So, why picking a reliable property agent is hard? Simply because majority of us only buy once or twice in our lifetime.
My first time of buying home also not smooth with agent, especially I was misunderstood and really don’t believe in agents last time.
And actually the agent is senior and professional enough, just I am miseducated by my “circles” last time.
It’s not what we can get to work with 20 agents and spot out the right one without dealing further after the sales concluded.
Without proceeding further, how we could have experience in practice?
Fortunately, there are some clues to look for:
First, before clues and the most common sense one,
Always ensure the property negotiator is attached with licensed agency by MIEA (Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents).
Their license number should be prominently displayed on their name card, website, social media profile, listing and etc..
You can check wether they’re registered here.
1. look at the property agent’s sales materials
Especially this year 2020, Malaysia property market seem yet to recover, market remain soft & “down time”, the picture of property listing & descriptions seem to improve in quality. The reason?
When the market turns bad, fly-by-night agents will leave in groups by default simply because of their quality work.
The few agents that persist in selling property, even during economic downturns, are the ones who’ve truly made a career of it.
And for the most part, it shows in the way they present things.
These agents actually set up the house before taking pictures, so you won’t see plastic bags and coins on the dining table.
Their listing description is well written, emphasizing nearby amenities, suggestions, modes of transportation, etc…
Rather than a huge text wall that says “Buy Now! Good deal! Only 2 units left! Malaysia, the best-selling apartment in Batu Kawan!”
These signs may be a little different, but this is a sure way to find a reliable property agent, they care about the details and do things right.
2. If you are selling or renting, see how they handle the property when they visit
It’s a simple giveaway. Reliable property agents will do more than once.
We have seen agents doing things such as confirming the first impression of a house and whether it feels like home (Cleanliness).
And sometimes they have to be “the bad guy” to persuade you to spend some money to touch up little bit, just to increase the value of your house effectively.
Lazy agents often just hang out, take a few photos, and go out in a few minutes.
All they have to do is make a list, collect money if someone answers, and don’t talk to you after the first few views.
3. Ask a question you already know the answer
Pretend to be ignorant and ask something you already know the answer to (eg, ask about the maintenance costs charged by the estate, even if you already know).
A reliable property agent will usually know the answer. If not, they will find the right answer first and get back to you later.
Beware of agents who give you the wrong answer; even if they‘re not lying, it means they don’t know enough about their job.
At the very least, they should be honest enough to tell you that they need to check.
4. Note if they’re listening to you, through the properties they show you
A reliable property agent will take you into the property that suits your needs.
If you already mentioned that you looking for small home that easy clean up and mostly wanted for lifestyle comfort,
and the agent shows you a 3 bedroom with super deal, then… guess who didn’t pay attention to your needs.
Some agents don’t listen to you at all, they just try to sell these properties with the best commission.
They will design the “best of the best” house you can afford, not the most suitable one.
We’ve seen some better agents refer customers to others because they don’t have the right listing for that particular homeowner.
5. A reliable property agent tells you about commission even before asking
Good agents are serious about disclosure. An agent is supposed to reveal to you any potential conflict of interest, and all sources of referral fees.
If you ask them to help with your mortgage loan, for example, they can refer you to their banker who may serve you better;
but they should immediately add that they’ll receive a referral fee from the bank.
The same goes when you ask them to recommend an interior designer, contractor, and so forth – professional agents dare to disclose if they’re receiving money, from anyone they direct you to.
And guess what? After getting quotation and compared, their referral can be better deal somewhat…
It’s simply they are good in relationships with theses and giving “big numbers” of business to the suppliers, it’s Givers Gain.
6. They have more specific numbers to explain
It doesn’t make sense to say “rental in the area will go up.”
Despite the current rental market, especially since 2015 after the peak, the rental rate has slightly dropped.
But by 2018 to 2019 the rental has increased from RM 1.18 per square foot to RM 1.36 per square foot, which is a sign of deep understanding.
The easiest way to spot a reliable property agent is to see if their answer is specific.
Agents who know what they are talking about can show numbers and the source;
They may have saved articles / webpages / agency reports on the tablet to show you.
Less competent agents will shy way from giving you specific answers.
Although this alone does not imply malicious intentions, it indicates that their suggestions lack the expertise to support them.
7. The agent is well known about the upcoming development in the area.
Any good & reliable property agent should familiar with the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s master plan, which is actually the Bible for Malaysia’s real estate industry.
The master plan predicts developments in the area, from rezoning laws to plans for upcoming train stations, shopping centers, industrial parks, and more.
A good & reliable property agent should be able to explain these details.
If your agent response given is blur blur one, you may be dealing with a rookie (or someone too lazy to do their homework). Such agents may be honest, but you must consider their possible ignorance.