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Old 06.05.2020, 08:23
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Real estate agent rant

For the last 3 months or so Ive been looking into buying a house. I keep being surprised by the pictures that real estate agents publish... don't these people have decent camera's ? Or are all clocks here in CH really quite oval and does everyone have a 21 by 9 cinema wide TV ? And the way thr houses are shown from exactly such and such an angle to make it look like it is practically free standing in a field of flowers. Do they really think we won't google map the environment ? Like we wouldn't notice the honking great big church bell tower 20 meters from the bedroom window.

Its a miracle houses get sold at all, with the documentation pictures in mind prospective buyers are going to be so disappointed with the real thing.

And for this the real estate agents charge what, 3% or so ? For putting a few pictures in a pdf and posting it on homegate ? I'm still waiting for the first agent answering my question about room height (being 192cm tall 210cm room height is not enough), is that really too much trouble for a 20k commision ?

Also, once you decide not to look at anything within 500m of a church tower the amount of available houses goes way down... never realised there were that many churches here...
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Old 06.05.2020, 08:37
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Re: Real estate agent rant

Maybe they don't want dirty foreigners ruining the neighborhood?




Yes they are a special breed, I have a mate who works at the notary and the stories he tells about some of the contracts submitted by agents could make a stand up comedy show!
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Old 06.05.2020, 09:00
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Re: Real estate agent rant

In Switzerland estate agents are worse than used car salesmen. We had one that told clients that they were offering too much and that I would come down. In this case I was paying his commission.

Had another agent steal another agents web-information and posted it on his web page with his contact information.

First agent told me. I told the second agent to remove it, which he refused. Despite telling him that I would not do business with him he kept calling as he had someone interested.
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Old 06.05.2020, 09:06
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Re: Real estate agent rant

Not in ch but I once trawled the website of a certain estate agent and discovered he was using the same exterior shot for three different houses and the same kitchen shot for five houses . He was also still advertising a house that had actually burnt down five years previously .
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Old 06.05.2020, 09:19
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Re: Real estate agent rant

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For the last 3 months or so Ive been looking into buying a house. I keep being surprised by the pictures that real estate agents publish... don't these people have decent camera's ? Or are all clocks here in CH really quite oval and does everyone have a 21 by 9 cinema wide TV ? And the way thr houses are shown from exactly such and such an angle to make it look like it is practically free standing in a field of flowers. Do they really think we won't google map the environment ? Like we wouldn't notice the honking great big church bell tower 20 meters from the bedroom window.
The wide-angle distorted photos are to entice the prospective buyers to view the house.

Once the estate agent has you on site then that's half the battle won and they can do what they do best to convince you to buy.

I took some of my own photos for when our last place was sold and the estate agent used them in the brochure.
Even then I used a wide-angle lense, subtle lighting and all that sh*t with a couple of cups of coffee on a tray at a jaunty angle on a table.
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Old 06.05.2020, 09:42
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Re: Real estate agent rant

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Even then I used a wide-angle lense, subtle lighting and all that sh*t with a couple of cups of coffee on a tray at a jaunty angle on a table.
You could have lost yourself a few potential customers there, I knew a guy once who could not have anything out of place, OCD about angles. All pots had their own place on the shelf with all their handles angles the same way, placemats on the table had to be square to the edge with an inch distance. Jaunty angles were unheard of. He would be visibly distressed if you placed your coffee cup down without moving the handle to -45° to the nearest edge.
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Old 06.05.2020, 09:49
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Re: Real estate agent rant

Is there a professional association in this country? Are these people licensed? Are they regulated?

Last edited by bowlie; 06.05.2020 at 09:50. Reason: Their, there, they’re
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Old 06.05.2020, 10:10
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Re: Real estate agent rant

Swiss estate agents are a joke. When I was looking around I was told I could view an empty flat I was interested in anytime... between 10 and 12 or 2 and 4 .. monday to thursday... not the flat owner's restriction.. that was when they were 'available' to show any property.
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Old 06.05.2020, 10:10
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Re: Real estate agent rant

Do you want to live in a village? Because then your church tower rule is really going to cut your options. My parents live about 300 metres as the crow flies from the village church, my bedroom was on the top floor facing the church and I honestly couldn't say that I remember noticing the bells that much. On the other hand, where I live now there is definitely no church around me for at least 800 metres but I still hear them on my balcony on a Sunday morning.

