Why you still need that professional estate agent when buying a house

The search for a house that meets your budget and interests can often be an arduous one. In fact, it can be an overwhelming and time-consuming process unless you don’t mind making home shopping a part time job. Although many people report that buying a house can be quite stressful, a professional estate agent is in a position to match you up with perfect property choices thus making house-hunting a satisfying venture. Research suggests the process isn’t as simple as many people presume and that it can really help to have an expert by your side.

8 Reasons Why
1. Registered Estate Agents Are Regulated
In Kenya, licensed real estate agents abide by a code of ethics and are regulated by the Estate Agents Registration Board (EARB). Registered estate agents are duty bound to deal honestly with all parties in a transaction. The real estate market is replete with property deals gone sour and you should protect yourself from this by dealing with registered property agents who can be disciplined by their professional body, the EARB
Critically, the realtor is obligated to put the clients’ interests ahead of his own and is required to make full disclosure and be truthful during transactions and in advertising.

2. Pricing
Most real estate agents can set make a reasonable estimate of the value of a house the minute they walk through the door. If they have a lot of experience in a market, they know how well a neighborhood holds its value and will inform you if a property is worth the value being placed on it or it is a great deal you should consider seriously.

3. Handling Volumes of Paperwork
Property purchases involve a series of paperwork and an agent is best placed to handle such paperwork on behalf of the buyer. In addition, licensed agents are expected to keep full records of all transactions for several years. While you may (and should) keep files yourself, you can count on your agent to keep that information organised and safeguarded should trouble crop up with the property in years to come.

4. Advocacy
Dialogue with the seller may not always end up in an agreement. An agent can however push for requests (e.g. repairs, discounts), saving you the trouble of getting overly emotional about a deal. Your real estate agent also conveys your concerns to the seller thereby acting as an intermediary. He or she is in a better position to negotiate for a discount thus taking the heat off yourself.

5. Access to Unlisted Properties
This is particularly true in cases where sellers do not want their houses exposed to the public. Such sellers – and they are considerable in number, give the details of their properties to real estate agents and expect utmost confidentiality in marketing. In such cases, the agent will have more houses than are in his catalogue to show to a client which the interested buyer wouldn’t have known about by visiting the company’s public listing.

6. You do not pay anything to the estate agent
The estate agent is retained by the seller of the house and will be paid a commission by the vendor. It therefore makes sense to conduct property house searches through professional agents as you will not be charged any fees.

7. Buying Property is Capital Intensive and Can Be Risky
While investments in real estate are not as risky as those in capital markets, the amounts of money involved exposes the buyer to some risks. If transactions are not well managed, the buyer could lose the deposit if in breach of the sale agreement, fail to achieve projected rental incomes or suffer losses accruing from delays in construction. Mitigating these risks requires experienced and qualified estate agents.

8. Making the deal happen
This is perhaps the most important reason to use an estate agent. A purchase or sale typically takes 90 days to complete. However, transactions are known to go beyond this to 180 days and even a year in the case of mega deals. In this case, it is the astute realtor who can keep the deal on course while managing the expectations of all parties: vendors, buyers, their lawyers, financers and their lawyers among others.

Protect yourself from property fraudsters and give yourself the best bet of purchasing a good property at the best price possible by using qualified, certified and registered estate agents. If you use any of our trained estate agents at Citiscape, they will:
• Share properties within your budget and interests;
• Arrange property viewings at your convenience at no cost;
• Give you space to enjoy viewings without undue pressure to buy;
• Give honest responses to your enquiries regarding the property;
• Present a strong case for your offer to the seller;
• Keep an eye on conveyance lawyers to ensure they expedite your purchase;
• Monitor all aspects of the transaction – the search, the charge, transfer etc; and ultimately,
• Take the stress out of the home ownership process for you.

Remember, at Citiscape, our estate agents will keep you informed on trends thus giving you access to the best real estate deals in the market.

By Ms. Imelda Kigunda (BA) &
Mr. Peter Ndung’u (MEd, PGDE, DEAPM)
Sept 2018

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