The role of a real estate agent

What you need to know

While there are many benefits of involving a trained and qualified real estate practitioner in the home buying, selling, or renting journey, it is important to understand what falls under an agent’s scope of work to avoid running into surprises.

According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, a real estate professional’s main responsibility is to sell and / or lease out homes on behalf of their clients.

“A real estate professional acts as the middleman between the buyer and seller, or between the landlord and tenant. Their core function is to play matchmaker between the homes on their stock list and the clients in their database. It takes years to build up a database of potential buyers that can be matched to a home, which is what makes a good real estate agent worth their weight in gold,” he explains.

Unless landlords and sellers are prepared to face many hours dealing with interested parties and arranging appointments, enlisting the help of a real estate professional will also save them time. “An agent’s role is also to screen potential buyers and tenants and ensure that the whole sales or rental process is handled efficiently.”

Secondary to that, a good real estate professional will also act as a trusted advisor. “As experts within their local markets, they should be able to provide clients with valuable insights on market trends and housing prices in the area. They can also guide clients through the process of signing an OTP or lease agreement and will then put clients in touch with other experts who will help along the journey, such as bond originators, compliance certificate issuers, and transferring attorneys,” he explains.

One of the most common misunderstandings arises when a defect is found on the property. “When defects are uncovered after a home is sold, it is important to understand that the responsibility does not fall on the real estate practitioner unless the seller told the agent and the agent did not disclose the information to the buyer or purposefully hid the information from the buyer,” says Goslett.  

Similarly, an agent is ultimately not responsible for how a tenant or landlord behaves. “The lease agreement is between the landlord and the tenant. While an agent is there to assist with any issues if they arise, they are simply the mediator between the two responsible parties,” Goslett explains.

“Real estate is among the most undervalued professions, as many falsely believe that it is easy to sell and lease a property. Those without the industry experience or expertise to list the home at a fair price and attract the right attention for it can end up costing themselves either in the resultant sales or rental price,” he warns.

The key is to choose the right real estate professional to ensure the best results. When searching for an agent, Goslett advises that clients should ask whether the person is qualified with a valid FFC and registered with the PPRA that regulates the industry; does the agent has a proven track record of completed sales; and, most importantly, whether is the agent affiliated with an established brand whose resources can be tapped into in to help sell the home in the quickest amount of time? “If the answer is yes to all these questions, then you will have the best possibility for a smooth sale or renting experience,” says Goslett.

Some of the most important people to know in your local community are the estate agents operating in the area.

According to the Seeff Property Group, agents do not only sell or rent property on behalf of their clients, but also have their ear to the ground in terms of what current property values are, how much properties might sell for, and what is happening in the property market.

With so many newcomers to the market, often making lofty promises of high prices and quick sales, it is easy for sellers to get caught up in the hype. A property that simply sits on the market with no or low offers can be very frustrating for buyers.

The role of a good agent in getting your property sold as fast as possible, and for the best possible price cannot be overstated, says Samuel Seeff, chairman of Seeff. A bad agent could leave you with a lengthy and frustrating sale process.

Regardless of when you are selling, but especially in the current market, it is important to ensure you choose the right agent for your property and market. If you are not aware of who the best agents in your area are, ask around for recommendations from neighbours or friends.

Always meet the agents in person before appointing them:

This will give you a chance to ask questions and assess the agents. Check how long they have operated in the area. Each area is different and local expertise is a vital point of advantage for any seller.

Look for a successful sales track record:

Ask for a list of their recent sales in the area, how long it took to sell, and the prices achieved. A strong sales record is an important indicator of the likelihood of success and that the agent could find the right buyer for the property.

A strong brand and network is another advantage:

An established brand will have a strong online presence for maximum exposure to your property backed by the latest technology and marketing and sales methodologies. They will use best practices to market and sell your property.

Look for someone who will assist every step of the way:

Selling a property is a complex process with many legalities to be taken care of. A good agent will explain the process and guide the seller to ensure they have all the necessary documents and maintenance done for an efficient selling process.

Choosing the right agent to sell your home cannot be over-emphasised, especially if you are selling right now as you will not want to waste time, says Seeff. Choose the right agent and ensure you follow their advice.

Article courtesy of property24