Working with people who are good at what they do…

There is a lot to be said for working with people who are good at what they do… I’ve been lucky enough over the years to work with a lot of experts. People who excel at their jobs and go out of their way to provide excellent service.

Then I tried to buy a house.

Oh my lordy is this an industry that needs to go on a serious diet and lose some fat.

Property seems to be one of those black box industries where you’re expected to just nod and smile while they withdraw large sums of money from your bank account and imply that you’re really way too dumb to understand where it’s all going and why… much like the Travel Industry… And I’ve worked in the travel industry for about 6 years so my BS radar is quite effective.

I could go on and on about how incredibly bad some of the experiences I’ve had over the past few weeks are… People who never get back to me… Agents who drag me to dodgy locations late at night only to discover the owner of the house isn’t there… Agents who make appointments with me and then cancel 5 minutes before the meeting because they ‘didn’t actually organise it‘… but I won’t because there are very good people out there who need some praise.

Firstly, and I must admit I am surprised by this, Ooba… specifically Colin from Ooba. This is a guy who has repeatedly surprised me by how efficient he is and how willing he is to take time to explain things in detail. He ALWAYS calls back, always replies to my emails, and always seems exceedingly knowledgeable in his area of expertise. I get the impression I’m dealing with a guy who is genuinely passionate about homeloans and passionate about excellent service. All that without ever saying “We’re passionate about…”. The few dealings I’ve had with the banks, INCLUDING MY OWN FRIGGEN BANK, have been painful, tiresome and actually left me more confused than I started.

UPDATE 2014: While I still stand by my original statement re Ooba, when we bought again in late 2013 I found my joy with Ooba dwindled… I had far greater success doing the legwork and dealing with the banks directly. It was a fracking painful and time consuming process but in the end we got the bond.

Secondly, I’ve realised that there is a BIG difference between a good estate agent and a bad estate agent. The good ones take time to consider what you’re looking for, they don’t waste your time with rubbish. They call back when they need to, they don’t try and pressure you into making a purchase by spinning bullshit about the economy and how rare ‘a place like this is’… They use email and embrace the internet. They don’t lie or misrepresent the truth. Good agents won’t badmouth other agents while showing you around a property and they wont moan at you on the phone if you happen to agree to see a place with someone else because they didn’t get back to you in time. Good agents will spend a rainy night in observatory driving you around from location to location and be honest about the condition and “accuracy” of the owners asking price. Good agents will also deal with tricky owners and tenants and get you into properties where others have failed.

So here is a list of agents who get my nod of approval:

  • Christian from Rose Eedes in Observatory.
  • Leigh and Sharon Ball from Sharon Ball Properties.

Not a very long list is it? Considering I’ve dealt with about 15…

Also I’d like to thank Michael R. for giving me lots of good advice on the bond stuff… it’s nice to have a friend who can point out any pitfalls when you’re about to drop a fortune on a house.

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6 thoughts on “Working with people who are good at what they do…

  1. I am colins sales manager. I am blown away with your comments on your Blog, thank you so much. He is a superstar indeed.
    I will make sure all of ooba knows about your great feedback.
    Kind regrds
    Mary-Jane Lefevre
    Manager: Regional Property Finance Sales
    ooba Head office
    Cape Town
    021 4817379

  2. My partner thinks that I expect too much from Estate Agents. And we too have had our fair share of dealing with them. I think that if you’re gonna give them 5% of the sale of your property, which, let’s face it, is going to be in excess of R50,000 for a modest flat, is a HECK load of money. If someone promised me R80K to sell their place, I would definitely do a MUCH better job than almost every agent I have ever dealt with. So sadly, I can only add one name to your Nod-of-Approval List and that’s Theresa from Heads Properties.

  3. I remember my first experience trying to work with someone on buying a house started out similar. I was 21 at the time and everyone thinks it’s “cute” that you’re trying to get a home at a young age, but most don’t take you seriously or they’ll treat you like you’re an idiot.

    I did eventually find a guy (an older gentleman) who did treat me with respect and even helped me find a loan officer who did the same and working with them I found a nice little starter house.

  4. Hi Jonathan, that’s pretty much how I would differentiate a good agent from a bad real estate agent. Once they have sold the house to you, then you pitch some complains, they’re gone. It irks me to know that after getting your hard-earned money that they would have the nerve to leave you helpless with the problems of the property you get from them. This is an excellent post, everybody should read this and be wary of bad agents.

  5. it irks me that some people just take advantage of somebody just because they feel he “doesn’t know anything about buying houses”.

    i appreciate people’s effort to get back to me to answer my questions, no matter how silly they may be but they still manage to get me an answer because they are efficient and professional.

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