Answers to questions such as whether towel rails and toilet roll holders were installed, or whether the interior walls would be smooth or textured, were not volunteered.
Estate agents need to be informed of exactly what they are selling off plan. Other aspects were not mentioned, such as having to pay for and plant my own grass, and install a garage motor and plug for it, an extractor fan and plug for that. A buyer needs this information because cutting into a wall to add features after building can cause cracking. Estate agents need to point out small things that may affect the buyer’s budget later. If I had added extra items to the contract before building commenced, huge commissions were added and it was more expensive than if I had added items during building. Later on site, I met the suppliers fitting items to my home and found it was cheaper to go directly to the suppliers. Agents should also know their measurements – I asked for a second bedroom to be made larger by 1,5m, but on the contract, the agent wrote that the main bedroom was to be made larger by a brick and a half.
Shaun Vermeulen | New house in Meyersdal, Alberton
I bought a house in a security estate in June 2015. The most important thing I want estate agents to know is that not all clients are the same. In my experience, most agents tend to think that women are only interested in the kitchen, while men are only interested in the entertainment area. In our case, this couldn’t be further from the truth, because, although we had a few ideas of what we were looking for, we had no blueprint of exactly what we wanted. Estate agents should always find out exactly what the client is looking for, or at least get an idea, before proposing any viewings to clients. If you can find an estate agent that is there to partner with you in purchasing a new house, instead of one trying to sell what they have in stock, the relationship will be beneficial to both parties.
Gideon Jacobs |New semi-detached house in Vredehoek, Cape Town
I searched for a few years, and for three months intensively, and I found my two-bedroom, two-bathroom semi-detached home in March 2015. Many properties listed on property websites, especially the decent ones, are sold extremely quickly. In Cape Town, you can’t be too cheeky with your offer as demand for good properties is high, so I offered the full price for mine. I found there were a few plumbing issues with my new property and the estate agent did assist, but only in raising the issue rather than resolving it. The transfer of the property usually takes a few months, but went through before the plumbing issues were resolved.
I would have appreciated it if the agent had voiced the plumbing issues to me upfront, and offered to arrange for the previous owner to pay for it, as well as arranged the plumber’s appointments. I ended up becoming the middle person between the plumber and the estate agent, so would have preferred it if the agent had handled those issues.
Words: Lisa Dewberry