Estate Agents, Real Estate Agents, Realtors, Property Vendors call them what you will, it means the same, it just depends where you come from. As I’m British, I’ll use the term ‘Estate Agents’ as it’s most familiar to me.
Most Estate Agents are best known for helping to buy and sell your homes, but nowadays most offer a range of ‘related’ services including purchase, sales, lease, mortgages etc on all types of properties. There are those too that often double as letting agencies, more of which will be explained later.
If you’re in business they can find you an office, if you’re a landlord they can find you a tenant, if you’re a tenant they can find you a landlord, and if you’re a builder they can find you a plot of land or an unfinished project. It’s my understanding that the Estate Agents of Thailand are similar in practice to those elsewhere in the world.
With such a useful one-stop-shop for all your property related business, why is it then that Estate Agents generally have a bad reputation? Well, it’s probably related to the nature of the job.
To be fair, they’re quite often stuck in the middle dealing with the thankless tasks of buying, selling, and negotiating etc. It must be a nightmare at times trying to keep all parties happy.
When things don’t go according to plan, the buyers, sellers, tenants, and contractors etc have to vent their frustrations out somewhere and the obvious choice is on the guys that are being paid to make the job as quick and as hassle free as possible. It’s quite a juggling act!
Another one of the problems with this business and its reputation is this: When times are good, the market is “confident”, and there are more buyers than sellers, and more tenants than landlords, some Estate Agents may treat you badly. By that I mean things like not returning your calls or sending you the promised information and other such upsetting and thoughtless inactions. However, when the market slows down, the good ones’ will stand out in a crowd and be a model of cooperation at your disposal………………….Sir!
Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to keep serene in Thailand as the pace of business here is generally a lot less hurried than that in western countries. Intolerance, impatience and quick tempered threats will only hinder, never help, your situation whatever it happens to be. It’s always a good idea to not take deadlines and over optimistic assurances too literally and to go with the flow as much as possible. This doesn’t mean sit back and allow for any Agent to disrespect your particular job, it simply means adjust to the ways of operating, allow for hurdles and hiccups along the way, and the whole process will seem a lot smoother.
As with any humans, treat them positively, with respect, and they’re likely to respond more favorably to your case.
Research has shown that buying and selling property, or moving home are perhaps among the most stressful things people are likely to encounter in their life time. It’s not surprising then that a major concern with many folk is how to select an agent that’s considered reputable? The bottom line is that most are but just as in any other business a very small minority is not. This isn’t a problem pertaining only to Thailand either.
The best way to find a good one (if you’re locally based) is listen to personal recommendations from friends, work colleagues and neighbours. Word of mouth recommendations are by far the most trustworthy in the long run, but be slightly wary of people recommending family members or close friends who happen to be in the business.
A lot of high-end rentals are arranged through Estate Agents too, some mid priced but very little if none at all, in the low end vacancies. One assumes this is purely Blossoms By The Park Showflat down to little or no profit on the latter. This then beggars the question: Do real-estate agents have their clients’ best interests at
heart? The answer to this has to be yes, if you fit comfortably into their definition of a ‘client’.
I personally used the services of an Estate Agent when I first moved here. I was looking to rent an apartment in the 50,000 THB/Mo. price range. I was ushered into the back of a nice motor, accompanied by an attractive young escort, and driven around Bangkok’s central area for a few hours as she presented me with one potential home after another. Nothing was too much trouble and I found the service invaluable and very time saving. This also gave me a good insight on what was available for that kind of money on which a whole new chapter could be written.