Should I Hire a Property Agent?

Should I hire a property agent

Should I hire a property Agent to sell my Property? Do I need to hire an agent when I am buying a property?

In Singapore, its not compulsory for you to hire a property agent or a real estate agent, but just like massages are best done by someone else, Property Agents fill a gap in the service industry, catering to people who require a seamless and trouble-free property transaction.

The agent’s commission is negotiable. However, there is a market rate that most agents charge. Click here  to find out more. 

Why Hire a Property Agent? Benefits of hiring an agent.

When you hire a property or real estate agent, you are hiring someone to represent you in all your property transactions. Trust is implicit as the agent is supposed to always have your best interest in mind, i.e. maximizing your profits and minimizing your loss in every transaction. Your agent should also be able to give you accurate advice on your transaction to the best of his knowledge, subsequently refer you to a lawyer or a banker.

It goes without saying that there are bad apples in every industry, however in real estate transactions, most disputes come about because of expectations that are misaligned.

It is essential for you to find someone you are comfortable with from the onset. Apart from that, you should also make clear what you expect from your real estate agent. If you do not feel comfortable stating your demands or expectations up front, the Council of Estate Agents (CEA) has come up with good guidelines as to what should be the responsibility of the property agent.

(Note that CEA refers to the Real Estate Company as “Estate Agents” and the individual agents themselves as “Salespersons”).

You should refer documents to the following prior to engaging an agent

  1. CEA’s Consumer Tips for Engaging A Salesperson
  2. CEA’s Engaging Salespersons – Get It right

CEA explains that the transaction between a property agent and his client ends when the transaction is completed. Going by this definition, a property agent is similar to a matchmaker. His job ends when you have found a good match and get married, but when the relationship (for e.g. between the tenant and the landlord) gets messy, it is not really his responsibility to mediate.

However, there are property agents out there who choose to play the role of ‘therapists or mediators’ to your relationship. Since this is essentially a free service, i.e. the agent does not get paid for helping you mediate after the lease is signed – be sure that your appointed agent is willing to (and be professional while he is doing it) deal with such matters.

 

So why should you part with that additional cash to hire a Property Agent?

1)   Her knowledge of the market, procedures, and regulations regarding your transaction.

    • Find someone who can give you updated advice tailored to your situation, preferably in written format from reputable sources like Government websites.
    • In addition, they should have access to recent market transactions of the area so that you are able to have better bargaining powers.

2)   Her ability to make the transaction seamless easy for you.

    • Hiring an agent means that you would have assistance when deciphering complicated forms or complicated procedures.
    • Your agent should also have access to complimentary services for example referral to a banker or to a renovation company.

3)   Be your voice in negotiating the deal to ensure the highest possible benefit.

    • The agent may give you appropriate advice but she should also always convey any timely offers that come along. The ultimate decision to accept or reject any offers lie with you and you should not let anyone pressure you into doing anything you are not comfortable with.

4)   Value your time above all else.

    • When searching for a house to purchase or rent, there are dozens on the market that may be suitable for you. However, unless you have unlimited time, your agent should be able to sift through all the listings to find something closest to all your needs.

5)    Go beyond available listings to ensure you get what you want.

    • The good deals may not only be able on the classified ads or online listings, but depends on the competency of agents to get in touch with owners.

How do I choose and hire a property agent? 

You can respond to property listings which suit your needs, whether online, through fliers or through the classified ads of the Straits Times, after you have done your due diligence in ensuring that the agent’s listing is licensed. If you do come across adverts that do not show the licence number of an agent or the company that he is representing, be aware that you might be dealing with a fraud.

Verify the authenticity of your agent by doing the following

1)   Visit the CEA Public Register or download the CEA app

Property Agent CEA App

 

2) On the Website , select the salesperson tab and enter the handphone number listed on the ad.

Property Agent CEA Public Register

 

3) The registered number of a licensed agent would return a result.

Property Agent Singapore Buying

 

 

4) Verify the Information of the Agent by clicking on the Registration number. This would bring you to the Agent’s Profile Page, with licence details and a photograph to confirm their identity. 

ERA Property Agent Singapore

 

Should I hire one or multiple agents?

Selling your property

Most property owners seem to think that placing their unit on an open listing (i.e. Multiple agents would be marketing it on a non-exclusive basis)  would result in more agents marketing their units, and therefore open it up to a bigger audience.

In reality, a non-exclusive agreement only encourages passivity (i.e. they do not have the incentive to work hard to market it) on the part of the agent because none of them would have full exclusivity over the deal.

A good agent does more than just take pictures, advertises and lists your home on multiple listing sites like PropertyGuru and STproperty. A good agent should provide a professional eye and give you advice you on changes to be made to your home, also known as staging, so that it would catch a buyers attention. This includes removing clutter, rearranging furniture so that space is maximized, insist on a paint job if necessary, as well as any other recommendation to get your house into tiptop shape. This refers to home staging, so that buyers would be more attracted to the home as is, rather than having to imagine the possibilities that can be done with the unit.

Consider the following

1) If an agent does not have exclusivity to market your home, do you think he or she would be motivated to assist you to dress it up or stage it so that it fetches the highest price? Most likely not.

2) Would they be motivated to reach out to more than one marketing portals (above and beyond the free ones) to that your unit is widely advertised?

3) Would they be bothered to pay hundreds of dollars to advertise on newspapers and other more creative or costly methods when someone else may just end up with the deal? I don’t think so.

In theory, a non-exclusive sounds better than an exclusive deal because it would mean that more agents are marketing your unit but in reality, not all agents would put in a similar amount of effort.

To safeguard your interest in the event you hire a non-performing agent, CEA has limited the exclusivity period to 3 months so that you are free to hire another agent after that 3 months end.

Another point to take note is that in non -exclusive agreements, the agents now have a right to include a clause that they can charge you for the advertising costs incurred in the event they are not the ones who close the deal.

Buying a property

 

 

The following two tabs change content below.
Siti Zubeidah is a Marketing Director with ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd. (CEA No.: R050625J) She has a Bachelors Degree in Informations Communications and Sociology from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and a Masters of Mass Communications from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). With vast experience in the HDB market, Private and Landed Properties in Singapore, she is confident that she can assist you to make the correct decision regarding the purchase of your dream home as well as to get you the best price on the sale of your property. She can be contacted at 96918885 or at askus@propertyrocking.com.