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  A Look at The Real Estate Agency - Bangkok & Thailand.

The Thai Thai Real Estate Agent!

Letting AgenciesBangkok Realty and those who Work in it!

Bangkok realty expert, Thai real estate agents, letting agencies, call them what you will, it all means the same thing, it just depends where you come from. As I’m British, I’ll use the term ‘Estate Agents’ as that's what I'm familiar with.

Most Thai real estate agents are best known for helping folks to buy and sell their homes, but nowadays most offer a range of ‘related’ services including purchase, sales, lease, mortgages etc on all types of Thai and Bangkok realty. There are those too that often double as letting agencies, more of which will be explained later.

So what is it a Bangkok realestate agent does exactly? Well, as mentioned above, if you're selling they can help find a buyer for your property but that's not all. If you’re in business they can find you an office, if you’re a landlord they can find you a tenant, if you’re a tenant they can find you a landlord, and if you’re a builder they can find you a plot of land or an unfinished project. It’s my understanding that the Thai & Bangkok real estate agencies are similar in practice to those found elsewhere in the world.

Why doThai Real Estate Agents generally have a Bad Reputation?

With such a useful one-stop-shop for all your property related business, why is it then that the Thai real estate agents generally have such a bad reputation? Well, ask that question to a hundred people and you’ll probably get a hundred different answers. The short answer has got to be that it’s related to the nature of the job.

To be fair, they’re quite often stuck in the middle dealing with the thankless tasks of buying, selling, and negotiating on behalf of the client. It must be a nightmare at times trying to keep all parties happy for the duration of the deal.

When things don’t go according to plan, the buyers, sellers, tenants, and contractors etc have to vent their frustrations out somewhere and the obvious choice is on the guys that are being paid to make the job as quick and as hassle free as possible. It’s quite a juggling act!

Another one of the problems with this business and its reputation is this: When times are good and the Thailand real estate market is "confident", and there are more buyers than sellers, and more tenants than landlords, a handful of Thai real estate agents may treat you badly. By that I mean things such as not returning your calls or sending you the promised information and other such upsetting and thoughtless inactions. However, when the market slows down, the good ones' will stand out in a crowd and be a model of cooperation at your disposal………………….Sir!

Intolerance, impatience & quick tempered threats
will only hinder, never help, a situation!

Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to keep serene in Thailand as the pace of business here is generally a lot less hurried than that in western countries. Intolerance, impatience and quick tempered threats will only hinder, never help, your situation whatever it happens to be. It’s always a good idea to not take deadlines and over optimistic assurances too literally and to go with the flow as much as possible. This doesn’t mean sit back and allow for any Thai real estate agent to disrespect your particular job, it simply means adjust to the ways of operating, allow for hurdles and hiccups along the way, and the whole process will seem a lot smoother.

As with any humans, treat the Bangkok realty guys positively, with respect, and they're likely to respond more favorably to your case.

Research has shown that buying and selling property, or moving home are perhaps among the most stressful things people are likely to encounter in their life time. It’s not surprising then that a major concern with many folk is how to select a Thai real estate agent that’s considered reputable? The bottom line is that most are, but just as in any other business a very small minority is not. This isn’t a problem pertaining only to Thailand either.

The best way to find a good real estate agency, Bangkok or up country, is listen to personal recommendations from friends, work colleagues and neighbours in the area. Word of mouth recommendations are by far the most trustworthy in the long run, but be slightly wary of people recommending family members or close friends who happen to be involved in the Thailand real estate market.

Do the Thai Real Estate Agents really have their Clients'
best Interests at Heart?

Most of Thailand luxury real estate is arranged through Estate Agents, as is mid priced property, but very little if none at all, in the lower end of the Thailand real estate market. One assumes this is purely down to little or no profit on the latter. This then beggars the question: Do Thai Real Estate Agents really have their clients' best interests at heart? The answer to this has to be yes, if you fit comfortably into their definition of a ‘client’.

I personally used the services of a Bangkok real estate agency when I first moved here. I was looking to rent a Thailand apartment in the 50,000 THB/Mo. price range. I was ushered into the back of a nice motor, accompanied by an attractive young escort, and driven around Bangkok’s central area for a few hours as she presented me with one smat Thailand condo after another. Nothing was too much trouble and I found the service invaluable and very time saving. This also gave me a good insight on what was available for that kind of money on which a whole new chapter could be written.

