Tuesday 3 October 2017

Top Tips To Work With Estate Agent

Are you planning to sell or lease out your HDB flat in Tampines? The problem is that it is a tedious process and you do not have the extra time to deal with the process of getting your property sold or rented out. Therefore, engaging with real estate agent sounds like a good idea. However, you do not know where and how to find the right real estate agent in Singapore. You start doing your research and look for real estate agents online, you read the reviews by other their clients and you start asking for recommendations from your friends. That is right, you are on the right track. But that is not the end of it.

Before you start, you need to understand the terms in the real estate industry. According to the Estate Agents Act, an estate agent has the same meaning as the estate agency business. All official estate agents are given a license by the CEA are allowed to carry out estate agency work. Here are a few handy tips that will guide you through the process of working with real estate agent:

1. Right credentials

It is the same as being a doctor or a lawyer. You need a certificate to show that you are a qualified real estate agent. A real estate agent should be able to show his or her estate agent card to you to verify himself or herself as an estate agent under the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) in Public Register. You will be able to if the person is an official real estate agent by checking his or her license number or name under the CEA. You could also find out if the real estate agent is of good fit in terms of disciplines and awards gotten by checking through the CEA. Beware of anyone who only talks without showing you his or her agent card. If necessary, you could always report to CEA at 1800-6432555 or email CEA at feedback@cea.gov.sg to prevent getting cheated.

2. Understand the real estate agent’s responsibilities

To ensure a happy working experience with the estate agent, you should know clearly on what your estate agent can provide for you. Your estate agent is supposed to:

(a) Promote and protect your interest or benefits in your property transaction
(b) Give you professional advises in any transaction process and give you the best interest
(c) Represent you in any negotiations available and keep you updated at all times on any potential proposals or offers from possible clients
(d) Update you on all the expression of interest and offers from potential clients or their respective estate agents
(e) Help you to get into a binding agreement and give an explanation on all relevant forms
(f) Describe to you on co-broking* to help you make an informed decision
(g) Inform you immediately if there is any conflict of interest or any external fees that you need to pay

Co-broking is a term that refers to agents sharing a listing, or two or more agents involved in a single property transaction.

3. Know what the real estate agent should not do

This is pretty straightforward. Your estate agent should not:
(a) Recommend or introduce you to any money lenders, be it licensed money lender or illegal money lenders
(b) Act as both the tenant and seller or buyer or landlord in one identical property transaction
(c) Manage transaction monies, such as the down payment, option fee and others
(d) Demand you to engage with a property agent

4. Commission rate

The commission rate is always negotiable between you and the estate agent. However, do negotiate before you sign any agreement with your estate agent and make clear if GST is included or not into the commission rate. Bear in mind to always negotiate reasonably when it comes to commission rate as the estate agent is the one who provides you with professional services and advises. After all, all these are hard work as well. Commission should only be paid after a transaction is successful and completed.

5. Dispute resolution

In an event of a dispute, you can always refer to CEA’s Estate Agency Agreement to negotiate or resolve with your estate agent’s commission payable or written terms and conditions. The CEA has listed out the commission clause, disclosure requirements and co-broking clauses that you can study.

These 5 top tips will be handy if you are working with a real estate agent to get your HDB in Tampines for sale or lease in Singapore. After interviewing a few real estate agents, it is time to pick the most suitable real estate agent to help you deal with your business. Most importantly, trust your feeling and gut instincts, if there is anything that you do not feel right, it most probably is wrong. 

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