The thing with these sorts of noises is that you get used to them if you decide to accept it. I live in the freaking flight path of Zurich airport and while I definitely enjoy the quiet at the moment, I knew that airplanes make noise before I moved here and decided that I was ok with that. Many people who used to get annoyed by the church bells ended up missing them when they moved. A lot of villages have stopped the nightly ringing, by the way. Mind you, I used to date a guy who live right across the street from a Roman Catholic church near Römerhof and I don't think I could ever get used to that level of noise on a Sunday morning. Same with another guy I dated who was just a few houses away from St. Jakob at Stauffacher, that is definitely too much noise for my liking.

If you are looking in villages and want to be away from the church, you may inadvertently be far enough to get into the cowbell zone. I think that would bother me more.

As for you wondering how anything ever gets sold: easy, there is not that much for sale. When I was looking into buying property on behalf of my father, I had to call three times to get a floor plan for an apartment near Berninaplatz. Asking price was 700k for a third floor apartment with two bedrooms, no lift, only a tiny balcony, one OUTDOOR parking space and shared washing facilities. The estate agent didn't even show up for the agreed viewing time and when I called him to express my thoughts on this, he just laughed and told me he already had thirty offers and the price would be at least 750k.

A brief look into historical prices for that building showed that a ground floor apartment with the same floor plan had sold for a mere 350k two years prior. And, that, my friend, is why real estate agents are pissing about - they are in a far too easy position. Have you heard of properti? They are new to the real estate market, set up by the former COO of Better Homes (full disclosure, I went to uni with him but he is not paying me to say this) and I get the distinct impression that they try just that little bit harder. Their website is unfortunately not yet available in English but if I remember correctly, you've been here for a while so I guess German should work too.
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Old 06.05.2020, 10:17
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Re: Real estate agent rant

If only all Swiss properties were advertised like on Neho, virtual visit on all properties and minimal contact with real estate agents

https://neho.ch/en/our-properties
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Old 06.05.2020, 10:17
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Re: Real estate agent rant

1. A fish eye lens can transform a humble closet into a banqueting hall. Of course these estate agents will make good use of such a resource.
2. The 21 x 9 cinema wide TV is probably a library shot, for customers who lack the imagination as to how a blank wall could be utilised.
3. You can't escape bells here very easily. If it is not church bells, it is cow bells.

Oh, and dont forget to ask about the neighbours, especially if the property is under "Stockwerkeigentum" (some common ownership aspects).
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Old 06.05.2020, 10:29
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Re: Real estate agent rant

Whilst many are useless - not all Estate Agents are as described.

We have had a really good experience selling (and buying) in CH, service far superior to both the UK and Sweden.

Agent attentive to our needs and wishes, really good understanding of the market place, fluent in English and french - just perfect and we sold over the asking price.

Our immediate neighbour sold his property via the same agent, at the same time as us .....to the same purchaser also above asking price.

So as a seller I can report a positive experience. As a buyer its not unlike the rest of the world where one need to be directional and difficult to get what you want from an agent whose only wish is to do as little as possible for the largest commission.

Best

Rep
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Old 06.05.2020, 11:04
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Re: Real estate agent rant

There are probably good and bad real estate agents here like everywhere else, but one thing I've noticed is that there seems to be less of a feeling that a seller needs to 'stage' a house to make it look more attractive.

In the states, people spend a small amount of money putting on a fresh coat of paint, making small repairs, removing clutter and replacing their own furniture with attractive rental furniture in order to make their property super attractive and hope to make that back on the sale price.

At least in the Zürich area, there is so little for sale, that I guess people seem to just show the house as it is and assume that there will be an insane bidding war anyway.

I've always wondered why the sellers don't seem to do a bit more? Why not just paint or move out clutter or something? Maybe it is because all that stuff costs so much more here. If you are paying a painter or a mover Swiss professional hourly wages, it suddenly doesn't make so much sense to spruce things up like that. I don't know, but it is an interesting difference.
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Old 06.05.2020, 11:19
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Re: Real estate agent rant

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For the last 3 months or so Ive been looking into buying a house. I keep being surprised by the pictures that real estate agents publish... don't these people have decent camera's ? Or are all clocks here in CH really quite oval and does everyone have a 21 by 9 cinema wide TV ? And the way thr houses are shown from exactly such and such an angle to make it look like it is practically free standing in a field of flowers. Do they really think we won't google map the environment ? Like we wouldn't notice the honking great big church bell tower 20 meters from the bedroom window.