However, stick your head in the door and tell them you’re looking for a piece of Bangkok real estate around the 5,000 Baht a month range and see how you get on! Although they won’t tell you to sod off, I don’t think the service above will apply either. This is one of the reasons the Mr. Roomfinder project was started as we felt there needed to be a free central place available for seeking out ‘all’ property types at ‘all’ budget levels.

Have your Say! Ever had a bad experience with a Thai Real Estate agent? If so, then why not Contact MrRoomfinder and let us know what happened.

Please note this will not be a name and shame opportunity, but more to warn others of the kind of tricks and scams that to watch out for with some of the dodgy operators out there.



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Estate Agent
Many Bangkok Real Estate Agents double up as Letting Agencies too but there are also Letting Agencies that operate as nothing more. Once again, the letting agencies do not focus too much on the lower priced dwellings due to the smaller commissions. The other reason is that the cheaper places belonging to apartment buildings will often have a fixed price on all the rooms and they also have their own small office to deal with contracts.

A lot of people steer clear of the Bangkok realty agents as they think the service will cost them more in the long run. This can actually be a bit of a misconception as their cut, commission, call it what you will, is not simply added to your monthly rent. Though they do make commission on their service, it’s quite often at the expense of the landlords as opposed to the tenants. Of course they want the best price possible because the more they get for rent the more they make on commission, but they are more in touch with reality than many private landlords and this is why agency may be able to offer say a Bangkok apartment rental for less that those of private owners. I’ll try to explain a bit more.

Often, a private owner, especially an inexperienced one, will attempt to rent out his property in Bangkok (or elsewhere) using his own resources so as to save on agency fees. He is quite often over ambitious with his expectations for rent. After a few months without any luck he reluctantly seeks out the services of a letting agency to see if they can do any better. Here, they often inform him that to make his Bangkok property more desirable, he needs to spend a few thousand Baht on a bit of fresh painting, wash away the mildew from the bathroom walls, get rid of any tacky or broken furniture, fix the broken window, and sling a bit of bleach in the bog before showing any more potential tenants around the place.

The greedy landlord may point out that he can’t afford to .....

The Thai real estate agent may also inform him that he’s asking well over the top for this property type. The greedy landlord may point out that he can’t afford to let it go any cheaper. The agent may reply to this by highlighting the amount of months his vacant property has already lost him by sitting empty, and if he doesn’t do something soon, it will most likely remain in this unoccupied state indefinitely.

A plan is then drawn up, the agent takes over the management of his apartment, and the property soon reappears back on the market cleaner, smarter and cheaper than before.

With reagrds to the Bangkok real estate agencies, there will be a minority of bad ones among the good, and so it’s always advisable to be mindful of this. Apart from personal recommendations there are no easy answers.

To summarise then, a letting agencies act on behalf of landlords, not tenants. In most cases they are paid by the landlord. There are various different types of letting agencies too. Some just find tenants for properties (sometimes referred to as accommodation agencies). Others manage properties on behalf of landlords and the tenants may never have any direct contact with the landlord.

First Tip: When renting a private home whether it's through a Thai real estate Agent, a Letting Agency, or a private owner, never be afraid to negotiate the price. Be prepared to walk away and you could be surprised at the discounts available an hour or two later.

Note: Condos are not the same as apartments, and generally speaking, when it comes to renting an apartment, Thai landlords fix the price which is more often than not, non negotiable. That said, it's always worth a try, but don't push it as much as you would with a condo.

Second Tip: If you definitely want the viewed property and you’re ok with the asking price generally, don’t push the above too far as you could lose it to someone just as eager as yourself.

Third Tip: Watch Out, there's a Farang about! There are a lot of Foreigners (Farangs) freelancing as estate agents in and around the Greater Bkk area, and most of these are single middle-aged men trying to earn enough money so that they can stay in Thailand.

Although some of these guys are quite genuine and offer a good service, there are many others that don't, and should be avoided like the plague. Therefore it's usually better to go with a reputable agent, that is a one that has a registered company and has been in business for a number of years, and as such has some credibility behind them.


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