Abu Dhabi residents are side-stepping brokers by renting and buying property through Facebook, according to real estate experts.
Community groups on the social media platform connect owners with property managers and customers, eliminating brokers’ commissions.
Experts warn, however, that these groups are not without risk.
“People are getting their fingers burned left, right, and centre,” says Hannah MacDougall, operations manager of LLJ Property.
The situation particularly applies to Al Reef, where a Facebook page with 18,000 followers boasts property in the area.
Experts claim skipping a professional broker might save consumers from extra fees, but will leave them unprotected by fraudulent listings and contracts.
“We aren’t very far away from the idea that in order to protect their best interests as a seller, the seller will be willing to pay a fee to the broker for professional service,” says Hannah MacDougall.
Michael Lahyani, founder and CEO of Propertyfinder Group, said his platform does not allow individual owners to advertise directly on its portal, or for consumers to bypass brokerages. Real estate transactions get done through robust documentation, escrow when needed, a title deed, as well as a series of steps with the Abu Dhabi Ministry to finalise transfer or ownership.
“We are really protecting the professionalism of the brokerage industry. We are partners in this,” he said.
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