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Louise Martin
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Attorney realtor hub

Attorneys expanding their services to help clients to sell properties

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Attorney realtor hub

Attorneys expanding their services to help clients to sell properties

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5 min read

The Attorney Realtor Hub (ARH) is a countrywide network of property attorneys who are collaborating to provide professional property services to their clients. They are able to do this more efficiently and at better costs for both sellers and purchasers.

What ARH is

ARH is not an estate agency, or a separate company, it is an internet platform (a website with a range of internet tools) with attorneys as members. The hub, which is the idea of four Cape Town-based conveyancing attorneys, is managed by them as a joint venture, says Giles Buswell, one of the founding members of the Hub. Giles continues: ‘We want to give our colleagues the skills and tools to market and sell properties better than ever before.’

‘We are totally different from any estate agency or other player in the property market,’ confirms Meyer De Waal, another conveyancing attorney and member of the group. Traditionally conveyancers (attorneys who specialise in property matters) were focussed mostly on the legal aspects of property transactions, but they have skills well beyond their specific areas of practices. The property market is changing and property services are changing with it.

Attorneys expanding their services

The traditional role of estate agents is outdated and archaic. It is also cumbersome and unnecessarily expensive. Attorneys are upscaling their involvement in the property market and utilising their particular skills, combined with modern technology, to provide a far greater service to their clients. This is to the benefit of the sellers and buyers of properties, who can enjoy online professional assistance at very competitive costs.

Attorneys are required to have fidelity fund certificates issued by the Law Society, updated annually, and are exempt from having to register as estate agents. In fact, they are not estate agents but legally qualified property specialists who are able to deliver estate agency services as part of the service offering within their legal practice. Many attorneys, more so in the Platteland than in the cities, have already been doing this for many years , but not as efficiently and as competitively as what is now possible.

The internet tools offered through the hub’s website make the selling process much easier and more efficient. Charlene Nolte-Joubert, who is another member of the Hub group, made sure that the look and feel of the website is: ‘precisely what we want to convey to our colleagues and to the public at large.’

‘Conveyancing as we know it will change in the years to come,’ says Chris Fick, the fourth member of the group behind the ARH platform. E-conveyancing is a global trend and will in all probably be introduced in South Africa in the next few years. However, the way properties are being marketed and sold is already changing very fast. In this regard conveyancing attorneys have an important contribution to make, and value to add to their clients. With the tools and assistance provided through the Attorney Realtor Hub, attorneys are becoming hugely competitive players in the market.

ARH recommends a commission of not more than 2.5% plus VAT for sales by the hub members. This service includes virtual reality viewing, the introduction of prequalified and cash buyers to the seller, and attorneys negotiating the deals and finalising the contracts between the parties.

How it works

When attorneys are contacted via the hub or directly by their clients, they obtain a mandate from their clients to market their properties via the internet. Through the hub, nine different portals can be accessed for the advertising of properties. Where possible, we recommend that our clients utilise the virtual reality (VR) video recordings of their homes, which are then uploaded to the property portals.

With the VR facility prospective purchasers can view your house as if he/she is walking through it from room to room. Once the purchaser is interested to meet the seller, and physically inspect the property, the attorney is able to arrange with the purchaser for his/her prequalifying as a willing and able buyer.

The buyer can either be pre-qualified with a certificate confirming his/her qualification for a mortgage loan, or confirmed as a cash buyer.  An online paperless portal was developed for the prequalification process and more than 4,900 subscribers already signed up. The My Bond Fitness process was recently nominated as the “App of the Week” by Media 24, and is available to all participating attorneys and home buyers. The attorney is then able to introduce a willing and able buyer to the seller, arrange a physical inspection and facilitate the negotiation of the terms of the transaction. The buyer and the seller do not have to waste any time and are able to negotiate a contract with the professional assistance and guidance of a property lawyer.

Innovative solutions

If a buyer requires a government subsidy to assist with the purchase transaction, the attorney is also able to assist with a prequalification certificate for such a subsidy.

Innovative purchase solutions like the rent2buy concept and instalment sale agreements are also available. Many home buyers do not qualify for a home loan due to the strict implementation of the National Credit Act by lenders. Up to 50% of home loans are declined, says Meyer, but we offer a solution.

Attorneys build their practices on their relationships with their clients. Despite the range of internet tools being utilised to upscale the marketing and selling of properties, attorneys will retain their personal relationships with their clients, and will foster new professional relationships with willing and able buyers.  In providing the estate agency services to both seller and purchaser, a property attorney will exercise his responsibility to both parties.

Home buyers need to be informed and educated

We researched the market and saw that 50% of home buyers are first -ime home buyers. We then developed a comprehensive home ownership course for first time home buyers. These courses have already been implemented by some 11,000 tenants for a property group ,and some 3,700 employees of African Bank, says Meyer.

Once the contract is signed, it is the prerogative of the seller to appoint her or his conveyancer to attend to the property transfer. This might be the attorney who assisted with the marketing and sale of the property, or any other conveyancer appointed by the seller.

So, if you want to sell your property, you should:

  • Contact your attorney and tell them what you intend to do.
  • If he or she is a member of ARH they will know what to do and will involve you with the process.  If not, your attorney can become a member within minutes.
  • You will be asked to give your attorney a mandate enabling him/her to obtain a market valuation of the property, have professional photos taken, and/or a virtual reality video made of your home/property.
  • The video, photos and property information will be uploaded on up to nine property portals for maximum exposure to the market.
  • Interested buyers will view your property online, and contact your attorney if they wish to step up to the next level.
  • Your interested buyer will be prequalified, and then introduced to you for a physical viewing of your home and negotiating of terms and conditions of a sale.
  • Your attorney will assist the negotiations and finalisation of the contract, and any other required paperwork paper for the transaction.
  • When the contract is signed, your conveyancing attorney can proceed to attend to the transfer of ownership in accordance with your contract.

For more information, view or contact Meyer de Waal, Giles Buswell, Charlene Nolte-Joubert, or Chris Fick

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