A closeup real estate agent giving couple keys their new home

Agent vs DIY property transactions

Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property, a leading real estate group in southern Africa, has some serious concerns for those striking out on their own:

The first concern that springs to mind when I’m asked whether it’s better to DIY the business of property is security. Firstly, the security of your investment. Property is usually the most significant investment South Africans make in their lifetimes: Sellers need to know they will realise the full value of their property, buyers have to be assured they’re paying a market-related price, and landlords need to know their tenants have been vetted and are looking after the property properly.

Secondly, viewing homes without an agent, whether as a buyer or prospective tenant, can be risky. Apart from physical safety, there are numerous property scams. An experienced property professional will take steps to mitigate these risks, including:

• Meeting clients in public places for initial consultations

• Accompanying clients with property viewings

• Utilising technology such as video conferencing and virtual tours

• Having a clear safety protocol in place for managing viewing days

• Verifying the identity of all sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants

• Checking for any defects or liens on properties

• Doing entry and exit inspections

• Ensuring all contracts are legally binding

• Providing guidance on how to avoid common property scams

Real estate agents also have access to a network of other professionals such as lawyers and conveyancers, who can help protect their clients from fraud.

At Just Property, we are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of service and support, and we believe that using a real estate agent is the best way to ensure a safe and successful property transaction.

Other benefits of using a property professional

Local expertise and market knowledge: Real estate agents have a deep understanding of the local property market, including pricing trends, neighbourhoods and investment opportunities. This expertise can help clients find the right property for their needs and budget.

Time and stress savings: Buying, selling or renting a property can be a time-consuming and stressful process. Real estate agents can streamline the process by handling all aspects of the transaction, from scheduling viewings to negotiating contracts or leases.

Professional advice: Experienced property professionals can provide their clients with professional advice on all aspects of the property process, from financing to legal matters. This advice can help clients make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

Tenant screening and selection: Managing agents have experience in screening and selecting tenants. They can help ensure landlords are renting to responsible and financially stable tenants.

Rent collection and management: Letting agencies can collect rent from tenants and deposit it into landlords’ bank accounts. They can also manage rent increases and other financial aspects of the tenancy.

Maintenance and repairs: This can be a major headache for landlords – managing agents have access to pre-approved service providers and take on all the hassle for you.

Dispute resolution: Managing agents can help landlords resolve disputes with tenants, which can help avoid costly legal action.

Help with home staging and marketing: Your agent can help you stage your homes attractively and market them effectively. This can help sell properties faster and for a higher price/achieve higher rentals.

Support after the sale: Real estate agents can provide their clients with support after the sale, such as helping them find a removal company or connect with local businesses.

Assistance with negotiations: Real estate agents can help clients negotiate the best possible price for their property. They can also help resolve any disputes that may arise during the transaction.

Using a real estate agent in South Africa offers several benefits including protection from physical safety risks and property scams, local expertise and market knowledge, time and stress savings, and professional advice.

Paul’s tips if you insist on the DIY route

Do your research: Learn as much as you can about the property process. This includes understanding pricing trends, legal requirements, and how to avoid fraud and scams.

Get professional advice: Consider hiring a lawyer or conveyancer to help you with the legal aspects of the transaction.

Be prepared to negotiate: You will need to be prepared to negotiate the price of the property and the terms of the contract.

Be patient: It may take some time to find the right property or tenant or to sell your property for the best possible price.

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