The Knowledge That Your Residential Estate Agent Should Possess (to ensure that you get professional service)

When dealing with different professionals it is relatively easy to comprehend that lawyers need to know the law and doctors need to know medicine and accountants need to know accounting practices, but what about your estate agent? What is it exactly that you, the client, can expect your estate agent’s knowledge base to be? The four most obvious aspects would be the following:

 

  1. The residential estate agent that operates in a certain geographical area should be aware of the local market conditions, i.e. the number of sales and rentals that take place monthly/annually, the average ages of buyers and sellers (so as to able to understand their target markets), the financial trends with respect to mortgaging and or cash buyers.

 

  1. The agent also needs to be totally au fait with all costs involved in –

2.1 purchasing a property (optional deposits, mortgage bond costs, conveyancer’s fees, Transfer Duty vs VAT, Deeds Office Registry Fees, Municipal provision for Rates and Taxes, possible occupational consideration and even the possibility of being held liable for payment of the Seller’s taxes if the seller is a non-SA resident!), and

2.2 the costs involved in selling a property (compliance certificates,  Rates and Taxes clearance certificate, bond cancellation fees and possible penalties, estate agent’s commission, possible Capital Gains Tax if the property is not the seller’s primary residence, or even if it is,    and the gain exceeds R2m or the size of the property exceeds 2ha).

 

  1. A professional estate agent must be aware and have a good knowledge of the Acts pertaining to estate agency, property sales and ownership. This would include the impact of the following acts on you the client: The Alienation of Land Act (ALA), The Estate Agency Affairs Act (EAAA), The National Credit Act (NCA), The Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), The Consumer Protection Act (CPA), The Community Scheme Ombud Service Act (CSOSA) etc.

 

  1. Any agent should have an excellent knowledge of all the legal aspects pertaining to all contractual aspects of purchasing and selling, especially the terms and conditions of the agreement of sale in particular and the general principles of contract. Very pertinent issues would inter alia be, e.g. ‘What is included in the sale?’; ‘Defects and the Voetstoots clause’; ‘Occupation and Occupational consideration’; Cooling Off Rights’; the timing of Risk passing to the purchaser’; ‘the meaning of Suspensive and Resolutive conditions’; the requirements for a valid Offer to Purchase and a valid acceptance’.

 

It is your right as a consumer to be served by an estate agent who possesses the above knowledge and complies with the Estate Agents Affairs Act in all respects, so don’t be shy to ask the questions. We will discuss the compliance aspects in the next issue.

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