UGANDA, Gulu City | Real Muloodi News | In Uganda, when it comes time to sell property, homeowners have traditionally sought the help of brokers to find potential buyers. But property owners in Gulu City are turning to self-marketing to sell their properties, finding buyers themselves on social media and radio stations. This is making it difficult for brokers to do business, according to Uganda Radio Network (URN).
Brokers are the middlemen between a buyer and a seller of land or property. The seller and buyer compensate the broker with commission for facilitating the sale.
Geoffrey Odokonyero, a real estate broker in Gulu Town, tells URN that he usually makes verbal agreements with property owners for between 5-10 per cent of the selling price at the beginning of a transaction. Written agreements would require him to hire a lawyer, which he cannot afford. However, the property owners sometimes change their minds when the deal is being sealed.
Odokonyero claims he has nothing to show for the ten years he has worked as a broker. There is always endless bargaining on the commission he asks for selling their property.
He further claims that certain radio stations allow community members to sell their properties. This has robbed brokers of sales because landowners call in and provide their phone numbers for interested buyers to call directly.
Odokonyero tells URN that brokering has gotten more difficult for him in recent years with the introduction of social media. Property owners prefer self-marketing. They publish photographs and pricing of their properties for sale, as well as their contact information on social media. As a result, Odokonyero is considering changing careers.
Property owners here don’t trust brokers, according to Martin Masaba, who has worked as a broker for seven years. Brokering is very new in Acholi, and many people don’t see it as professional employment, but as a scam for dishonest people.
Just like Odokonyero, it has not been easy to get his commission from property sellers after getting a buyer.
“Land and property owners don’t trust brokers and yet brokers are the ones who get for them deals,” Masaba says.
“When it comes to time for paying for a land or house, they turn their backs against the brokers, looking at them as thieves. Secondly, if a land seller puts up his land for sale at Shillings 10 million and a broker manages to sell it at Shillings 12 million, the landowner would not want to give the broker the Shillings 2 million. So that is the challenge we are facing. The brokering business is still new in Acholi and many people look at it as a theft. The business is not easy. I’m just trying, if it works out them well and good, if not then that’s it,” Masaba further tells URN.
George Ocaya, the chairperson of the Gulu Property Owners Association, told URN that most brokers are doing their duties in an unprofessional manner. He suggests that, now that Gulu has grown into a city with real estate opportunities, the brokers must organize themselves and come up with figures that reflect their legitimate worth.
Association for Real Estate Agents
If one is going to use a broker to negotiate the sale agreement between potential buyers and the seller, it is important to check that the broker is registered with the Association for Real Estate Agents-Uganda [AREA-Uganda]. There is a high possibility that real estate agents registered with the governing association are genuine, and have received proper training.
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