Many landlords rely on other people to rent out their unit -- the property management company, the staff of the building or neighborhood, and/or the developer -- rather than advertise by themselves to agents, or assign this to a family member or close associate to handle.
There are some neighborhoods and condominium buildings which have outstanding staff in supporting all agents and promoting the units of all owners.
Unfortunately, there are many neighborhoods and building staff who take advantage of their monopoly gatekeeper position and:
Officers can sometimes impress the owners that they will do their best to get the owner's unit occupied, but it often becomes a lesson in languishing units and excuses ... Talking the talk is easy, but walking the walk is another matter.
Relying 100% on one juristic entity creates a monopoly situation which the staff can abuse if they so choose. It may be good to tell juristic staff, but not good to stop there. You should also advertise with agents directly.
Most renters search on the internet in this modern world, especially in a big place like Bangkok. Not a lot of potential tenants just walk into condominium buildings or suburban neighborhoods. Foreigners new to Bangkok rely heavily on agents for guidance. The agents need to know about your units because you are not assured that juristic staff given a monopoly on your unit will reveal it to agents, or do so diligently.
It is fair and reasonable to give juristic staff or the property management company a percentage of the commission for good service, usually ranging from 10% to 33%, depending upon how much of the work they do, before the sale as well as after sales support. It is fair to go up to 50-50 only if the staff do a fair share of the work.
The real estate agency has considerable costs in marketing to find the customer, to go survey, prepare photos and present the properties available for rent, to bring the customer around to various buildings (usually for days per customer), negotiate the lease, provide after sales service, and cover their general office overhead. The real estate agency depends 100% on commissions for financial support.
The property management company and building staff are already paid to maintain the building, whereby commissions are a bonus.
The property management company and building staff are usually not assertive in promoting a property. They often do nothing more than sit there and wait with the keys, as gatekeeper. If you give them the monopoly, they have the power to refuse to reveal the availability of the unit, or the owners' contact details who wish to rent their unit. They often require that we go thru them for everything, which is OK if they are working in your best interests according to their job responsibilities.
If they are actively promoting your unit by submitting good photos and details to many real estate agencies, getting involved in the sales process, and providing good after sales support to the customer, then a commission of up to 50% is reasonable and we are happy with that.
Unfortunately, very few really do all this, and instead look for easy money. Many sit on a property as if they have a monopoly, and if agents decline to cooperate with them due to the high commission demanded, they would rather just wait a few months dreaming of getting a higher commission from a walk-in customer instead of a lower % with a coagent who brings in a customer, and often don't care about the landlord's lack of income in between. They may maximize their income much later, at your loss in the mean time.
If you are not going to advertise your unit, then it is better to go to a professional real estate company which is already geared to take good photos and advertise your property, not just to the building management. Many real estate companies, such as our own, coagent liberally, to maximize the number of sales.
We coagent with other agents, as long as it is fair and reasonable, not greedy.
Many condominium owners contact us first and communicate directly to us. When we go to the building to show the unit, the building staff are obligated to give us the keys for showing the unit upon your request. We are usually not obligated to give a commission to them, but we often do so anyway, proportional to the amount of assistance they give and according to reasonable expectations. However, if they just grudgingly give us the keys and avoid doing anything more than the minimum, that's different, no commission nor any gifts or anything.
We try to maintain good relations with everybody, and try to be fair, but others should do the same. When there are differences, we try to work out a fair solution for all.
We've had some bad situations where the juristic staff insisted on 50%, we went ahead and showed, and the customer wanted the unit, but then the juristic staff would not give the customer's agent the owner's phone number or email address, and the juristic were very, very slow in making progress in closing. Tenants and agents will sometimes give up and go to Plan B because the tenant fears they will not get good service from the landlord if something goes wrong like a broken appliance, and they don't want to wait too long and lose Plan B, too, to another tenant.
Sometimes the juristic staff told us and the tenant that they would help the tenant with things, but after the sale is closed, were unwilling to. Even for something as simple as internet and TV setup (which the agent normally helps the expat tenant with), they may tell the tenant to just go order it themselves (deal with the Thai language, and go figure it out themselves at a shop...). We have offered to step in and set up the internet, but have found that we cannot because the previous tenant's internet was never turned off for that unit, which is a problem because we must contact the previous tenant to pay their overdue bills and sign off on closing before another internet connection can be installed in that unit ... and who knows where the previous tenant is ... all because whoever managed the unit before did not close the account when the previous tenant moved out. A lot of issues and difficulties arise when the staff at the building insist that only they can deal with the landlord and the agent cannot.
It is very helpful if we can contact the owners directly, or better yet, if the owners find us here and contact us.
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