My estate agent horror

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

Johannesburg - A Fin24 user would like the property industry to take another look at the commission paid to estate agents.

She had a rude awakening after using an estate agency when she sold a property for the first time and would like to get the ball rolling on the debate about this issue.

Ingrid writes:

I am horrified about how poor the service from estate agents is, yet they expect massive amounts in commission.

I recently sold my house - something I have not done before - so I would call myself a novice at it. I, therefore, sought expertise in the form of an estate agent.

The agency I used is well known and one would expect the best from them. Not this time.

Why is it right to pay them over R66 000 commission for doing nothing except have the buyer? Is this indeed fair?

Yet they sit in the meeting and offer you their pedigree of how awesome they are and what they will do for us and nothing materialises.

Let me give you the scenario:

We had decided to sell. The remaining term of our bond (home loan) is three years or less.

We approached the agency and they said they had a few buyers who were interested.

Before this we did notify our tenants of our intention to sell - not that the property had been sold already, but that we had the intention to sell and would give them sufficient notice should it be sold.

We were indeed lucky that the first offer was from a cash buyer. We accepted the offer and so did the buyer.

The agency immediately told us we needed to cancel our bond, as they need three months' notice. Why did they not tell us this in the first place? They only told us after we signed the deal and they knew they would get paid.

We became worried as a penalty could be hefty. They kept telling us not to worry, everything would be fine. Well, I indeed ended up paying a penalty of R16 000. How is this fine?

To make matters worse I had to try and liaise between the seller and tenants. The tenants wanted to move out before we had even given them proper notice.

My understanding was that the agents said they would deal with it, but they didn’t. The tenants were stranded a week into the new month during which they were supposed to be out already and had no place to move to.

The agency did not help to find them a place until the last minute.

They did not inform the buyer that occupational rent had to be paid. The buyer didn’t know this and would not have been in a hurry to move in had he done so.

It was a back and forth situation from the start, with us having to force them to do anything.

To top it off, they said they would collect the keys from the tenant and do an inspection. If I was supposed to do this inspection, I was never informed. Like I said, I had never done this before. In hindsight I should have.

A few days later I received a phone call from the buyer to say a door was missing. The agency had done the inspection and did not notice anything missing, and the tenant said he did not remove it.

So what now? Now we are to blame. I feel it is the estate agents who again did not do their job.

You trust them to be experts in their field and that they should be used to this, but it seems like they are the novices.

Should agents only get paid once satisfactory service has been delivered?

We in the financial services industry are constantly blamed for taking money without delivering a service. It is time the same happens to estate agents: no service, no pay.

Why should we learn these lessons afterwards? Surely that is indeed why we go to a specialist?

I am a very disappointed client.

ALSO READ: Property owners not liable for old rates, taxes

- Fin24

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published in the Property Issue have been independently written by members of the Fin24 community. The views of users published on Fin24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent those of Fin24.

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