Ovidiu Sandor about Agents and Agencies
The guys from Content for Real Estate Professionals talked with a contractor from Timisoara, Ovidiu Sandor, developer of office buildings that became benchmarks, about his experience with real estate agents in the residential segment.
As any person who wants to buy a house – or to sell a house – also Ovidiu Sandor, entrepreneur, developer, together with investment fund NEPI of office parks: City Business Centre in Timisoara and Cluj The Office, had to do with real estate agents.
The entrepreneur says, regarding to real estate brokers, that he had two types of experiences: with real estate agents in Romania and real estate agencies in Sweden, where he lived for a while. “I compared the services provided by a real estate agency in Sweden – I am not accidentally saying “agency” and not “agent”- with the services provided by real estate agents in Romania – and I am not accidentally saying “agents”and not “agency”,” says Ovidiu Sandor.
In Sweden, the businessman wanted to sell an apartment, at which point he appealed to a real estate agency. “The Agency has provided a range of services: they came to see the house, then they told me that they can market it to a certain type of client, with a certain market value,” says the entrepreneur, adding that the agency representatives identified some small renovation opportunities which, once made, increased the selling price of the apartment with three times compared with the amount he had to invest in them.
After this, “One Sunday, at a specific time, there were invited all the potential customers. For this visionary they did what it is called “home styling”: reorganized things in the house, they removed certain items of the furniture to create more space. In our case, since the target family had children, they have arranged a corner in this respect, have brought some decorative objects, created a kind of scenography for the apartment, then had photographed the apartment.”
After the visionary with several interested families, the Agency organized some kind of an auction between them. “Finally, we chose to sell it to a particular family. The agency put in contact our bank with the buyer’s, called us all when the documents were prepared and we signed. The agency handled everything that records the authorities. For everyone was an extremely simple action, for us and for the buyers too. The Agency has created added value, because we could sell the apartment at a higher price than if we had tried to sell it ourselves, plus it was a very easy approach from the perspective of time,”explains Ovidiu Sandor.
The agency’s commission was a percentage of the selling price, plus an added bonus, since the amount exceeded a certain threshold. The facy that they obtained a higher price has been beneficial both for the customer and the agency too. “The commission was charged from the one that hired the agency, but this depends on the market. When there is a seller’s market, with a lot of demands and less offers, they take the commission from the buyer. And this makes perfect sense, they are working with the side that needs more help,”says Ovidiu Sandor, who believes that in Romania, the agent has more than an intermediary role. “The agent has a secret number from the seller and the secret number from the potential buyer and he makes the two to meet, which is not necessarily a great added value. A Real Estate Agency should understand how to expand the range of services, so you get into a situation where you can not even imagine that the customer will want to promote the apartment, look for potential buyers himself and deal with all the documents, because there is someone who, for a reasonable amount of money can do the job better than you and that you can generate a higher sale price or a lower purchase price for example.”
Ovidiu Sandor said to that he had some happy experiences with realtors in Romania too. “I had in Romania a very nice experience, when I tried to buy a house. At first contact, we thought that the price was far beyond what we considered being reasonable. But the agent was very skilful in understanding that what we provided was actually the right price and worked for months to convince the seller of this,”says the entrepreneur. “I’ve had also experiences where I haven’t felt the added value brought by the agent. I use this word, surplus value, because that is what you need to create in any business. Every agent must ask himself about how he can help to increase the transaction value, and also other aspects like: simplicity in addition and extra comfort.”