should use a good agent to sell your home
The traditional way property owners have marketed their property for sale and for rent in Abu Dhabi has been to give the unit to as many agents as possible in hope of a quick deal. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the world where units are either given to brokers exclusively, so that they can do a proper job of marketing them, or the unit is given to a select circle of trusted brokers who again will market the property for you.
The origins of the UAE system are unclear but a lot of it has grown up around the old market, pre-2000, where there was very little stock and it was all controlled by a few big local families. As such landlords never had to pay fees to brokers to rent their stock and so brokers had to get their fees from the tenant. Because the landlord isn’t paying anything for a broker they are not concerned about the quality of the broker’s they’re using – something along the lines of “Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth”, if it is free then why bother about the quality? Here is why you need to care which brokers are marketing your unit and why having a “Relationship Broker” will save you time and money:
1) When was the last time you went on a property portal and saw pictures of the actual property for rent/sale? The answer is if it is an apartment, or a villa in a big community, probably never. Agents use generic pictures which may or may not look like your unit. Are they lazy not visiting the unit to take pictures? No, they are just worried that while they are putting in the time and effort to take pictures and get the listing right the unit will have been rented by someone else. Get your Relationship Broker in as soon as the unit becomes available (before if you can), have them take pictures and share the listing.
2) How often to you pick up the printed press and see property adverts in it in Abu Dhabi? Almost never. If you don’t give a Relationship Broker then he isn’t going to go to the expense of advertising your property only to see someone else close the deal. If you have a Relationship Broker talk to them about how they can promote your unit before it becomes available.
3) If you unit is tenanted and you’re trying to rent or sell it you need your tenant to let in agents for viewings. Your tenant will not be happy getting calls from ten different brokers at all times of day. Use a Relationship Broker as the only point of contact with the tenant, that will keep them sweet and make it easy to view the unit.
4) The barriers to entry into the real estate market in Abu Dhabi and the UAE generally are very low i.e. almost anyone can become an agent with little or no training. Part of being a good estate agent is being able to close a deal. If your unit is for sale with multiple agents of varying ability then a buyer out in the market might call one who couldn’t close a door, let alone a sale. That buyer who was genuinely interested in your unit is now lost. Buyers are like gold, they are an asset to you, have them handled by the great broker you have picked to be your Relationship Broker, not just by anyone off the street.
5) How many people will come to your unit to view who are not serious about buying or renting? They will come disturbing your tenants and wasting your time because they have not been properly qualified or vetted by their broker. Make sure your Relationship Broker only brings you quality clients who are pre-approved and looking to close the deal.
6) When was the last time a broker updated you on any viewings of your unit such as what the client thought, what needs changing, any ways in which it can be presented better – or advised you honestly and impartially about how your unit should be priced? A Relationship Broker will do all these things.
7) How can you get you unit shared with lots of other quality brokers without you having to do it yourself, and if you do share them yourself how do you know you’re listing your property with reliable third parties. Your Relationship Broker should share their property with lots of other good agents so they can work together to list your unit. Incentivise your Relationship Broker to use other brokers by adding in a little more commission (an extra 1% for a sale or 2.5% for rental) and build this into the price. That way there is more to share and you will have a flood of people coming to view. Remember 2.5% of the rental amount is one week of rent.
8) It is worth noting that from a legal perspective if the tenant is paying the broker then the broker is legally bound to represent their interests and not yours. You aren’t paying them anything so they have no obligation to you.
Your Relationship Broker should give you weekly updates on who the unit’s details have been shared with and how many viewings have been done on it. Also tell them that you want all other brokers going through them, you don’t want to be bothered by every broker under the sun asking to drag their clients through your lovely house (this is particularly true if it is tenanted).
Be tough, be smart, find that great broker who will work hard for you and your investment and you will reap the rewards.
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