Hate moving house; but it taught me about Real Estate Business.

Barry Osborne

You may only do it a few times in your life but it is sure one of the most traumatic things one can do. Just dismantling, packing and cleaning; only to do it all in reverse again but also the co-ordinating of services to be reconnected. But out of it all I did learn much about the Real Estate Business.

In June of this year, I sold an investment property that my wife and I had bought in 2007 at the peak of the market. Our goal was to demolish the old house and build our dream home. To achieve this we needed to sell one of our farms, and over the last 4 years this had proven impossible. We were renting as well as paying a mortgage on the investment property so financial logic soon prevailed and we decided to sell the investment property, which was sold in June this year. The dream was gone and the house we were going to build is now going to be built by the new owners.

Two months after the sale of the property, the house we were renting was also sold and so we had to rent another house. Just as we signed a lease on the new house, we had an offer on the farm and eventually agreed on the sale. Within one week of moving into the new rental property, I had to also clear out the farm house so the new owners could move in. I have had enough of packing and unpacking, but I can see that soon there could be another move if we buy back into the market soon which is paramount.

So what were the things that I learnt about the Real Estate Business?

Point #1 The 3 Minute Rule in picking up the Vibres of a Business

When I owned a chain of retail shops, I use to say that within the first 3 minutes of walking into a shop I could pick up the vibres as to whether there were issues with the staff. So you can also pick up the vibres of a business by simply walking into a reception area, and getting a feel from the greeting and the general atmosphere of the office by being in the reception. One of my consultant friends, use to make it a practice of arriving early for a meeting at a company, so he had time to get a feel for the company before his meeting.

This large firm real estate company was all about image but everything gave you the impression that there were procedures to follow but the customer was not made to feel important, it was the exact opposite, the organisation was important and customers were not relevant to their success. What a dangerous mistake!

Point #2 Real Estate Business treat Professionalism as a WORD not as an ACTION

After finding a house that really interested us, I then submitted a rental application to the real estate agent handling the property. It didn’t take me long to determine that people who rent are not held in high regard by certain Agents and their staff. This was not the case with the previous Agency who seemed to really appreciate a good tenant. But the present agency is the same group who still do press advertising and charge high marketing fees in selling your property. But the real surprise came when we had to sign the rental agreements and we were told the procedure will take a good half hour and by the end of the half hour, the message was very clear that this is not your property and you will do nothing that could cause any damage. Everything was covered down to the mould on the walls as being our responsibility.

Now I can understand that totally as I have heard of many horror stories about tenants and the damage they have done. But when we take occupation of the premises, we find the following:

  • The kitchen has not been totally emptied and we had to pack up all those items and store them somehow before we could unpack ours. Not something you really feel like doing.

  • There were other items still left on the premises that we had to store also

  • The Rubbish bins were smelly and overflowing and broken glass and cigarette butts all over the ground. This was a non-smoking house supposedly. The recycle bin was full of normal rubbish and had to be emptied.

  • When we asked for the pest inspection report, we find that a pest company is now phoning us to arrange an inspection in our time.

But it seems that this whole exercise at the beginning is all show. From a business owner, it seems that Real Estate Business is all so superficial. My attempts to contact the Property Manager seems impossible now that the rental agreement is signed. This is one industry that needs a shake-up.

Point #3 If you rent out a property, best thing to do is to stay in it, even one night, to appreciate the issues.

At the farm, we rent out a Farm Stay cabin which is the renovated old Cow Bails. It has been really popular and last week when I went down to the farm to get things ready for the new owners, I stayed in the Bails whilst the owners stayed the night in the house. Well did I find some issues that should not be neglected and it is amazing the tenants didn’t mention some of these points, so they could be rectified. But it must not leave the best impression.

The Real Estate Industry should be more than just ego driven by flashy salespeople. Our property, our assets, deserves better standards.

It is very evident that the Industry doesn’t want to change and it hasn’t come to the understanding that it may have no say in the matter. The world we live in is changing rapidly everyday and consumers are taking matters into their own hands. The agents are making enormous fees for what they are actually doing in selling your property. We need to make them accountable for those fees and expect our property gets the single attention it deserves.

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