Real Estate Agents in Argentina... They Don't Measure Up To Reators
Thus far, I have not been impressed with the quality of the real estate agents here in Argentina. Before you say, "So fire your agent then," please realize that I'm not talking about my own agent here. I'm talking about the sellers' agents. These are the people who are supposed to be motivated to sell the properties of the homeowners they represent. Yet, I find their professionalism lacking.
Consistently Late to Viewings
I've probably viewed 10-15 apartments so far. In all but about four cases, the seller's real estate agent was not on-time. In two extreme cases, the other agent failed to show up entirely and couldn't be contacted by my agent at all. We were left waiting at the apartment and no one appeared.
Just today, for example, we showed up at an apartment at 11:00 AM, as scheduled, and waited outside for 10 minutes. This, sadly to say, was not unusual. Even the good agents here seem to always run 5-10 minutes late. Well, after 10 minutes my agent tried calling the seller's agent... nothing.
After trying on the cell phone for another 10 minutes, my agent finally got in touch with her at 11:20. Now, I don't speak much Spanish, but I heard, "Where are you? We've been waiting here 20 minutes. What's the problem?" Was she running late at different viewing? Closing a sale? Something else important? Nope. Her reply was, "Oh, it was at 11:00 AM? Oops, I'm getting dressed right now." She was still at home and hadn't even put her clothes on yet! I'm sorry, but how lazy is that? Get out of bed and get down here at the time you agreed to be here. These people are supposed to be professionals. Come on!
Little Effort In Presentation
Today, I walked through two apartments that were so cluttered and messy that I had to literally step over things to avoid tripping. In both cases the agents warned me about the clutter beforehand. They asked me to visualize the the apartment without all the junk. While I'm willing to do that, I should point out that its a lot easier to do when you actually clean up the place a little.
I've also walked into places that had the curtains drawn or blinds shut and the lights turned off. These apartments were dark. My agent actually had to tell the other agent, "How about opening the blinds?" And this is in city where every apartment listing advertises about how bright it is -- "muy luminoso" they all say. You'd think that if people are so obsessed about brightness in the apartments, they'd actually have the curtains opened up when a potential buyer walks in.
Lying Straight To Your Face
I asked an seller's agent today, "So, how much is this property going for?" The reply, "$145,000, but you could offer $142,000." My agent was with me and said, "No, I think its $140,000." The seller's agent said back, "No, it is $145,000." Well, at this point my agent pulls out the clipping of the apartment that was published in today's edition of La Nacion and shows it to her, "No, its advertised at $140,000."
Just amazing! Give me break! Even if I liked the apartment, I wouldn't have made an offer if I had to deal with people like that. I may be a foreigner, but I know how to read a newspaper. I wasn't born yesterday and don't think that I'm going to pay extra for your apartment. Yes, I do know how much apartments in this neighborhood should be selling for. I did my homework, so don't think you can cheat me.
Sorry for the rant, but today was not a good day apartment hunting. Its a good thing that I'm a very deliberate and patient person. Still, I think expats should know what they are in for when they look for apartments here. If you thought finding a place was tough in the US, just wait until you get here. A good amount of patience is definitely needed. And learn the going rate per square meter in the neighborhoods you're interested in before you even start looking. You need to be able to tell what is overpriced and what is fairly priced. I was seeing a lot of overpriced apartments today.