Listening to client the key to success for veteran agent

SUMMER- STRAND-based estate agent Mariette Rossouw, who lives and works from her home in the seaside suburb, has observed changes in the property market in recent years.

As a property professional she appreciates the wisdom in economic forecasts provided by economists. But even when their outlook is less than positive, Rossouw is undeterred; she keeps on with her winning formula for success: listening carefully to what buyers want. While economists may not expect house prices to pick up soon, it also means it is a good time to buy, Rossouw says.

There are fewer properties on the market than there used to be. "We remember the days when we showed 12 houses to the buyer," she said.

As people purchase by making comparisons on what is available in the market, it is important that an agent understands a buyer's requirements.

Rossouw recently sold a Summerstrand home to a delighted buyer: what is remarkable is that it was the very first house that Rossouw showed him. Her knowledge of market conditions and the property industry helps, but what distinguishes her as a property professional is her listening skills.

The buyer was astonished at being shown a house that ticked all the boxes in his list of "must haves".

"There is some magic in matching what the buyer wants and giving advice in terms of finance," Rossouw said.

Prior to the satisfied buyer viewing the property, Rossouw had advised that the house needed "doing up", and only had two bedrooms, as the other bedrooms had been converted into living areas. What would have deterred other prospective buyers became a selling point. As a more mature buyer he required a home which he could live in while letting out some rooms to students for rental income.

Rossouw believes in the adage that "no one can take your qualifications and experience away from you". Her 30 years in property add to her value as a property professional, as much as all her awards and qualifications.

"My message to any new agent is to find a good agent and do shadowing for a year. Learn all the tricks of the trade," she says.

Her husband, Herman, has been running 1st @ MLS Rental and Sales for 10 years, rendering an additional service to the property company.

Rossouw is community minded. She was selected to represent the interests of Summerstrand as a ward member and has served for the past 10 years. Among her interests is needlework.

Rossouw put her personal stamp on the suburb of Summerstrand in the most unlikely way in 1992 when her son was still at Summerwood Primary School. "I designed their school uniform in tartan."

She researched tartan and has had the Summerwood tartan registered to prevent copying.

This led her to the National Record of Scotland in Edinburgh earlier this year, where the registration was confirmed.