The dos and don’ts in real estate transactions
Real Estate like I have always said, is a very unpredictable and a demanding venture as it involves transactions between human beings who are not perfect.
Know that behind every beautiful home and excitement you see the occupants or owners exhibit is a story of hardwork behind the scenes. In fact, some of these behind the scenes happenings you don’t get to see can be as exciting and smooth as can be or can be as bad and disappointing as can be.
My years of operation as an agent and now a certified broker at CBC Properties has not been smooth as appears now. I have made mistakes and closed some great deals. Similarly, I have seen how the mistakes of clients have led to some huge loses and litigations while others have had a smooth closure.
All these experiences sum up what makes the team at CBC Properties trustworthy and a brand known for dealing in litigation free properties. It is my hope that the following lessons will be a good guide in making your next real estate transactions easier.
Always Do Your Background and Research
Whether you are the one selling or buying or renting out or the tenant, it is important to do your homework well.
Since real estate transactions are to most people the biggest investment in their lives, particularly buyers, it is key to dig deeper about the property in question before allowing money to exchange hands. Every information is relevant to ensure you don’t lose out and have big regrets later. You can always start with;
*what property do you want and why you need the property in question?
*Who are the owners, how long have they owned?
*What is the history of the property in terms of when it was constructed, who and how many people have occupied it before you?
*Why are they selling or renting out?
Last but not the least,
*what is the price range for similar properties?
Your homework should also include the agents involved, thus both the buyer’s agent or the agent representing the seller (seller’s agent). Same applies to agents playing a dual role of representing both the buyer and agent. It is also important to learn about the locality where the property is situated. How accessible is it to the school of your kids, your work place, market, place of worship etc.? You seriously have to consider security and safety.
Use an Agent for Easier Transactions
I am sure as you read about the background and research, you were asking how you were going to be able to do all that before concluding a real estate transaction.
In the past, real estate agents were mere middle men in Ghana who simply connect a seller and buyer together and get a cut for that (commissions). However, the complexities of life, busy schedules, paper work and litigation problems requires that real estate agents up their game to meet the needs of the market.
Thank God despite the many frauds associated with real estate transactions, there exist a good number of genuine and professional brokers in the country ensuring value for money and closing smooth deals.
To this end, you can have your homework done on a real estate deal properly if you rely on the assistance of a professional real estate agent, especially in big ticket transactions.
Should you be in need of such professionals, contact the Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR) on www.gar.com.gh. Since they have a tall list of brokers across the country, they should be able to provide you with a variety to choose from.
You may also rely on potent referrals from friends, business partners, relations who might have used the services of a good real estate broker. When you use the agent, you also benefit from his or her assistance to ensure quality paper work, negotiations, follow ups, home inspections, just to mention a few.
Real estate agents work on real estate transactions every day, and they have contacts who can help with mortgage, title, appraisals, inspections etc. Use them to your advantage.
Don’t Rush, Just be Patient
Please, Please and Please never set out to buy, sell, lease or rent a property in a rush or when you are very hard pressed. Although life is unpredictable and no matter what some people might end up with no choice but to quickly undertake a real estate transaction, as much as possible don’t rush through the process. The end of rushed transactions are mostly not good ones, especially in the case of buyers, sellers and tenants.
I always tell buyers not to rush, especially when the kind of property they are in search of abounds. I have seen a lot of clients keep changing their mind after every property I have showed them. In some cases, those who rushed to choose, regretted not waiting to see the next two or three properties I had recommended. While those who were patient got more than what they bargained for at a price lower than their intended budget.
I understand that some have the urge of locking a property down with the fear of another scooping them, but that will be understandable if your agent has shown you a good number of properties already. Be that as it may, taking time to scrutinize the transaction process and terms should not be sacrificed.
Another reason you don’t have to rush is that, living in a property that you are not satisfied with, can be depressing. You don’t want that in this hot Ghanaian weather coupled with its unpredictable economy. Never Assume
In my early days in the business, I use to assume all clients knew exactly what they wanted.
As time went on it became clear that clients, be it sellers, buyers or tenants had an idea of what they wanted but on seeing the properties their minds kept changing. Sometimes, that can be frustrating for brokers and agents if they are not patient.
To me, it not advisable to create a perfect house in one’s mind, but be specific of what one wants and needs and what one doesn’t want in a house. You can also indicate the negotiable and non-negotiable needs and wants to guide choosing of the property and the transaction.
It is after this is done and deal is closed that you can make the house perfect for you.
Clients should also not assume that agents or brokers have a magic wand to get them what they want, but rather work with them as a team and develop the list above and work it out till that perfect property is closed.
Be Honest and Transparent
Both Clients and Agents must be honest with each other. Usually sellers would want to hide certain alterations or flaws of a property from the agent and for that matter the buyer for the fear that it will affect his or her listing price.
The buyer will also want to lie about exactly what he or she will be using the property for to also save money on the negotiations. Some agents too might want to keep the clients in the dark about something in order to have their commission intact.
All three scenarios are punishable by law should the affected party take it to court. As agents, it is important to be honest and transparent in your dealings as your survival in the business is based mostly on referrals.
As a seller, the agent knows how to help communicate and market your property to get the right buyer without having to lie or hide anything. Same applies to the buyer or the one renting. Explain your situation in full to the agent. He has been doing this for a living and will do all he or she can to meet your need. Even if he can’t, his network and colleagues will come handy in meeting your need.
Don’t Be Emotional
As a result of the amount of money and investments involved in real estate, transactions can be very emotional and degenerate into something else. Be that as it may, try as much as possible to avoid the temptations of being emotional. Get your facts right and deal with the issues based on merits and demerits as presented.
A real estate agent or broker comes in handy in dealing with the emotional and sentiments attached to real estate transactions. As a buyer or seller, you are better off pouring your sentiments and emotions on the agent or broker so he or she keeps that in mind when facilitating the transaction so there is a win-win deal for all parties involved.
Share your story if you have some lessons to share. Till then, see you next week.
The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 0204225002