Photo/File  Before parting with money, do background check on the potential agent.

Photo/File Before parting with money, do background check on the potential agent. 


Real estate agents play an important role in the property market in Kenya.

One obvious importance of these professionals is to link potential buyers to sellers. But that’s not all they do.

They can value your house based on current market conditions.

They can also provide valuable insight into major and minor renovations that would improve the value of your house, or make it more salable.

If you’re a buyer, finding the right realtor is one way of ensuring that you get a good property, and not one that’s a lemon.

With so many real estate agents around, it can be a daunting task to figure out which one you should choose.

Choosing a good realtor could be the difference of you selling your house within a week for way over your asking price, versus your house not selling after 3 months and having to reduce your asking price.

You can never be too sure which agents have the ability to deliver on their promises.

It is therefore essential to always carry out a background check before you pick one.

The following five steps will come in handy when scouting for the right agent:

1. Carry out a detailed research that will help you identify the different service providers available.

For example, use the Internet to identify the different realtors who provide the services that you are looking for at a price that fits with your budget.

Other research tools that you can use include the Yellow pages and local property newspapers that are usually available around the city.

2. Ask people you trust. Talk to your co-workers, neighbours, family, and friends.

Ask them who they’ve used, and if they were pleased with them or not. If they weren’t, ask why not.

Ask if they’ve heard anything good or bad about particular agents, and ask for their recommendation.

Find out from your colleagues, family or friends if the agent you are being referred to has a good reputation.

3. Contact each agent you have identified as a candidate, and find out more about their services directly from them.

If you’re too busy, call or email them. However, if you have a bit of time, meet with them at their office.

You’ll get a better “feel” for the person if you meet them in person. A good, upbeat, positive personality goes a long way in the real estate business.

Why? Because the more realtors like and trust each other, the more inclined they are to send each other customers.

Before you meet with the candidates, develop a list of questions that you wish to ask them to ensure you find the right match for what you need.

4. Among the many indicators of a good agent is the service licence they hold, and any awards they’ve been given.

Make sure that you hire an agent who is fully registered and offers services that are in line with the province’s property markets rules and regulations in Kenya.

Presently, many consumer organisations offer information of the different documents to look at when seeking a genuine service provider.

Consulting with such organisations first before you go out looking for the right agent is an important step that you have to take. If they’ve been given any awards, find out what it took for them to win the award.

5. Before making your final choice, find out what the agent’s commissions are, and who is responsible for paying them.

Typically, the seller is responsible for 5 per cent commissions, split 50/50 with the buyer and seller.

Also, find out what is included in those commissions. Will the agent do open houses on a regular basis?

Will that include advertising costs? With these five things in mind, you should be able to find the right real estate agent for your needs.

Ensure the person you pick is well informed, understands the trade, is licensed, and has the pulse of the market on their fingertip.

The agent you pick will play an important role in the experience you have when buying or selling a house or property.

Property Leo