Bogus real estate agents have been a huge issue in Zimbabwe for years now. In major cities and towns, it is commonplace to fall victim to such culprits. It has almost become a norm for so-called agents to dupe home seekers in Zimbabwe. There is absolutely no point in paying money that does not guarantee you get what you need. Sometime in March, I touched on this subject when we discussed a potential solution to that called Haus – a Zimbabwean online property listing platform. Today let us look at how registered estate agents are being inconvenienced by bogus real estate agents.
Bogus Real Estate Agents Making Things Difficult For Registered Real Estate Agents
Registered real estate agents have been complaining about losing business due to bogus real estate agents. This of course is happening in two core ways. One, prospective clients are served by bogus real estate agents meaning registered agents lose potential revenue. Then secondly, most clients handled by bogus real estate agents get duped or inconvenienced. Resultantly, prospective clients end up avoiding dealing with agents at all. That again means registered real estate agents get to lose more potential revenue. It is indicated that for every 10 prospects, registered real estate agents are losing at least 6 potential clients to bogus agents.
Bogus Real Estate Agents Getting Blacklisted – But The Problem Persists
Countless real estate agents are not registered with the Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe (EACZ). For one to be considered a registered real estate agent you have to be registered with EACZ. Lately, over 70 real estate companies have been blacklisted across Zimbabwe. This was in part due to not being registered with EACZ. It was also because they did not have Compensation Funds certificates.
These certificates are given out annually by EACZ. This is a certificate that should be displayed at a visible spot at the reception of a real estate company. (Now you know what it takes to be considered a registered estate agent or company). More than 70 bogus real estate companies getting blacklisted is a notable development. However, the problem of bogus real estate agents in Zimbabwe persists; there are still more out there.
It Is Not Just About Buildings Alone
Yes, a considerable chunk of bogus real estate agents entails buildings. However, they are also actively engaged in duping prospects in land-related dealings. They do this in many ways but one of the most common tricks is to sell land that does not exist. Some can even sell land that is already owned by someone else. They can also sell land that was never theirs or was never under their portfolio. Registered real estate agents have expressed concerns that bogus agents are compromising their business operations land-wise.
EACZ President’s Remarks
Global Renaissance Investments (GRI) recently facilitated a Property Management & Investment Masterclass in Nyanga. EACZ was also present and its president, Mr Alexander Millini had the following to say regarding bogus real estate agents:
The impact is quite devastating. Registered estate agents are losing about 60 percent of the business that should be going to their doors. We have issues of greed and dishonesty where innocent people are now losing their money. For example a property is sold to more than one person and rental money is being received for properties that do not exist. This is not just in the cities, bogus agents are all over. The public needs to be aware that estate agents need to be registered and adhere to some laws and regulations. The Estate Agents Council and the current leadership is seized with this issue and some actions have been taken which I am sure will increase activities that will be shared with the public to warn the public about it.
He also went on to say:
The town council becomes distorted and now in disarray because now you also have a place where there are stands parcelled about but there is no infrastructure. You have houses built but no roads, no water, and no sewer. What does this do? It looks like it is not even urban development. We are not having social amenities; we are not having our constitutional rights, for example water. The land barons do not care about such but we care. Because there is no connection between the old and the new structure that would pull down the value of the existing structures by as much as 50 percent simply because you share a boundary with that.
As a home, building, or land seeker you need to be vigilant. It is imperative that you carry out comprehensive due diligence. Do not just part with your money without being sure you are dealing with a registered real estate agent. From the onset, see to it that you have ascertained whether or not they are legit. I strongly urge you to check with the Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe (EACZ) to check out a real estate agent in question. You can engage the EACZ through their website. They are also reachable on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.