Service Providers

Identify a Good Broker !!!

Communication by property brokers is sometimes misleading – many a times, they over-commit and underplay critical information.

Prising authority in the realty sector or educational qualifications required for being a property broker in India, it has become a free-for-all in the industry , with investors, housewives, retired persons and individuals dabbling in property transactions.
              The problem for a genuine home buyer becomes compounded as he is not able to tell a good broker from an incompetent one. Most buyers and sellers talk to several brokers to figure out who is better and ultimately they base their judgment on that gut feeling or references to dealers from relatives, friends or colleagues. References play a vital role in evaluating a broker and his or her abilities. Personal referrals from friends and family could be the most valuable thing - probably a must.
              Invariably, many brokers are not even aware of basic details like the profile and track record of developers. Such information is critical to decision making - "One has to be fully aware of the antecedents of a builder and if brokers do not know even this much then what are they there for?”
              For buyers, it is quite a task getting hold of a reliable property broker to get a good deal done. One must steer clear of brokers who open a brokerage firm like a chai shop, knowing little about land titles, and whose job is only restricted to local areas and who lack professionalism and transparency.
              Prospective buyer, says that brokers go overboard and give unrealistic picture of places they want to sell. Most times, brokers do not notify buyers about the flipside of an area. They are interested in their commission and they turn their faces away once a deal is struck. So whether an apartment is facing a slum or a garbage disposal site or whether the apartment has sunlight in winter are things which are rarely pointed out.
              The roots of real estate brokerage go to the times when panwallas, dhobiwallas and their ilk roamed around mohallas plying their trade and collected information of the available housing stock - vacant and otherwise. This extremely localized information was useful for buyers who got a sense of that area. With time, consumers demanded a professional single-point source who would not only provide information but also stay with them through the entire transaction. But today's buyers want the broker to not only guide them about a specified area but the entire zone and neighbouring zones as well.
              Currently, real estate broking is not only about selling a property - it's about property laws, loans, taxations, investments, etc. The job of a professional broker is not very easy. However, in India, a majority of the brokers' target is to just close a deal and thereafter vanish from the scene.”
              Here are a couple of tangible and intangible parameters on which you can select or reject a broker. First, the very obvious which you can get answers by sheer observation - what is the size of the broker's office, does he have facilities like phone, fax, email, a website. Also, how much staff does he have? The broker should be accessible and have systems in place so that he or she can be contacted easily. A proper office demonstrates his or her commitment to the business over long term.
              It is a significant positive if a broker has more than one office and the location of his office in a prime commercial centre exhibits his financial muscle.
              Next come things which you can inquire of a broker: Since when has the broker been practicing? Experience is an important indicator: Find out about the broker's knowledge and ability to communicate effectively. A good broker can help facilitate the best deal by virtue of his or her knowledge of the market and save you a lot of pain by helping you navigate through legal glitches. One should also know which are the areas covered under his purview and his network partners, number of partners and areas covered through partners.
              Also ask the broker about his networks by enquiring about all the areas where he practices. A qualified broker will be able to tap a wide network of other brokers, builders and individuals in a short time. One should ask the broker if he is an authorized agent for any developer. Also ask him about the average volume of transactions per month and about the volume of properties held by him, and the percentage of repeat customers.
              One must query the broker on legal issues , the neighbourhood of a property in question, maintenance charges (in case of apartments), water situation, parking facilities, stamp duty rates, registration charges, capital gains issues, construction techniques, and the difference between the built-up area and super built-up area. Also ask the broker about home loan rates and the process of obtaining a home loan. A good broker would know about variations and pulse of the market prices within a neighbourhood or across localities . They are also familiar with the reputation of various builders and can help you avoid those who offer poor quality construction and delayed delivery.
              Find out if the agent is a member of any local or national real estate association . Also, does the broker pay service tax? A service tax registration indicates that the broker takes his business seriously.
              According to Surinder Mohan of a realty firm at Indirapuram: "It is advisable to go to a broker who has an ISO 9001: 2000 certification. Also, a private or limited company is better and corporates and end users prefer them to an ordinary company as such brokers would have had the requisite clearances from registrar of companies and the government of India."
              Currently, there is no guideline followed by brokers and there is complete lack of standardization in their processes . For standardization, the broking house can have ISI certification issued by international bodies. But this is not mandatory for broking houses in India.