The cry of estate agents in Ghana

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Real estate

Players in the real estate industry are considered wealthy, unfortunately, the story of a real estate agent in Ghana is divergent. All successful, financially well-off real estate agents have faced unfairness and unfairness from the industry.

Real estate brokers/agents act as intermediaries between producers (owners) and consumers (tenants and buyers). The real estate agent is any person who negotiates or acts on behalf of a single person in a transaction for the sale of real estate, whether it is land, an apartment or a building. , in the name of sales or rentals. Agents earn a commission on transactions they close or help other agents close. Introducing persons, potential buyers, sellers and tenants to each other in such transactions are considered agents.

The real estate agency in Ghana has grown rapidly; however, it is not yet well accepted by most consumers. The real estate industry has been like a city without walls – people come in and out without regulation or licensing.

The Estate Agents Act 2020 (Act 1047) was to regulate agents and their dealings. Unfortunately, we have yet to see the impact of the law because the Board of Realtors has not been well resourced to start full operations. To date, we do not have any authorized agents in Ghana. Anyone can wake up one day and start practicing as an agent. Thanks to some professional bodies like the Ghana Association of Estate Brokers (GAREB) and others who have provided training and guidance for greater professionalism in the estate agency sector.

In line with the agents providing their services, they face several injustices/injustices from their clients. These include:

1. Refusal of the owners to pay the commission. If you work for the landlord, you are entitled to your commission from him by finding him a tenant or a buyer. Some landlords overlook their agent’s commission on the pretext that the agent may collect a commission from the tenant. Some landlords see no reason to pay an agency commission for “just bringing a client” as they usually say. Agents go through a lot of expense in marketing the property for a fee (social media, banners, signs, etc.), the cost of nurturing marketing-generated leads (response time to customers, communication cost , transport cost, etc.) and closing cost . After all this, some agents are cheated by some landlords when it comes to commissions.

2. Refusal of the tenant or the buyer to pay the commission. Agents have suffered at the hands of some clients who contact them for assistance in applying for a rental or sale but refuse to pay the commission due to them. Based on my personal experience, I generally sign an agency contract with my client. Unfortunately, since last December, a client that I accompanied in his rental request still owes me my commission. Clients are also of the opinion that since you are bringing money to the owner, it is up to him to pay the agent’s commission. Well, agents have to go through certain places to search for more options for the benefit of a customer (buyer/seller). After all that, some customers would prefer none, and the agent would have to go the extra mile to find other options. Sometimes, after all these options, the client switches to other agent options without paying the agent he hired before.

3. Circumvention by Customers and Other Agents. In my practice as an agent, clients who don’t want to pay commission usually find ways to make deals with landlords without the knowledge and involvement of the agent who took them there. I remember showing a potential buyer a house in Accra. This buyer has requested a site plan to search at the land commission. Before I knew it, she was looking up the owner’s contact details on social media for direct contact with the attempt to get me out of the process. There have been many times when clients will tell you that they are not interested in a property but then go and buy without your knowledge. Agents can work to obtain options for a customer request. Some would not plan a visit with you, but with the photos and features of the neighborhood, they visit the property you present to them without your help. On the other side, some agents pose as clients in order to acquire details of a property presented to them by other agents so that they bypass it instead of sharing the commission. Agents must do business, close deals, and share commissions to avoid unhealthy competition and greed. There is nothing wrong when an agent with a buyer (buyer’s agent) contacts another agent with an agent (seller’s agent) to get a deal done and share the commissions involved. This makes inter-agency relationships beautiful and healthy.

4. Customer Authorized Third Parties Taking Business from Agents. People like family and friends who view the property on behalf of clients usually end up discouraging clients from dealing with agents who don’t share the commission with them. Other reps go so far as to link up with agents to raise prices for personal gain. Some fellow officers have complained bitterly about the way some lawyers have taken their cases away from them. Some attorneys who assist the client with documentation may end up discouraging the client in order to impose other options that they can directly benefit the client, to name a few. A recent experience that I personally had was with land in Aburi. I found about five (5) options for this client who hired me to secure land for her in Aburi. Since she was out of the country, she asked a family friend to see on her behalf. My team traveled all the way from Kwashieman to Aburi for viewing. This gentleman did accordingly. The next message I received from my client was “great, Eben. Paul gave me his feedback and I will come back by selecting one of the options seen”. One could be assured of a 5% commission of the selling price and even having that money on a budget. A few days later, I get a call from this rep, by the name of Paul, arguing with me over the price by adding another zero (which is ten times the price).

I corrected him that the price he quotes is higher than the price. After a follow up from my client, she said “thank you Eben for the help. Paul promised to find us a better option in town”. You can predict the end of the story. Paul after knowing the areas went to get another property nearby for the client.All because I disagreed with his assessed price which was ten times the price of the property.

People working only as an agent can sometimes conclude only one sales commission contract earned in 3 months. Real estate transactions can be duds for small things. Even at checkout, a buyer can see a defect and suddenly change their mind. It can also be difficult to negotiate with sellers to accept offers from buyers.

EBENEZER OPPONG ABOAGYE
MANAGING BROKER (SHELTER MART PROPERTY SERVICE LTD.)
VICE PRESIDENT – GHANA ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE BROKERS (GAREB)

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