Property Buyers Dissatisfied with Realty Brokers

Some 61 per cent of property buyers in the UAE are dissatisfied with the services provided by real estate agents in the market, according to a new study.

The research was conducted across the UAE with a focus on Dubai by real estate broker firm Harbor Real Estate, which talked with 178 property owners over a four-month period in a series of face-to-face interviews.

The research revealed consumers who bought properties in the past two years remained dissatisfied with the performance of real estate agents. “It all boils down to the servicing style of real estate agents, which has not been up to the satisfaction levels of the property buyers in UAE,” said Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate.

“Currently, it is still a buyer’s market and services from realty agents need to be of high quality,” he said.

Alwadiya said the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) had been proactive to ensure that real estate agents deliver quality service, but the real estate broker market continues to be immature.

The study said Harbor intended to serve as a barometre on service levels in the local real estate market.

“Participants evaluated property brokers according to knowledge and skills, ethics and behaviour, consultative ability, and empathy. The respondents were asked to rate their individual experiences on a five-point scale ranging from excellent to very poor. Of those interviewed, 61 per cent of respondents rated their brokers as either poor or very poor,” said the report.

Of those interviewed, 73 per cent had purchased their property prior to the recession – set as October 2008 – while the remainder had purchased their property after October 2008 (post-recession). About 23 per cent of those interviewed purchased within the last four months.

About 12 per cent of consumers who made their purchase prior to the recession stated that their experience was excellent or good.

In the post-recession period, that number fell to about 11 per cent, although satisfactory ratings improved from 25 per cent pre-recession to 31 per cent post-recession.

In the post-recession market, 58 per cent of respondents rated their experience as poor or very poor, bringing the two-year average of dissatisfied customers to 61 per cent. The buyers objected to the lack of agents’ knowledge, consultative ability and empathy.

Alwadiya said: “What we have here is an indicator of an industry which is still relatively immature. The level of proficiency in effective consultancy, based on sound knowledge of the market and an understanding of the buyer’s requirements, appears to be the main shortcoming. Buyers today have choice and are more knowledgeable about the market, and they seek advice from professionals that they feel they can trust. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, consumers are left feeling disappointed.”

Harbor Real Estate is also monitoring its service-level performance against those of its affiliates.

“What we are seeing globally is a race for improvement. Realty has been under huge pressure due to the recession, and those who wish to thrive in the market will only do so by identifying and responding to the needs of clients,” it said.

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