The real estate industry is an assortment of property agents, brokers and firms. They offer an assortment of properties from bare raw land to low- cost housing, lower and upper middle-class dwellings in stand-alone houses and/or row houses. Expensive apartments, luxury condominiums and even mansions are leased, managed or sold by different sorts of real estate establishments. There are so many faces of it. Exposure to the industry for some time, more or less, gives one an idea of types of properties handled by particular real estate firms. The types of properties handled by particular firms are, somehow, a branding or classification that creates the company's reputation. Agents or customers with some knowledge and exposure of property wheeling and dealing would know which company to approach for specific types of properties for which kind of customers or go-betweens. Some have pre- arranged or pre-set agreements in terms of commissions and incentive packs that may or may not have extended benefits to the customer or end- user. The customer's perspective is an outsider's view as if he has nothing to do with the industry. It is ironic that the very component that fuels the real estate industry is the one that does not have the privilege of an insider's view. While it is the sector that pays the cash for the units it buys, rents or leases, the customer does not have a hand in actually pegging the price for the merchandise. The firm computes percentages for commissions, salaries and wages for its employees, utilities and other overhead costs then adds a handsome layer of mark-up for its own profit. The customer has to pay and swallow all of these costs despite his meagre resources. To be able to purchase the real estate unit of his choice, the customer has to borrow from a bank offering the same unit he is buying as collateral in a mortgage loan. In short, he exposes himself to the risk of losing what he is buying if he fails to meet his obligations to the bank in monthly amortisations that include interest on the amount he borrowed. He has to labour many years before he can have a full claim of the real property as his own. But he cannot otherwise own the property as he cannot afford to acquire the unit on a one-time full payment transaction. The real estate business is conducted in that manner because at present, it is the only way that the average citizen could afford and pay for real property. There is the cheaper option of lease or rental that assuredly does not offer a chance for the customer to really own the property. This is the area where the customer has control over - to buy, lease or rent. If you have other better ideas, put it on paper. It just might lead you to your own financial freedom.
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