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The real estate agent

Buying or selling a property is a serious business. Often it demands a lot of the savings you have build up over the years. It is important therefore not to take unnecessary risks. As with many other things we are not familiar with, it is best to consult a professional. This person has the necessary background to make this a successful transaction.

As you will see, there are more reasons why to work with a real estate agent than not to. Vitrine.be draws a portrait of the professional agent.

How to recognise a professional real estate agent?

The answer is quite simple: a professional, officially recognised agent has a copper sign outside his office, mentioning his name and official number which was given to him by the BIV (Official institute of Real Estate Agents).

If the agent cannot give you proof this he is listed with the BIV, then go somewhere else. The recognition means that the agent must comply to the rules and regulations of the BIV. Up to 1994 anyone could become real estate agent, but since 1994 the profession has been regulated, both towards background and education.

Any agent is also required to get a liability insurance against professional errors. When violating these rules, the BIV can give sanctions, which can lead to the exclusion of the profession.

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The training for real estate agents

Some diplomas have been officially determined to provide access to the profession of real estate agent. Most of them are of university or higher-education level. Anyone who possesses such a diploma can become real estate agent, but only after completing the necessary apprenticeship.

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The deontology of the profession

Each real estate agent must work according to the deontology which is imposed by the BIV institute. Its aim is to even more regulate the profession and adapt it to society. The deontology fixes the code of behaviour of the professional agent, who has to comply to these terms and conditions.

He does not only do this to avoid sanctions, but also to get more credit and respect from the customer. This is in analogy with other professions, such as notaries, lawyers, accountants etc.

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Role of the real estate agent

The real estate business is getting more and more complex by the day (legally, fiscally and point of view of society). The role of real estate agent has therefore become somehow indispensable, as described below.

Announcement

Working with a recognised real estate agent offers nothing but advantages. The announcement is one of them. The agent always uses well known communication channels to announce that your property is for sale. One of these channels is the shop-window of his office, which offers lots of visibility in the city centre. Besides that the agent uses large "FOR SALE" signs and mostly uses a fixed advertising space in the local paper. And most of the agents also have a website as well.

Valuation

The agent is a professional with experience. He can give you the correct value of your property, based on previous sales and objective criteria. Thanks to him you won?t be trying to sell at a price too high.

The File

The agent will create a file containing all relevant and necessary information about the property.

Content of this file

  • written mandate: a written mandate is necessary. As with any contract this protects both parties. In case of a professional error the mandate is necessary in order to make the agent liable.
  • information about the seller: each sale can be influenced by the marriage contract, divorce, entireness, company statutes, minority of age ?
  • information about the property: consists of pictures and plans, cadastral registry, soil certificate, rental contracts (if applicable), ...

Visits

It is an essential task of the agent to inform the candidates and to organise the visits. Because of the organisation of his office this runs smoothly. The agent is in fact some kind of psychologist and usually knows from experience if someone is really interested.

Negotiations

Negotiating prices is almost a profession on its own. It is therefore best left to the professional, who knows how to get more or when best to stop. After the negotiations the last phase is entered, but one of the most important, finalising the selling process.

Certainties and Guaranties

Working with a recognised real estate agent offers, as said before, a series of advantages: the profession is regulated, and offers certainties for both parties.

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Finding an agent

Check the list of officially recognised real estate agents on the site of the BIV, the professional institute of real estate agents.

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