Difference between an estate agent and superglue?

December 18, 2015

Estate agents come in for a lot of flak. Almost as much as bankers. Yet part of the problem is that people don’t know what they’ve got until it’s not there. What do I mean by that?

Well some people underestimate the role a colleague plays in a team until they are absent and they have to make do on their own, only to find the significance and contribution behind the scenes the absent colleague made.

6486345-GLUE_confused DIYer-vsmIn this era of on-line agents trying to convince they can always get things cheaper, there are still those who know, on the whole, you get what you pay for. And whether an agent is online or not, the service offer remains fundamentally the same at its core.

I recently had a case where a couple, admirably, wanted to buy an apartment for a relative in Krakow Poland, so that she would have security of her own home and no more rental to pay for her and her son. There was a degree of urgency to do this, so that another batch of rental payments could be avoided.

Already the situation looked challenging, the UK-based couple were the buyers, yet the home occupier was in Poland. So we had this triumvirate situation where the UK couple relied on the relative to do all the viewings to ensure she was happy. Her ideal property did not readily exist in the desired location, at an acceptable price to the British couple and available in the timeframes stipulated. So the lengthy process of trade-offs started, once several rounds of viewings had taken place.

The UK-based couple were first time overseas buyers. Digital or arm’s-length forms of communication, were not comfortable for them. They were most at ease doing business face-to-face and least at ease with e-mail and the internet.

So trying to conduct a property transaction, in a short space of time, with buyers not used to using e-mail or the internet, but relying on face to face meetings to do financial transfers and transactions, was testing. In order to keep the buyers informed and prepared for the different way of buying in Poland, as the agent, I followed up emails with calls, to check receipt and understanding. What’s more, as it later turned out, the shared email account was only being checked by one buyer and the other was ‘out of the loop’. So when it finally came to making the transfer of monies, one buyer got rather distressed, not grasping the process or what was happening (in spite of regular and prompt email explanations as well as phone calls).

So for me, a big part of the value the property agent or estate agent brings, is in holding the property buying transaction together, from the buyer’s stated intent to final success of the transaction, a bit like superglue. It is only once many buyers have embarked on the journey that they realise there might be unforeseen issues or additional help they may need that an agent can provide and help with.

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Property Venture® is an award-winning, UK-based agency for overseas property who helps people buy investment property and holiday homes in Europe, more easily and safely than they can on their own, because we offer grounded common-sense advice.

The focus is mainly greater Europe: Poland property, UK investments, Spain property, Turkey property, Cyprus property

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