Throughout the turbulent and unsettled periods in South Africa's history there have always been doomsayers who have been quick to advise potential buyers to rent rather than to buy property on the grounds that the future is uncertain, says Tony Clarke, managing director of the Rawson Property Group .
The arguments are backed by the undeniable fact that renting is likely to give the hesitant buyer a better home at a better address - temporarily. "Pessimists are once again advising renting on the grounds that South Africa's economy is struggling and the political changes over the next few years could be radical.
Lack of sales success
"It is particularly regrettable that certain estate agents have imbibed this negative attitude and blame their lack of sales success on the fact that the general public is now nervous about property purchases and renting is once again 'in'.
All too often agents with this negative mindset expect clients to come to them. "Throughout my career I have found that good agents firmly believe that property is the cornerstone of wealth and helping clients to build portfolios will always be to their benefit. This belief is ingrained in them and they manage to transfer it to those who they deal with. Furthermore, successful agents have learned that the tougher the times, the more the agent needs to get out, service, liaise with, educate, advise and guide his clients on an ongoing one-on-one basis."
Importance of personal contact
This, adds Clarke, means that contact cannot be limited to e-mailing. "We all recognise the fact that e-mailing and websites have transformed the estate agency world, making all our lives a great deal easier. However, and I cannot emphasise this too much; these technological aids must never be allowed to take the place of direct one-on-one contact."
A dedicated, service-orientated agent will drive his client around the areas he is interested in and show him, not only his own properties but those recently sold by other agents. He will also feed him the latest information on loan criteria from the banks and how to get the best deals and he will keep him in touch with all legislation which might affect his property. He may also suggest new financial strategies to make payment easier or to spread the load, but above all he will see the client regularly and not rely on the telephone and email.
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