Thursday, April 01, 2004

Give me a used car salesman to an estate agent any day.

When I left South Africa, I had two things to sell: a house, and a car.

Enter the Estate Agent, who charges 7 1/2% commission. This is standard in South Africa, by the way, and there's none of the gazumping and gazundering there that you get in England. All the Estate Agent has to do is run an ad and have a showday, an open day where anyone can arrive to look at the house. These are usually Sundays. Not a lot of work for such a lucrative cut, would you say?

(Am I about to start a mass emigration of Estate Agents to South Africa. In England they're lucky if they get 2%, and they have to work a great deal harder for that money.)

The Estate Agent was going to change my views about estate agents. It was poor to begin with. The last Estate Agent I dealt with sold a property I wasn't planning to sell, and then instructed the conveyancer to draw up the the transfer documents despite my instructions to the contrary.

The new Estate Agent had three showdays, and failed to produce a buyer. Why? Because he advertised the house at R225 000 less than the valued price, which is the price I told him I wanted, and brought me offers of R150 000 less than we paid for the house. Jeepers. I suppose he thought I wouldn't find out, but I have my spies. Thanks Zelda.

I don't think I can ever deal with a South African Estate Agent again. And the house still isn't sold.

The used car salesmen was a totally different kettle of fish. The guy who sold our cars for us lent me a car to drive until the day I left, so at least I could get around. He sorted out the cat scratches on my door leather. He sold both cars were suprisingly high prices, especially mine. It seems "one lady owner" has its attractions. And his fee was very affordable.

In England, of course, matters may be entirely the other way around. Here, we have a house, but no car.

Does that say anything about the agents?