How attorneys are changing the home selling game

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The affordability to raise a home loan and buy your dream home remains one of the major hurdles for a property buyer, says Meyer de Waal, a practicing conveyancing attorney who spearheaded My Bond Fitness and is now on a mission to emancipate attorneys from their “reliance on estate agents to bring them business”. The My Bond Fitness process was recently awarded the App of the Week as a tool and process to provide a home loan prequalification estimate by Media24.

Traditionally, attorneys have shied away from selling properties as no one wants to spend their Saturday or Sunday manning a show house or drive around for hours showing houses for sale.

But attorneys are armed with the appropriate skills in property law training, bolstered by many years of legal studies, a further two-year legal training internship combined with practical experience and accumulated knowledge, and are most likely best equipped to complete the full circle in a property sales transaction, says Chris Fick, a Cape Town conveyancer.

“This is complemented by a large client database, captured and managed on an electronic client relationship management tool (CRM) from which to obtain property sales mandates, listing properties for sale through the most advanced property listing technology available (one online portal captures a property listing and enables the property listing to be distributed to the nine largest online property portals), and provide property sellers and buyers with the comfort of virtual reality tours, thus doing away with the inconvenience and disruption of showing prospective buyers the home,” he says.

Online and paperless home loan prequalification indication

Through My Bond Fitness, participating attorneys have the ability to perform an online and paperless prequalifying process for home buyers, with the unique attribute of only introducing cash or prequalified buyers to sellers.

Making a sale more affordable

De Waal believes the current estate agent model is still operating in “the Stone Age”.

“Estate agents are showing a property to 20 or 30 buyers before they get an interested and committed buyer, and this is why they have to charge 5% to 7% commission to compensate for all their time spent – and then on top of this, face the risk of 50% of home loans being declined,” says de Waal, noting that the misconception exists that the seller pays the commission, but that it is actually the buyer as the seller adds the commission to what he wants in his pocket at the end. “Included in the purchase price is usually a commission paid to a sales agent and, on a R2m property deal, the commission added to a purchase price can increase the price by R140,000 if a 7% commission is paid; a 5% commission will raise the price by R100,000 (plus VAT).

“Imagine if the commission was just 2.5%? The savings for the buyer would be substantial and enable the purchaser to more easily qualify for a home loan, and render the seller more likely to sell the property much faster – a win-win for everybody!”

Property selling agents warrant the high commissions charged, based on the premise that they have huge overheads, spend many hours soliciting property mandates for sale, incur expensive advertising costs, show a home to some 20 to 30 prospective buyers before a suitable buyer is found, and then complete the dreaded paperwork, says de Waal.

“This includes the legal contracts and FICA documents: tasks many despise!” he says, noting that after all this hard work, almost 50% of home loans submitted are declined and the agent has to start all over again. “We analysed and broke down, step by step, the process a property sales agent goes through to sell a property. We realised that by introducing and combining the latest available technology – correctly aligned and applied – thousands of fruitless administrative hours are saved in the property sale cycle improving and proficiency and keeping costs down.

“These savings can be passed on to the consumer and as such also speed up the property sales process with the added bonus that property sellers and buyers will also enjoy a much more enjoyable and efficient property sale and purchase transaction, and as an added bonus, less expensive.”

Government subsidy finance available BEFORE bond approval

If a first-time home buyer requires a government FLISP (Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme) subsidy, participating attorneys will be able to obtain a FLISP prequalification indication, online and before the home buyer even applies for a home loan.

“This process is a major breakthrough for property sellers and developers as it has now done away with the frustrating process that a home buyer could only apply manually for a FLISP subsidy and only after a home loan is approved,” says Fick, adding that this is a major revolution in the affordable property market.

Find the ideal home to buy – assisted through technology

“Once the purchase budget of a home buyer is established, the technology also enables us to ‘scrape’ the internet and identify available properties for sale in the buyer’s area of choice, within his price range and requirements.”

Upload important documents – made easy – through technology

Through My Bond Fitness, potential buyers can themselves upload their FICA and supporting documents, eliminating the time-consuming process of chasing after these documents; shared and distributed to role-players through the same electronic platform. Buyers are properly identified, before being introduced to a seller, and as such reducing the risks of inviting a “stranger” into your home.

By making use of and strategically structuring and aligning the latest technology, the way in which property sales will be done from now on has changed.

New collective initiative under attorneys

“We formed the Attorney Realtor Hub, and on a national scale, innovative attorneys with a passion for property transactions and assisting their clients, are joining this initiative,” says Giles Buswell, a conveyancing attorney and one of the founding members of the initiative. “After all, as practicing attorneys, we have the largest footprint of true professional property practitioners in the country.

Why an attorney hub?

“For years, I have been frustrated with the situation whereby, no matter how strong my relationship is with my client, how involved my firm is in the local community and how many clients we have built a relationship with over the years, the moment an existing client of our firm decides to sell their home, their first port of call is always the local estate agent; the perception of the public is that only an estate agent can assist,” says Charlene Nolte-Joubert, Partner at Henkes Nolte- Joubert Attorneys and Conveyancers. “And the local estate agent will in turn have a relationship with one or two law firms (often not even local) and convince the client that, even though the seller has the right to choose the conveyancer, the agent’s conveyancer of choice is the best route to go. It has never made sense to me nor did it feel fair. Clients would often end up asking for advice after signing the Offer to Purchase and mention that they did not know and, at no point, were they advised that they could have chosen us. With the exceptional pace at which technology is changing current industries and careers, I realised that it is vital that I also keep up with trends to avoid being left behind. When presented with the opportunity to join this venture with my co-attorneys at the Attorney Realtor Hub, it was a no brainer as it just made sense. By joining the Hub, we could combine experience and resources, support one another and end up doing what we have been doing for years already: Assisting all our clients from start to finish with expert advice when selling their property – something we all know can be a very daunting exercise.”

Selling the dream

  • Attorney Realtor Hub does not charge a huge membership fee, instead only asks for a nominal registration fee and monthly subscription
  • The footprint is nationwide and all practising attorneys can join
  • Participating attorneys are not limited to a single area

What Attorney Realtor Hub attorneys promises sellers

  • Cutting-edge technology to assist sellers with selling their properties through attorneys for only 2.5% commission (plus VAT)
  • The negotiation process and final touches of the transaction are personally assisted by a qualified attorney
  • Sellers sell in a safer and less disruptive environment with marketing done via virtual reality tours
  • Potential buyers are properly screened and identified before they are introduced to a seller
  • Sellers are only provided with qualifying buyers (cash only or prequalified buyers)
  • Sales and contracts are only handled by attorneys, leading to improved standards

What value attorneys bring to selling homes

  • Attorneys assist with the negotiating and closure of the property sale transaction and draft the sale agreement
  • Properties for sale are listed on the major property portals (up to 9 available)
  • Once the correct property description, status of the seller and buyer are established and confirmed, the required documents are prepared
  • If one of the parties is a legal entity, attorneys assist with complex issues such a zero-rated VAT transactions and capital gains tax issues within the scope of their legal and practical experience
  • The largest network of property realtors in the country – there is an attorney in every city, town or suburb

Wanna join the Hub?

For more information, contact

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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