We’ve all heard stories about people buying land that belongs to someone else, or landlords unfairly raising the rent and kicking out tenants.
The thing is, Tanzania’s culture of oral agreements, with little documentation has made finding or buying a home quite risky.
As a result, you have to be incredibly diligent during both the search and negotiation stages and this makes finding or buying property incredibly time consuming.
So, whether you are looking for an apartment to rent, or trying to sell your house you may benefit from using a real estate agent .
After all, who better than a trained professional who is knowledgeable about the housing market and contracts to make sure you don’t get scammed. But once again, Tanzanians have a habit of hiring people they know, and while you may have friends and family members who can find you a home, it’s beneficial to do some research and ask a lot of questions before picking a realtor (a.k.a real estate agent).
1. How long have you been in the business?
Like with most professions, experience is important for realtors.
If you are trying to find an apartment or buy a house, an experienced realtor will know what to look for during the inspection, they’ll be comfortable negotiating the price, and are skilled in getting you additional benefits.
However, depending on your lifestyle interests, a realtor who is new to the game/‘fresher’ may be able to advice you better on current housing and neighborhood trends. They may also be eager to prove themselves and build a client list, and so could be more ambitious and determined in their work.
The same logic applies to when you are trying to sell a house. The realtor with experience has probably developed a winning ‘selling formula’, and knows how to read potential buyers.
Also note that if you’re are trying to sell a property, asking about experience isn’t just about number of years the realtor has been in the marketplace, it’s also about the number of sales they’ve made.
2. What geographic areas and types of properties do you specialize in?
For buyers or renters, your budget determines where you can live. Therefore, finding a realtor with in depth knowledge of the specific residential areas you are interested in, or others in your price range will make the search so much easier.
Moreover, different areas have different land regulations that only someone who has done their research will know. You don’t want to buy a home, only to be told a couple of years later that the land it was built on is too close to the road so ‘Bomoa Bomoa’ will be coming to tear it down.
Moreover, in addition to personal homes and land, people may want to find office space, summer homes, industrial buildings etc. So it’s important that your real estate agent has some experience with these types of properties – as they may require different inspections, contracts and have unique regulations.
3. How do you communicate?
Your realtor needs to be a fast communicator.
You may miss out on a great deal because they were too slow in telling you about it. So make sure they are available through email, social media and mobile.
Moreover, if you’re a seller, some agents maybe tempted to ‘ongeza chumvi’ (add salt = embellish) on the qualities of your property in order to make a sale. Be wary of these types of people as they may get you in trouble by making promises on your behalf that you have no intention of keeping.
Always ask yourself, does my realtor’s actions match what they say?
4. Can I have references?
Many of us find services through recommendations, the same practice should be applied to realtors. Ask them for a list of clients you can talk to, in order to learn more about the realtors work style and the clients’ overall experience.
Remember, you will be paying the realtor for their services, so it’s important to find out if they are worth the cost.
5. How much do you charge?
While you may think that cost is the deciding factor on which realtor to go with, it’s a bit more complicated than that. For instance, while some realtors may be cheaper, they may not have access to as many platforms to advertise your property as a more expensive realtor.
A pricier realtor may have a merchant featured business listing on Zoomtanzania, and post photos and details of your house on their page. These receive priority placement and special branding on our classifieds – thus attracting more potential buyers.
If you are looking to buy property, certain realtors may charge more but give you a guarantee that they’ll find you something in two weeks, or some may be cheaper but have less connections and take longer.
So whether you are buying or selling, when evaluating the cost of a realtor, look at what you are getting and what you’re not getting. However, you should always stay within your set budget.
Simplify your life
Back in the day, if you wanted to buy or sell land or a home, you simply told friends and family and they’d tell the people they know. Nowadays, while word of mouth still works, finding or selling property requires a professional who can help you deal with scams, inflated prices and contracts.
So, are you ready to get started?