15 Mar 2012
The South African property industry has in the recent years experienced flat to negative growth affecting many, but 2011 was a good year for some.
According to Tony Ketcher, managing director of Seeff Randburg, some property companies recorded good figures managing to not only to contain their costs and retain their foothold in the market, but also increasing their market share.
Seeff Randburg was one such company which managed to increase its market share in the North-Western suburbs of Johannesburg.
“We have managed to consistently increase our market share over the last five years despite the decreased activity levels in the overall market,” says Ketcher.
He explains that overall 2012 in South Africa should be a year of relatively low interest rates and continued strict lending criteria from the banks.
“On the whole, there will be marginal house price growth although some areas will continue to reflect strong gains.”
Property prices are still dropping according to official figures from some banks, but this does not hold true across the board.
There will continue to be willing buyers and willing sellers and well-maintained properties in the right locations will continue to attain good prices, he says.
“Going forward, the real challenge for us is to meet negative factors and constraints by identifying gaps and opportunities for the future maximisation of area returns.”
Ketcher says to maintain or increase market share it is necessary to consistently look at optimising as many opportunities as possible to offset a difficult market, which is also beset by increasing costs, while continually upgrading and training estate agents to maintain a superior level of client service.
The old adage that you get what you pay for certainly does apply to real estate service, even more so during troubled economic times.
Buying your first home is one of the most important decisions of your life and quite possibly, the largest purchase you have made to-date.
Many people lack in-depth knowledge of the process and are not sure what an agent should or could do for them, he says.
“It is very important for buyers and sellers to ensure they are dealing with an informed and professional agent and company.”
When the property market is poor and buyers are scarce and wary, a skilled and knowledgeable estate agent is often crucial to achieving a transaction.
“Buyers and sellers frequently prefer to use a larger, more established property company, especially those that enjoy a good reputation, for service excellence,” says Ketcher.
The Seeff brand has become synonymous with a level of service that goes the extra mile.
Ketcher says his agents are not only well-qualified and experienced but are committed to the company’s primary consideration, which is to satisfy buyers and sellers’ needs with honest pricing, expert guidance and extensive area and industry knowledge.
“They are willing to assist wherever possible by bringing reassurance and information to clients to enable them to make informed property decisions.”
Seeff Randburg is fortunate to have agents with considerable tenure in the industry and the areas in which they operate, he says.
The longer the tenure of an agent in an area, the more valuable their input.
“We believe that this level of experience forms part of the right level of service,” says Ketcher.
He cites the examples of award-winning estate agents Elizabeth Godlewska and Rowena Ridden.
Godlewska operates in Malanshof and Ridden is in the Montgomery Park/Roosevelt Park area.
Both agents have over 20 years of selling experience in these areas and have a market share of up to 40 percent.
“Giving the client the correct information to make an informed decision is essential.”
Ketcher says buyers and sellers have become more demanding in terms of service levels and agents need a superior set of skills to effectively meet their needs.
These skills also include legal and financial knowledge and an in-depth knowledge of the market and the sector in which they operate.
“Our job isn't to tell buyers and sellers what to do, it's to counsel them and let them know what their options are.”
If you want the best result, you need to work with an agent who knows what they are doing.
When you have found a good agent, ask them about their company’s track record, look at their credentials and be prepared to pay a fair fee for excellent service, he points out.
Clearly, it’s not just about selling or buying a property, it’s also about the processes and costs that surround these transactions such as fair and honest valuations, obtaining finance and making sure that the client understands and chooses the best options for their needs.
It’s about building confidence in the agent’s ability to meet a client’s needs and ensuring the best possible and most productive experience, he says.
Seeff Randburg's commitment to service with integrity, skilled management, good market strategy and continuous investment in training and skills development has paid off.
He adds that this is evidenced by the branch’s achievements and growth in market share as well as the many satisfied Seeff clients in the North-Western suburbs of Johannesburg.
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