Have you ever contacted a real estate agent (or several agents) about a property they’ve listed and received no reply? Perhaps you threw a tantrum at their supposed ineptitude?

Real estate agents catch a lot of flak for just being real estate agents. Too much flak actually; if the countless articles online about how to spot and avoid bad agents or do without them are any indication. This is justified in some cases. It is however severely overrated in most.

House seekers are often to blame; the customer is king mantra notwithstanding. From impossible demands to plain ridiculous questions, real estate agents have a lot to deal with.

In order to work smart and efficiently, agents don’t take seekers seriously when they ask certain questions or exhibit certain quirks.

Below are some questions (and behaviours) house seekers should avoid in order to be taken seriously by agents when searching for their dream home.

  1. Avoid Repeated Inquiry and Don’t Ask Obvious Questions

    There’s nothing more annoying than being asked questions with very obvious answers. Don’t ask an agent what the price of a property is when it’s been boldly stated. Picture this, you put up an event poster with just three lines of text: Event, Date & Time and Venue. Then you get a call/message asking about those same exact details! That screams non-serious from a mile away. You certainly don’t want that if you’re dead serious about the property.

    Also, asking about other already-stated details (such as amenities, property location, number of rooms etc.) doesn’t cut it. We get it that you might want to confirm the details of the property first. Instead of asking for already stated details, perhaps you could ask, “Could you confirm it’s a two bedroom apartment?”. You’re more likely to get a response with this. Agents are more likely to engage with you if they know you took the time to study their listing and are just looking for confirmation.

  2. Don’t Leave Vague and Cryptic Messages 

    Texting an agent I’m interested is vague. Add some details like your name and availability. Ask about viewing times. Ask for details of the neighbourhood. It helps the agent determine what you need and also how to deal with you. You don’t want to be an afterthought, do you?

    Also, as smart as agents are, they don’t know everything and can’t think for you. Be nice and describe exactly what you’re looking for and don’t leave it up to the agent to figure out what you’re trying to say. You might be considered non-serious and your hunt for a dream home unnecessarily prolonged. Word of advice, don’t use shorthand in your correspondence whether via email, WhatsApp or SMS. Be specific and clear about what you want from the agent (more pictures, more details, payment process, viewing time, etc.).

  3. Don’t Describe A Different Property From The One Being Showcased

    You wouldn’t book an optician’s appointment for a terrible eye itch and start asking about foot rot, would you? Just as seekers do not like it when agents show them property different from what they called to be shown, same thing applies to agents seekers start talking about a property different from what was agreed upon for showing. Be specific. Unless discussions around the property fail or if it is no longer available (or some other factor), don’t start talking about a different property. It gives off an unfocused vibe and agents are quick to pick on it. Agents will, most likely, give you only half the attention even if you continue communicating.

  4. Don’t Rubbish Agency Fees And Commissions

    Agency/moving  fees may seem annoying at first, but if you approach the topic with some tact, agents might be willing to waive them if they are satisfied you are serious and not out to waste their time. “Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds” (Gordon B. Hinckley). Commissions, are how agents are rewarded for their efforts at helping seekers find property. Rubbishing commission rates as a negotiating tactic doesn’t only kill interest in working with you, agents won’t take you seriously. And even if they do honour your requests, you will only be offered half-baked services. As with payment for most products and services in Ghana, you may try to negotiate an agent’s commission. You just might be successful if your approach is not too off-putting. However, fighting over that with an agent will lose you the opportunity to get access to a house matching your reuirements or get you sub-par service that’s, frankly, not worth your time and money.

  5. Don’t Dictate Prices To Agents

    There’s absolutely nothing against negotiating a better deal in any endeavour; real estate is no exception. However, dictating the price of the property to the agent isn’t going to help you. Agents immediately lose interest once you start forcefully setting unreasonable prices you’re willing to pay.

    If you’re going to negotiate, please don’t suggest a quarter of the quoted amount. That’s insulting and enough reason for an agent to dismiss you as not serious. Real estate isn’t a roadside trade that can be negotiated down to zero. But neither are the prices set in stone. You can always negotiate but be polite and tactful about it.


Bottom Line

Real estate agents are human too and just doing their job. While house-seekers (and all buyers) are entitled to the best service money can buy, it is up to you to communicate in a manner that exudes seriousness. Home seekers must keep these pointers in mind if they are serious about renting property or purchasing real estate in Ghana. That notwithstanding, however, it is important for real estate agents to treat their clients properly in order to sell property quicker. Our must-read property selling secrets gives some pointers to help with that.