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Thread: Crux of property brokering that needs clarity

  1. #1
    mr funny is offline Any complaints please PM me
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Crux of property brokering that needs clarity

    October 24, 2009 Saturday

    Crux of property brokering that needs clarity

    I APPLAUD the Government's recent steps to improve the professionalism of the real estate industry. The market has long awaited the move to ban agents representing both buyer and seller in an HDB resale transaction.

    It is also in the interest of consumers to have an accreditation scheme to sieve out unethical agents, as well as an independent tribunal to mediate in the event of a dispute.

    On top of the moves and plans announced by the Ministry of National Development (MND) so far, I would argue that one reason for the high number of complaints is that the role and fee of the agent is not clear from the start of a property transaction. I suggest that MND should make these mandatory at the start of the sales process:

    - Agent to walk through his role to either buyer or seller and document this; and

    - Agent to communicate his fees and document them.

    Another reason for the high volume of complaints is that many of the consumers who do not want to engage the services of agents are either not aware that it is possible to do it oneself, or not sure how. MND can hold more public education campaigns to show consumers how to do it oneself, although one needs to manage the marketing and paper work.

    If consumers who are able and want to handle sales themselves are differentiated from those who prefer the convenience of having agents handle their transactions, it is only logical that expectations will not be mismatched, resulting in more happy consumers and a more vibrant and professional real estate industry.

    Lastly, it is an open secret that many transactions are done on a co-broke basis (sometimes with unlicensed middlemen and runners). It is pertinent that the regulators take a stand on the rules of engagement with middlemen and runners, so that the licensed agents these middlemen and runners work for will have a greater need to exhibit higher standards of professionalism in the course of their business.

    Ng Kwong Yee

  2. #2
    mr funny is offline Any complaints please PM me
    Join Date
    May 2006


    October 26, 2009 Monday

    Real estate agencies all for clarity and transparency

    I COMMEND last Saturday's helpful Forum Online letter by Mr Ng Kwong Yee, 'Crux of property brokering that needs clarity'.

    We agree with Mr Ng that most complaints about estate agents arise from a lack of mutual understanding, specificity and even transparency in the relationship between the consumer and the realtor.

    We further concur with his suggestion to make it mandatory for the estate agent to explain the transaction process, the scope of estate agency services, commission payable and thereafter secure the consumer's written agreement. This will surely reduce the number of complaints and disputes between consumers and estate agents acting for them.

    For example, Britain's Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published the Blue Book, which is essentially an estate agency guide for realtors and consumers to raise professional service standards and improve consumer experience in home buying and selling. Estate agents who are members of RICS are required to provide prospective clients with a copy of the Blue Book which, among other things, details the sale and purchase process as well as the role of the estate agent. Prospective sellers and buyers familiarise themselves with the Blue Book so the duties of the agent and expectations of the consumer are adequately matched.

    Likewise, Singapore realtors should ensure that consumers who appoint them for their services know what the transaction entails and precise service offerings. Then there will be true meeting of minds, with satisfied consumers and agents paid promptly. The Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies' downloadable Seller's and Buyer's Guides on its website can be useful resources in this.

    Finally, it should be made mandatory for accredited estate agents or salesmen to co-broke with one another when necessary and not deal with 'unlicensed middlemen or runners' as the latter operate 'below the radar', are not subject to any professional code of conduct and may expose consumers to unnecessary risks.

    This will avoid the emergence of an unregulated group in the industry. Alternatively, this group of 'middlemen or runners' should comply with accreditation requirements stipulated by the Government in the new regulatory framework and seek to be accredited.

    Dr Tan Tee Khoon

    Chief Executive Officer

    Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies

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