13 Secrets About Local Real Estate Agents

It is a normal trend to use the services of local real estate agents in your neighborhood particularly when you are under extreme duress to relocate to another apartment. Local real estate agents are people whom we mostly refer to as “house agents” or “roadside agents”.

Their job is to source for accommodations within a particular neighbourhood and advertise to potential clients they come across.

Before continuing with the topic, I would like to show you how local real estate agents get clients in Nigeria.

Local real estate agents get their clients through 4 means:

  1. Advertisement
  2. Referrals
  3. Goodwill
  4. Third-party chain

Advertisements: Many of the local agents in Nigeria today usually advertise properties via social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Jiji.ng, propertyhub.com.ng etc. This is because they usually don’t have their platforms such as websites for displaying their properties. Again, the growing user base of social media appears to be their strongest medium of connecting to their market.

Referrer: There are a few real estate agents that are credible and reliable; hence some clients tend to refer them to another person after a successful deal. This is the best means of getting clients because whoever contacts an agent by referral does so with a great level of confidence and reliance based on recommendation. Agents who get clients by referral hardly throw up many adverts.

Goodwill: Goodwill works with the records and services of real estate agents. It is only goodwill that will make a client come after an agent a second, third and even fourth time. Supposing a client gets a room apartment through an agent, if the transaction was seamless there is a high chance of the same client returning to the same agent for the same or other related services such as relocation, referral, expansion etc.

Third Party Chain: Surprisingly 99% of local real estate agents in Nigeria don’t have direct brief to the properties they market. They mostly rely on the briefs from other agents which is why sometimes you could have between two to six chains of agents handling the same transaction. The chain connects all the parties linked to a transaction irrespective of their role.

If there are three agents in a transaction, Agent A could have the brief to rent out a property directly from the landlord, if agent A goes on to advertise the said property and Agent B sees the ad, Agent B immediately contacts Agent A for details of the property such as rent, fees attached to the property and possibly pictures. Upon getting this information there is every likelihood that Agent B will inform another agent (Agent C) especially if he fails to get a suitable client for the property.

Supposing agent C eventually gets a client to pay for the property, the sharing formula for the agency fee would then be 50:50 I.e. assuming the agency fee is N150,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira), each of them (agent A, B and C) would go home with N50,000 (Fifty Thousand Naira).

The main reason for a third-party chain is that no house agent has a monopoly on potential clients. Hence, they rely on each other to close a deal.

Now, back to the 13 secrets about house agents in Nigeria.

  1. Local Real Estate Agents are Organized Associates: No house agent works in isolation, he could be operating solo but there’s a team of other agents around his network helping with information. The association may not be recognized or registered as a body; however, there is no denying the fact that they are operational. They have no office address or billboard to show they are an Association; their point of contact is pinned on clusters at selected spots, corners or junctions within a particular neighbourhood to administer operations. With or without a leader, they are organized!
  2. They Don’t Trust Themselves: Agents don’t trust themselves, they would hardly share vital information like their home address, strategies, pictures of properties in their portfolio, client conversations etc. The only information they share is their mobile number which sometimes may not be their main line.
  3. They Hardly Provide Pictures of Properties That They Market: This is a usual tactic amongst house agents, due to fear of being double-crossed by another agent or even a prospective client; pictures are usually not readily provided. If they must share a photo of the house they are marketing, it is only the interior views that are provided. Not providing external pictures most times is to forestall other agents from identifying the property and going behind them to close a deal with another client.
  4. They Are Always Unsettled and in a Hurry to Close a Deal: Due to uncertainties, so many agents always try to close a deal as soon as possible and move on. One of the reasons for this is that other agents don’t have the chance to rent out or sell the property, especially if it’s an open agency. Sometimes, mischievous agents would want to rent a bad property to anyone willing to pay and zoom off thereafter.
  5. They Mandate Clients to Settle Their Transport Fare: During inspections the clients are the ones footing the transportation fare, irrespective of how many properties are visited for inspection, the onus lies on the client to come out prepared for the tour. Paying the transport fare may not be an issue with most clients but the rudeness and insistence of most local agents to take drops, and use taxis (for clients that are not mobile) is the pain of most clients. Local agents love to be in charge, sometimes they request lunch even when it’s glaring that not much was achieved. These tactics are mostly thrown at vulnerable and unsuspecting clients (also known as J.J.C – Johnny Just Come).
  6. They Are Not Usually Formal: Hardly will you find local agents properly dressed, the majority are touted. They are only out to hustle, scouting for vacant and vacant properties to rent out. Only a handful of house agents understand the importance of looking good before a client. More than 60 per cent of local house agents don’t mind coming out in bathroom slippers.
  7. They Charge Inspection and Finders Levy: If you’re looking at engaging the services of local house agents, be ready to pay inspection or finders levy. These ranges between N1,000 to N5,000 depending on how many properties you inspected.
  8. Some Are Very Greedy: Some of the popular house agents are known for their greediness, they are only after their pockets and immediate needs at the detriment of their client’s satisfaction. Beware!
  9. They All Have Territories or Domain: Local agents all have their territories; they operate within neighbourhoods they are most familiar with. When clients request for properties outside their jurisdiction they contact other agents and book appointments with clients. This is why sometimes after picking up Agent A for inspection, you stop at another junction to carry another Agent B who again drops at the next bus stop only to hand you over to Agent C.
  10. Most of them don’t have contact addresses: Most local agents can only be contacted via telephone or WhatsApp, they hardly disclose their home or office address to anyone, and transactions with these should be done with extreme care.
  11. Some of Them Are Violent: No matter your dealings with local agents try not to argue much with them especially when it comes to their inspection levy, finders’ fee or agency fee. Ensure you’ve agreed on something before kickstarting an inspection otherwise, some could go violent. Only a few are reasonable enough to understand the client’s plight and know when to stop. You don’t want to be caught unawares.
  12. Most of Them Don’t Have Access To The Properties They Market: Many local agents rely on other agents’ briefs, they hardly have direct briefs from landlords which is why most times after showing you the exterior of a house they will ask you to wait while they go collect keys or contact the main agent who has keys to the interior under inspection.
  13. They Are Always Available For Inspection: Local real estate agents are always ready and willing to take you for inspection even on a Sunday morning. They believe that their next meal may come from you. They are hardly unavailable unless they are at another inspection.

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