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Choosing the right agent

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“but that is what my agent told me!” says the irate client who was complaining at the office of a very reputable developer who might be expecting the super amenities that were presented to them, or the additional appliances that were supposed to be included when they purchased the unit or the surprise additional payments that were not disclosed to them at the time of reservation or many other reasons.

On the other hand, a very satisfied client talks to all her friends and tells them how happy she was in making her purchase decision from a start-up developer based on the advice of her trusted agent. This is her same agent who has been selling her projects done by other bigger developers.

While we always advise the buyers to do their due diligence before making a long term commitment in property investment, very few people actually do this and simply decide based on the information provided by the sales agent. In many cases, these are agents that they do not even know and who they have just met may be in the malls or online. (Actually, it gives one more time to research and decide if they are communicating with agents online.) They may not have any plans of buying a property but because of the agent’s exciting presentation, backed up with very impressive collaterals, they easily decide on the spot, especially if the initial amount involved seems to be very light and affordable. If the client is already sitting on the fence, a little nudge, through discounts or a buyer’s incentive will usually do the trick if the agent has sharpened his closing skills very well.

Most of the developers, especially the major players who have been in the business for decades and who intend to exist for more generations, really mean well and intend to give the best products within the selling price. They also provide their agents sufficient training and direct their agents to present based only on the technical fact sheets and officially authorized claims and commitments. However, out in the field, the agents will also have their own way of presenting, with the objective of closing, based on what they have understood, what they have remembered, their selling and closing skills, experience, motivation, pressure, ethics and of course even moral values. This is the reason why most of the collaterals that you will see have disclaimers typed in small prints at the bottom informing the readers that these are either just architect’s perspectives and are subject to change without prior notice or that the buyers are advised to make their due diligence. But of course, very few agents will point this out.

It has been studied that most buyers still base their buying decisions on the agents and not really the company. This is the reason why it is really advisable that we know our agents well. While I do not really mean that it should take time and literally have long bonding experiences with the agents. If satisfied clients that you know referred them, then that is better. If they are total strangers, you may delay the decision for a day or two, ask for Broker’s License or even their Accreditation as a Salesperson, google them, check out their profile on Linkedin, Facebook or other social media.

Also, ask who their direct superiors are. It would be best if you can talk to them and confirm if what were presented to you were all factual. You may also call or email the company that they are working for to check if they are really officially connected or accredited with the company. You may also ask for their track record and professional background and how long they have been in the business or with the company.

Finally, you may test their knowledge not only about the project or the company but ABOUT YOUR BENEFITS AND PROTECTION. This may be about the return on your investment, the possible risks involved, the taxes that you may have to pay in case you decide to sell or even lease out the unit, your rights as a buyer, your options in case you might miss on some payments, the process if you decide to transfer the ownership before the turnover of the unit, and many more. This exercise is not only educational but will also somehow give you peace of mind that you are dealing with someone who knows what he or she is doing. It would also be best if you take notes during these discussions and let them see that you are doing so. If you have also made some special arrangements, it would be best if you have this written and have the agent sign it. This will be a handy reference in the future.

You will be entrusting your hard-earned money for a long term commitment with a major investment to someone you hardly know. So, choose your agents well.

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