Shortage of Property Listings Challenges Agents’ Ethics

We’ve previously reported that this year has seen a significant drop in the numbers of properties listed for sale in the mid-to-lower price ranges – not just in the Helderberg area, but across most markets in South Africa.

This is generally good news for property owners in this price range as it means that buyers don’t have the luxury of choice house dropand need to be competitive with their offers, lest they lose out on the property they want to another buyer.

The low levels of stock and the stronger buyer demand means that prices generally increase in these price ranges, which is great for property owners.

The problem is that buyer demand hasn’t decreased. In fact, in the certain price ranges buyer demand is increasing steadily. Estate agents need listings to sell, and so, sadly, in some cases their ethics aren’t what they’re supposed to be.

If you’re a seller, here are some tips on how to avoid being pressed into listing your property before you have all the facts to make an informed decision:

1. Call in 3 agents, not just one. You can only select the best agent for yourself if you can make an informed comparison.
2. Ask the agent what they are going to do for you that’s different or better than what other agents offer.
3. Ask the agent what strategies they are going to employ to get your property sold for the most money. If they’re not sure what you’re talking about, then speak to someone who is.
4. Ask the agency what their track record is. You should only list with a company that can prove they know what they’re doing. Talk is cheap.
5. The lowest commission is usually not the best option for you. Why not? It’s not how much you pay that’s important, it what you get net – in your pocket. Usually a low commission means there is poor marketing. Poor marketing is a sure way to guarantee you sell for less than you should.
6. Find our what is guaranteed. In other words, how can you be sure you will receive the marketing and service that is promised? Only a specific written marketing plan and service promise can give you the assurance you will get what you’re promised.
7. In the sole mandate form, is there a clause that will allow you to cancel the mandate if the agent doesn’t deliver on their marketing promise? If not, you could be tied into a mandate with no recourse if they fail to deliver.
8. Beware of agents that run down the opposition. Usually it’s their only tactic to impress you, and that’s not what’s going to get you the highest price.
9. Don’t be bullied. It’s your property. There is a lot of money at stake here and you have every right to be comfortable with your choice.
10. This is not an emotional choice. Yes, you do need to listen to your “gut-feel”. But you need to choose an agent who can convince you with fact and not wow you with fiction.

Happy Family And Dog By HouseThe current property market presents an exciting opportunity to sell your property for more than you might think – but only if you choose your agent wisely. We’ll discuss innovative marketing strategies in future articles.

Steve Caradoc-Davies
Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa

Email your real estate question to steve.cd@harcourts.co.za.

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