In a rising market agents scramble to secure good listings. It’s a fact that the best agents are the agents with the best listings.
Sadly though, in their drive for listings some of the feedback we’ve received is that buyers feel they are often neglected. This frustration isn’t something peculiar only to South Africa.
I’m writing this from Australia where I’ve just attended an international real estate conference, and buyers here share the same frustration. So what are the reasons for this and can buyers to anything to ensure they receive the service they deserve?
One of the reasons that agents may be reluctant to commit too much time and energy to buyers is the high “fall-over” rate of sales. This is usually due to the buyer not qualifying for the finance they require in order to purchase – which sometimes happens in up to 50% of sales.
An agent can spend days, even weeks, with buyers – driving them around to view dozens of properties in search of their dream home. Consider the frustration and waste of the agents’ resources when a sale falls through due to the finance application failing.
Agents work on commission only – so they need to commit their time to the most productive aspect of their work. Taking out unqualified buyers to view property understandably doesn’t qualify as a good use of their limited time.
So what can a buyer do to change this? Mortgage brokers such as Ooba and others are now able to pre-qualify a buyer, giving them a very accurate indication of what finance they will qualify for. Preliminary credit checks are done, and in the majority of the pre-qualification cases the buyer receives the bond they were pre-qualified for.
If you are a serious buyer it will pay you to get pre-qualified. This service costs you nothing other than a little of your time. But what it does do is indicate clearly to an agent that you are a serious buyer with the means to purchase.
When you enquire on a property as a pre-qualified buyer you significantly increase your profile in the eyes of the agent, and the sellers. You’ve taken a large percentage of the risk of your purchase falling through, out of the equation.
When you take this step an estate agent will be much more willing to dedicate their time and resources to helping you source your perfect property. Agents have differing service levels, but if you are pre-qualified there are tangible benefits for you.
Some agents can load you on their database system to alert you of suitable listings even before they go to the market. This gives you first bite at offering on a property before other buyers start to compete for it. Let’s face it – the best listings sell quickly – so when do you want to know about them?
So if you want the service you deserve speak to a mortgage originator to get yourself pre-qualified and then work with an estate agent who goes the extra mile for you.
Principal, Harcourts Platinum
Director, Harcourts South Africa