Hungary entered the world of free market and capitalism in the early 1990s and several professions appeared that did not exist before for decades. Little state regulation at the time led to different stereotypes emerging (e.g. every entrepreneur is a criminal and every guy in a jumper is a gangster). In this article, we aim to get rid of some false and / or outdated stereotypes that have developed in the field of real estate agents and we aim to show what a real estate agent does in 2023.
What are the Hungarian words for a real estate agent?
The literal translation of “real estate agent” is ingatlanügynök in Hungarian but it has quite a negative connotation and is rarely used.
Ingatlanközvetítő is another, more formal word that emphasizes mediating between the buyer and the seller.
Ingatlanértékesítő on the other hand, focuses on the selling part, and the ingatlan szakértő / tanácsadó focuses on being an expert / consultant.
Since all these words and expressions are quite long most use the more informal and much shorter ingatlanos which means “one that deals with real estate”.
All these different expressions in Hungarian mean the same: real estate agent.
What does a real estate agent really do?
The reasons why one gets in touch with a real estate agent are selling or buying a property.
And since both sellers and buyers turn to a real estate agent, he / she is the one where supply and demand meets. His / her job is or to help and to arrange for the two parties’ needs to meet so the purchase can take place.
While a homeowner’s methods are quite limited when it comes to reaching potential buyers, a (good) real estate agent is able to proactively reach potential buyers. After all, he / she spends several hours every working day communicating with buyers and sellers, accessing databases, and being in the business.
How is a property sold?
Real estate agents conduct field-work in the given property through face-to-face meetings. In the office only discussions, signing the contract and other small, administrative tasks take place with the clients.
Inspection of the property
The first step in selling a property is always a tour together with the owner. During this inspection, the real estate agent tries to find out everything about the property. This is extremely important in many ways, including:
– filtering out unsuitable potential buyers (eg. a certain type of heating system can be a reason for exclusion),
– preparing for the perfect presentation of the apartment,
– minimizing additional phone calls during home presentations, as ideally the real estate agent can answer any questions from potential buyers.
Common questions will include:
- which year the house was built,
- the date (s) of the last renovation (s),
- built-in materials,
- the area of the property and the plot in square meters,
- type of heating, hot water, air conditioning,
- which pieces of furniture would remain,
- whether there is credit on the property, who are the owners, whether someone else has a right to the property, etc.
The personal story is also important
A real estate is not everything when it comes to a purchase. One of the usual first questions from potential buyers is: “Why is this property for sale?” There may be some hidden problem or a lot of noise from a neighbor. Or the sale may be very urgent due to financial difficulties.
This conversation is unavoidable but there is no need to go into family secrets and relatives’ life stories. It can also come to light that the owner may not really want to sell the apartment. Or in the moment a quick sale seems to be the only way out of a given situation, when a better solution might exist.
At the end of this conversation, an important part of the sales process is setting the selling price. What price would satisfy the owner? What is realistic? What kind of timeline shall one prepare for?
The advertising process
Before the real estate agent starts advertising the property, he agrees with the owner on how to advertise. Today, traditional (offline) advertisements are rare, so it is especially important that good photos, a floor plan and well-worded texts appear in the online space. With Hungary being open to more and more foreigners it is very important to advertise in English language too.
The real estate agent also has access to the clients registered in the office’s database, automatically. This is one of the very important benefits of having a good, experienced real estate agent.
As VA Ingatlaniroda is part of the OTP Group, we have one of the largest customer databases in the Hungarian market.
Presenting the property
Every presentation happens only after consulting with the owner (and obviously, the buyer). On the spot, the real estate agent presents the apartment: by prior arrangement, the owner can be there if he wants to but he should not be in the center of attention.
Consultations with the owner and potential buyers
One of the most important parts of a real estate agent’s job is informing the owner and keeping in touch with the potential buyers. During the process, trust is formed as there is no serious purchase without trust.
Price negotiation and keeping both parties’ interests in mind
Purchasing an apartment or a house at a certain price can change the financial situation of a person or a family for years. Of course, every owner wants a high and every buyer a low price. The real estate agent takes on the role of “mediator” here and works to resolve the conflict caused by the different interests.
It often happens that seller(s) and buyer(s) only meet in person at the last stage in the purchase process, when they sign the final contract. One of the reasons is that communication through the real estate agent minimizes the possibility of confrontation.
Preparation of the sales contract
Once the parties agreed on the price, the payment rate and other details, all of this has to be put down in a legal document. VA Real Estate Agency is affiliated with qualified, experienced lawyers who specialize in writing sales contracts.
When signing the sales contract, in addition to the lawyer, the real estate agent is also present: his / her presence helps to ensure that the final touches are being done.
Once the contract is signed, the sellers pay the real estate agent as per the contract from the deposit or from the full purchase price.
If the contract of sale is not concluded, the real estate agent does not receive any success fee.