5 tips on how to spot the cowboy real estate agents
Summary: How do you identify a sincere, professional real estate agent? Drawing from experience with Kozin Real Estate Sdn Bhd, we delve into the question and give 5 indicators of a professional agent. we hope this will help you assess the agent selling you foreign property. We also hope you will avoid getting tricked by unethical and unprofessional real estate agents.
Firstly, I am not a disinterested party as I write this
My background is that I am digital marketer and a real estate agent for international real estate agency, Kozin Real Estate. Nevertheless, there are plenty of cowboy agencies out there, so I want to educate you on how to spot the more professional agents who know what they are talking about and will be with you throughout the buying process, holding your hand.
1. The agent, or certain agents in the agency must have visited the site and surrounds
With a huge glut of Australian property and even UK property being sold overseas, this is the most important thing to find out from the agent. Because Western countries are clamouring for the Asian market, a lot of agents have not even visited the country that they sell for. This is a determining factor of who knows their stuff and who are the pretenders. A good agent or agency has people who at least seen the development site rather than have no visitation to their stock and relying on brochures and broad brush statements to sell. Visiting the development site shows that they have real demonstrable knowledge of the property and can better advise you than someone who has never been there. So always ask the first question: Have you been to the site? when assessing the real estate agent's knowledge.
2. There is no two tier marketing
Two tier marketing is where a property is marketed for one price in one location and a higher price in another. Not only is is completely illegal in Australia to do so for even foreign projects, you have a right to be ticked off by such practices. A good agent always ensures the price you pay remains the same. These days a simple Google search can sometimes determine if there is two tier pricing.
3. A good agent is not petty
Whilst a booking fee may not be binding by law as belonging to the developer, a good agent is never petty. So long as there is genuine goodwill, the agent will always refund a booking fee in full if you pull out. A good agent values the relationship and would preserve the relationship in case you return.
4. A good agent does not undermine other properties, but may highlight why theirs is more favourable
This trait may not be one you would agree with, but it is important and I will show you why. Many agents very clearly talk down nearby and comparable developments going on. They directly attack the location, the builder, the developer. This is unprofessional behaviour and should demonstrate to you that they have nothing to offer you except why not to buy another property. Almost every area and development have strengths and weaknesses and sometimes, despite the strengths and flaws - come down to price point at the end of the day. So it is sometimes difficult to use a blanket to say why one development is bad compare to the rest.
An agent who talks down other areas or developers is really showing how little he/she is invested in the foreign property's location as all they can do is be negative and lose sight that they may be selling in said talked down area in the future and find they had shot themselves in the foot earlier.
Good agents rarely talk down other developments because it may come back to bite them when they sell in the defamed area in the future. Agents who are that negative are only out for a quick buck.
5. A good agent makes you feel like buying rather than being pushed to buy
Real Estate is a selling industry. Nevertheless, those agents who make you feel comfortable, help you to be informed and do not make a hard sell are the better agents. No one likes undue pressure and good agents will spend more time informing you rather than push you to commitment.
As biased as I may be, I would like to believe the agency I am seconded to, Kozin Real Estate, has these five traits. We want you to feel at ease and safe when buying foreign properties from us, and will be your trusted property agents.