Kijner & Sons International Realty would like to share with you a recent article by the German Real Estate Association IVD about what it is to be a competent broker. We believe that these characteristics are true, no matter where you do real estate, being in Florida, France, Thailand or Costa Rica.

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Good real estate brokers are mainly consultants.  

The purchase or sale of a property is usually associated with high financial transactions. "Using a competent real estate agent assures the customer a comprehensive consultation, which also protects the financial interests of the consumer," says Jürgen Michael Schick, vice president and spokesman of the real estate association IVD. 

The consulting services of the real estate broker has become very complex. For quite some time the broker is not relying solely on simple proof of real estate or real estate data in the setting of a synopsis or the Internet. They inspect the property and buildings, creating market analysis, examine property documents, analyze existing leases, provide valuable advise to help with the purchase contract and to find the right financing. "For consumers, it is often difficult, to distinguish serious and well-qualified service providers from the" black sheep ", says Schick. The real estate association IVD has compiled a checklist to help you identify a competent broker. 

1st Market knowledge
Professional real estate brokers are familiar with the local market. They inform you about prices, rents and market developments and are well equippedwith expertise in the valuation of the property available. You know supply and demand of the respective real estate segment and serve buyers and sellers with transparent information about the real estate transaction. 

2nd Your relationship
IVD members are obliged by the professional ethics of the association to act only when obtaining an order of the owner or customer. The IVD recommends that all agreements between the customer and the real estate broker are in writing. 

3rd Consulting without time pressure
A qualified broker is willing to take time for the concerns of his clients in his office or at the customer's home. He will never use time pressure to complete a contract, rather allow the customer a detailed examination of the offer. An alarm signal for customers are claims by the broker, the right buyer or seller is already in the index and the successful sale of a mere formality. A reputable broker will never object against the involvement of external assistance, such as an expert or a lawyer. He will never arrange the sale of a property without appointment. The consultation should not only beconducted by phone. The estate agent should be available in person, so the customer can visit him in his office. 

4th Individual counseling
A professional broker informs himself personally about the customers personal desires and needs as well as his financial situation before he makes an initial proposal. He will take requests of the customer seriously and warn him about any possible risks. In no case will he ask for advance payments. The requests of the customer can generally not be answered by references to the Internet or through commercialized online portals. Anyone interested to sell or buy a property, should ask the broker in details about his business and marketing plans.  A good broker will be able to give an accurate picture of the real estate market. It is his obligation to thoroughly inform about the time frame necessary for the completion of all formalities and to prove anestimate of cost. 

5th Showing appointments and further advice
During the showing the buyers and sellers usually meet for the first time. At this time the different interests of both parties will become very clear. A professional real estate broker is always  present at each showing. All important questions can be addressed at this time easily. The knowledge of the property, the exact location, the condition, any investment in the renovation or improvement necessary and any answer to the many questions about the specific property will help both parties to complete the negotiations. 

6th Liability
The broker should have a property damage liability insurance. Even qualified agents are not immune from making mistakes. If need be, a simple missed digit can have significant financial consequences. Therefore professional brokers secure their clients against a possible failure, mistake or an oversight. The IVD requires it’s members to have such insurance. 

7th Problem-conscious advice
A qualified real estate agent is a consultant who is giving a realistic assessments of a purchase-sale or transfer request. He will examine carefully if any problems exist or might arise and help with possible solutions.  Especially with condominium documents and bylaw you may find complicated issues. 

8th Commission
Customers should complete their real estate agent with a written contract, which includes all compensation issues. The commission is a performance-based fee, which is only paid to the real estate agent after a successful transaction. 

9th Customer Care
A professional broker remains in contact with his customers even after the successful completion of the purchase or lease and will remain involved until completion of the real estate transaction. Competent brokers have extensive training and many years of practical experience. Every professional broker will therefore be able to provide references of his previous work  - as well as  successfully transactions and satisfied customers .

10th Membership in the Association
An important quality of evidence for the broker is a membership in a professional body such as the real estate association IVD. The customer should not be afraid to ask the broker for his education and training. Reputable brokers give this inforamtion readily. The IVD example, requires its members to attend regular training courses and seminars, to be familiar with new information about real estate. Each Association member must pass a comprehensive entrance exam, in which the necessary real estate industry knowledge will be reviewed. IVD members also need proof of a property damage liability insurance.

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Source: Translated article - The German Real Estate Professional Association (IVD). 

Kijner & Sons International Realty would like to thank Mrs. Christel Silver from Silver International Realty for her help in translating the original article.