It’s getting easier to figure out how to buy, sell, or rent property in Singapore as there’s plenty of information available online plus property portals for you to browse listings. However, that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t use some help in navigating through the processes and regulations.
That’s where property agents can come into the picture. After all, facilitating their clients’ property transactions is their forte whereas most of us only transact once in a blue moon.
Here are several ways that a property agent can help with your property transaction.
How your property agent can help you
Your agent should:
- Provide advice on your eligibility and guide you through the process of buying, selling, leasing or renting property
- Help to publicise and market your property both online and offline, and conduct open houses
- Arrange and coordinate viewings
- Represent you in price negotiations
- Promptly inform you of all offers from interested parties or their property agents
- Provide advice on, including highlighting any restrictions regarding obtaining a home loan, using CPF monies, as well as inform you on all the various fees payable
In addition to the above, they can also provide the following services:
- Coordinate appointments with lawyers, and bankers
- Prepare the required documents including the Option to Purchase, resale applications, inventory list, letter of intent and tenancy agreements
- Conduct a comparative market analysis (CMA) to determine the value of the property
So now that you have a better idea of what an agent can do for you, the first step is to find one who meets your requirements.
How to find a property agent in Singapore
With around 30,000 property agents and over 1,250 property agencies in Singapore, there’s no shortage of agents to choose from.
Whichever agents you choose to work with, ensure that they are registered with the Council for Estate Agencies before you engage them. Only registered property agents are allowed to handle property transactions so it is important to make checking CEA’s Public Register your very first step.
How to pick a good property agent
The easiest way is to go with referrals. If your friend or relative recently had a good experience with their property agent, you are likely to have a good experience with the same agent as well.
Another way is to meet a few property agents and see who would work best with you. Questions you should be asking yourself include:
- Does this property agent know the market, area, and neighbourhood well?
- Does this property agent understand my budget, preferences and requirements, and is willing to work within those parameters?
- Will this agent act in my best interest?
- Is the property agent willing to do the best they can to help me buy, sell, rent or lease the property?
If the property agency that you intend to engage your agent from has a rating system for their agents, you can also check out details like their customers’ ratings and reviews, plus the agents’ specialty areas!
How to work well with your property agent
Before a property agent starts any work for you, it’s important to negotiate the agent’s commission first. This can seem like a difficult discussion because the property agent has not done any work for you yet.
The best way to start is to ask them questions about their process. For example, if you’re selling your property, the following questions will help.
How does the property agent plan to market and publicise your property? What kind of clientele will they target? How much time and money do they plan to spend on this?
Questions like these reveal how experienced the property agent is, the extensiveness of his networks, and how prepared he is to sell your property.
How many other clients are they concurrently serving? Are they buyers or sellers?
Questions like these reveal how much workload the property agent is taking on and may indicate if they are able to commit the time to represent you. One key thing to note is that property agents cannot represent both the buyer and seller in the same transaction, so be sure to check that your agent is only representing you.
What districts/types of property does this agent specialise in?
Questions like these help you to determine if the property agent has an expertise or preference in a specific type of property in certain areas. If you are selling a 4-room HDB flat in a particular district that the agent has handled other transactions in previously, he would likely be better suited to advise you on the market price for that district than another agent who specialises in private properties in another part of Singapore.
With this information in hand, you will be better equipped to discuss the commission rate with your agent. Remember, while there could be ‘market rates’, there’s no rule that says you have to agree to that rate. Also, when your agent eventually helps you to complete the transaction, be sure to pay the agent the commission amount that was agreed previously!
Want to find out more? Visit CEA’s Happy Consumer webpage for more tips on how you can work better with property agents.