Its a miracle houses get sold at all, with the documentation pictures in mind prospective buyers are going to be so disappointed with the real thing.

And for this the real estate agents charge what, 3% or so ? For putting a few pictures in a pdf and posting it on homegate ? I'm still waiting for the first agent answering my question about room height (being 192cm tall 210cm room height is not enough), is that really too much trouble for a 20k commision ?

Also, once you decide not to look at anything within 500m of a church tower the amount of available houses goes way down... never realised there were that many churches here...

That's what happens when the property in Switzerland remains in infinite boom cycle.

They know with the high demand, especially in urban areas, the property will get rented so why hustle . For my last apartment, there were 25 people inspecting at the same time.
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Old 06.05.2020, 11:19
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Re: Real estate agent rant

They will sell it anyway and if it is old enough to need "sprucing up", there is a high chance that the new owners will go to town on renovating it. Furthermore, if you have had a property for more than ten years, you'll be selling at a tidy profit anyway, simply because of how much the prices have gone up. Anyone who bought their home in the Zurich area before 2008 is going to be laughing all the way to the bank...
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Old 06.05.2020, 11:20
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Re: Real estate agent rant

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Swiss estate agents are a joke. When I was looking around I was told I could view an empty flat I was interested in anytime... between 10 and 12 or 2 and 4 .. monday to thursday... not the flat owner's restriction.. that was when they were 'available' to show any property.
Some estate agents everywhere are a joke.

We had an excellent Swiss agent sell our place here. He couldn't do enough to help us - really.

Yes, he really earned his commission.


The last estate agent in the U.K. was fantastic - he really knew his stuff too and we sold our last place for a lot more than the current market value.
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Old 06.05.2020, 11:22
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Re: Real estate agent rant

We have sold in the past via our own website and with Homegate. At 3% plus tax and usually some expenses, it's far cheaper and often more efficient to hire a professional photographer and run your own campaign with Homegate (and other such sites).

One drawback though is you must know a bit about selling, which is why realtors often conduct viewings without the owner present. Owners tend to become emotional about the property and speak too much. Along the lines of "it's such a beautiful property, my first and second husband both died peacefully in that room" or "the neighbor's dog is really friendly, he's only bitten three people this year"! Exaggerated but see what i mean?

When you advertise this way you'll have realtors calling you and saying they have a client. You agree a time and he says he'll be there 15 minutes before to sign the contract. You sign without properly reading it and what you've signed is an exclusive mandate for 2 years. The supposed client then fails to show and you are locked in. Even if you sell yourself he is still due his commission.

Having said that, there are some excellent realtors, you just have to find them!
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Old 06.05.2020, 11:28
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Re: Real estate agent rant

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One drawback though is you must know a bit about selling, which is why realtors often conduct viewings without the owner present.
Our last one here refuses point bank to have the owners present.

As you wrote, they can really scupper any deal with stupid comments.

Ours said he always had to get to houses fifteen minutes before to ensure the owners had gone out - and, unbelievably, to go around emptying ashtrays and picking dirty underpants off the floor- although I'm sure that happens in other countries and not just Switzerland.
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Old 06.05.2020, 11:40
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Re: Real estate agent rant

Ironically, Switzerland is one country where buying and selling property doesn't need a sales agent.

In most areas, though not all, demand is so high that you can sell anything and decent properties have a queue to view them. Just tell your neighbours you are selling and they'll do the work for free. Failing that a CHF150 ad in homegate...
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Old 06.05.2020, 11:51
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Re: Real estate agent rant

I've honestly had the opposite experience in our 18 months looking for a house. But we're in a very different area. The one we're going to make an offer on this week had such terrible photos. They took the photos from practically the middle of each room, and not more than one photo per room (some rooms didn't even warrant a photo). The garden is absolutely stunning but that, too, was reduced to two very bad photos mostly showing off the outside of the house. I send the ad on to my parents in the US so they could see what we're looking at, and in the end I had to spend forty-five minutes talking them through what the house actually looks like and explaining where the person was standing for each photo (i.e., for the kitchen, they didn't stand in the open corner of the kitchen to get a shot of the whole thing but stood with both the fridge and the bar behind them and took a hasty and very poor picture of the sink, two cupboards and the window. When we actually looked at the house I laughed and said to the realtor "The kitchen is three times bigger than the photos make it look!" She couldn't have cared less: they've had a great amount of interest and will probably end up selling to someone with lots of money to redo the place who will offer above asking price, not us poor lowly folk who plan to live in it as-is).
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