Advice for buyers

5 Sep 2014

Currently, it is a seller's market, with properties being scarce & buyers abundant. Which all means that a buyer may find it frustrating to find a property or get the attention of estate agents. For estate agents, it may be equally frustrating being inundated with requests, but having little knowledge as to buyer's requirements. Here is some advice I wrote a while back which may give the prospective buyer insight and help:


"Emailing guide for the prospective Property Buyer."

Ever wondered why your email requests get little or no attention from an estate agent or any other service provider for that matter?

Imagine the following scenario: “Mr/Mrs” Estate agent gets an email, from an unknown person, with an unknown surname, no apparent land line number, and no further details. The request is either for “more details” or to “arrange to view” a property. Often, one “buyer” sends multiple general requests, from multiple websites, & multiple properties in multiple price ranges to Mr/Mrs Estate Agent. Bear in mind that this may be one of many such requests, amongst a number of newsletters, special offers and junk mail the estate agent gets everyday.

Furthermore, the estate agent is trying desperately to get through these masses of emails so as to be able to assist possible clients, being either sellers or buyers as well as look for new business & attend to a host of other administrative tasks. To be listed by Mr/Mrs Agent as an actual serious, willing & able buyer, here are some of the questions you may therefore be asked to answer, for the following reasons:

-"Are you looking for an investment or to move in yourself?" A vital question as many properties have a long lease agreement & though this may be suited to the investor buyer, it would be a problem to a prospective owner occupant. Tenants often also feel “threatened” when we show “their” homes to people who obviously want to move in themselves. Therefore we need to be “discreet” and specific.

  • "Specific occupation date requirement?" An important consideration as often a specific date and/or notice period is a requirement.

-"Does property need to be pet-friendly?" The vast majority of complexes are gradually phasing pets out, many have a “blanket ban” on pets, others have specific criteria. It is thus important for us to know whether “Fluffy & Brutus” are part & parcel of your “family”.

-"Confirmable contact details, landline?" For security as well as ease of cost effective communication with lengthy telephone discussions, we often prefer & assume most people have some form of confirmable contact details, such as a landline.

-"Maximum price range?" An obvious yet often neglected question, as it really would not help us showing properties far beyond your “reach” or way below your “standards”. That would be wasting everyone’s time. It is also the best way for Mr/Mrs Estate Agent to get fired when the property owner realizes that the buyer is looking for a R300000 property while he/she owns a R500000 property!

-"Accommodation required?" What an obvious requirement. Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc, etc

-"Area preferences?" There is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” area, as this is merely related to price & therefore very subjective. Your personal preferences & budget are the determining factor here.

-"Any specific preferences?" People and their needs are vastly different. For example, a growing family would find it an advantage to be across the road from a school, while people who have no children & may even dislike them, would prefer to stay out of “earshot” from the local playground.

-"Any specific likes & dislikes?" Maybe you have had a hip replacement and are elderly? Then you may dislike climbing 3 flights of stairs. This would be an example of an important “dislike” that Mr/Mrs Estate Agent needs to be aware of.

-"Specific complexes of interest?" An experienced & “good” agent knows his/her complexes. Therefore, based on the buyer’s opinion & feedback regarding complexes seen, etc, he/she is able to create a good idée of what buyer likes & dislikes, thereby saving time & effort wasted on taking the buyer to unsuitable complexes.

-"Do you require assistance to ascertain finance requirements regarding deposit, costs & maximum bond you would qualify for?" So many people want to view first & then worry about the finances. A good estate agent can refer a prospective buyer to a good bond broker before going on a “shopping” spree. A good bond broker keeps abreast of the prevailing financing options & banking criteria & qualify a buyer so that the buyer and/or estate agent can “shop with confidence”.

The internet can be a useful tool to sift through & shortlist suitable properties, thereby eliminating those that are unsuitable, not priced realistically etc. It can also, however be a way to “get lost” among the hoards of nameless, impersonal enquiries.

In a time where we all suffer from short attention spans, we sometimes don’t read emails properly & don’t follow requests & then wonder why we are’nt getting service.

Help us help you by answering our requests so that we can help you with yours.

Flat & Townhouse Specialist-Menno (W)021 9103300, (C)082 4651057

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