You often hear people moaning about real estate agents, getting paid too much and doing very little. So why bother with them? Like any profession there are good and bad apples, but if you get a good one you will never look back. This is especially true when you are buying property in a foreign country, where things are never quite what they seem.
Buying property in Croatia is no different and a good real estate agent in Croatia will both find you the right property as well as assist you through the process, always in conjunction with a good lawyer. So what exactly would your Croatian property agent do? In the first part of this series of articles we talk about our initial introduction to potential clients via ‘leads’ where they come from and at what time of year.
We receive leads from a variety of sources and in varying numbers during different parts of the year. During the winter period we receive most of our leads through our website and Internet partners with whom we co-operate. Currently as we build our online presence we receive about 50% of our leads through www.firstpropertycroatia.com and the rest through partner sites. By partner site we mean Internet portals that promote property in Croatia.
A large majority of the client leads we receive are from people who are at the initial stages of considering purchasing property in Croatia and understandably a very high number perhaps as many as 95% come to nothing. But it is important to respond to all of them, professional and courteously, providing as much relevant information as possible and keeping communication open for as long as necessary.
Of the remaining 5%, the large majority have already committed to buying property in Croatia they just haven’t found the right property yet. Often they have already been to Croatia, looking for Croatian real estate opportunities, and have done some initial research into locations and price as well as viewed some property. With these clients we start to build up a detailed profile to fine tune exactly what they are looking for, helping to crystallize their thoughts regarding the type of property in Croatia they want to buy and therefore which properties would be interesting for them to view. This is an important process since it saves our clients and our time.
During the summer season we continue to receive clients through web site but from the beginning of March we start to get referrals via our network as people looking to buy property in Croatia arrive in Croatia and are given our contact through a third party. Third parties are a combination of friends, colleagues working in other real estate related businesses, insurance, banking, property management for example. We also start to receive contact from other agencies we co-operate with and who need help finding the right properties for their clients. However, perhaps most importantly we receive a lot of clients, the vast majority of who are our best clients, through referrals from clients that have previously purchase property in Croatia with us.
Timing wise our good quality Croatian real estate leads tend to come through outside of season, early season or end of season. During the season we have a lot of what we would call ‘site seers’, people who thought it might be a nice idea to own a real estate in Croatia whilst sitting on the beach enjoying their holiday. Rarely do these sorts of client’s progress to purchase a property and since we do not use aggressive sales tactics we do not push clients to buy a property in Croatian they do not want. We very much believe in ‘what goes around comes around’ and prefer to guide clients, providing relevant and detailed information allowing them to make their own decisions. Of course we are a business and therefore have an interest that our clients buy a property in Croatia, but not at any cost. A happy client not only feels good, they are also our best advocates who will refer friends and others in the area in which they have purchased.
In the next article we will talk about the different types of clients that contact us and the process we go through before they come to view properties in Croatia.