By Jane Kilalea
THERE is a general impression among the public that the estate agency business is practiced by housewives on a part-time basis – who sandwich selling houses between gym, bridge, tennis and th
e school run.
I was of the same opinion and as a result when I decided to sell my house gave it to half a dozen different agents and then withdrew it a few weeks later without a second thought after a number of them had made a considerable effort to sell it. It never occurred to me the level of disappointment that they may have suffered.
Having withdrawn the property and quite coincidentally I landed a contract to handle the public relations and advertising for the launch of Kennan Properties whose yellow and green signage you may have noticed. During this contract I got to know the sales team in depth and my observations of the team at work has caused me to totally change my mind.
I now see how hard property negotiators have to work. They deserve their crust far more than many other worthy professions. Far from being part timers looking for a distraction, these property negotiators are serious about their business and often the family breadwinner. Selling property is not the easy ride it’s made out to be. For starters it is extremely hard to get properties to sell and when you do most sellers want far more than the market could possibly pay.
Sellers often change their minds as do buyers and for every successful sale numerous disappointments have to be endured.
Whilst the commission earned can be very attractive, failed sales earn no money at all and often months of toil on a particular sale result in disappointment. It is not unusual for negotiators to earn nothing at all for months at a time.
If that’s not hard enough, the work related costs of cellphones, cars and so on are considerable. Because they work on commission agents are expected to be all things to all people at all times of the day or night. Forget that family braai, school sports day and numerous social events. These get crossed off the calendar. When your phone rings you jump.
Contrary to the reputation that this profession seems to have attracted along with car and insurance salesmen – I haven’t met a con artist yet, in fact they have all proven to be honest, hardworking and caring people.
I am so impressed with the people that I have met in the industry that I am going to give it a go myself.
With luck I will be knocking my sign in near your front gate soon.