Beware of unlicensed brokers, says Bahamas real estate expert

Co-broking is a normal part of the real estate market in the Bahamas, and prospective buyers should not be put off to find homes on the books of more than one agent.

Finding the perfect property in The Bahamas can be a daunting task, for locals and foreigners alike, according to Zack Bonczek, a RE/MAX Bahamas real estate agent. He advises buyers unfamiliar with the market to interview several agents. ‘Select the one that you feel will work to find you the right opportunities. Often buyers and renters will begin by searching the web looking for properties that match their criteria. However, a better approach, especially in smaller markets such as The Bahamas, is to talk to a few agents and get a feeling for their level of experience,’ he said. ‘As we all know, good things can quickly go bad when relying on incorrect or incomplete information. Once you have chosen your agent then you can begin your search together. Your agent should understand your wants and needs and be able to match them with the best available options,’ he added. He also believes that it is worth making sure that the real estate agent you choose is licensed by The Bahamas Real Estate Association. ‘As in any market, there are those that are happy to help you find real estate opportunities, especially is there is a commission involved. Only licensed agents are able to engage in the practice of real estate in The Bahamas. You should ask an agent for a copy of their license,’ he explained, adding that there is a complete list of licensed agents, brokers, appraisers and developers on the association’s website. ‘In The Bahamas real estate market, our area is small and the agents and brokers typically have excellent working relationships with one another. Co-broking is the norm, not the exception. If you search other Bahamas real estate websites and come up with properties that are different than from the website of the agent’s company you have chosen, simply ask the agent to set up a showing. It’s that simple,’ Bonczek also explained. ‘This will avoid you having to schedule multiple appointments with multiple agents and cuts way down on any potential confusion,’ he said. He also believes it is worth considering an agent experience and one that practices full time in the business. ‘Seasoned agents can offer you advice on the best areas for purchase or rent based on your needs. Further, they can help structure transactions that will result in the most favourable outcome for both the buyer and seller. Understanding the market and understanding how the closing costs affect price can save you thousands,’ he pointed out.