While more buyers and sellers are handling property transactions on their own, there are many who still choose to engage registered property agents to help with their transactions.
From finding your dream home and negotiating the best price, to navigating the paperwork involved, a good property agent, armed with professional knowledge and expertise, can offer you a fuss-free home buying or selling experience.
If you are thinking of engaging a property agent for your property transaction, here are some key tips to get you started:
#1: Ensure your property agent is registered with CEA
Before you engage any property agent, do a quick check to ensure he’s registered with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), the government agency that administers the regulatory framework for the real estate agency industry.
All property agents must be registered with the CEA and every agent will have a unique registration number that is shown prominently on their estate agent cards. You can visit CEA’s Public Register to verify your property agent’s credentials at any time if in doubt.
If you aren’t able to find the agent on CEA’s Public Register, there are two possibilities:
- The individual is carrying out estate agency work illegally without a valid registration with CEA, or
- The property agency or agent is currently suspended due to disciplinary issues. You can verify this from CEA’s website.
If you encounter any red flags, you’ll probably want to report them to CEA and look for a CEA-registered property agent to assist you.
#2: Negotiate your agent’s commission before, pay after
Commission rates are not fixed and there is no standard minimum or maximum percentage. So feel free to negotiate with your property agent on the commission rates and the scope of work you’d like your agent to cover.
Do also check whether GST has been factored into the fees. This should all be done before your agent starts to do any work for you.
An important point to note is that you should only pay the commission after the transaction has been completed. Also, pay the commission to the property agency and not to the agent directly.
#3: Use CEA’s Prescribed Estate Agency Agreements
When you’ve decided to engage an agent to help with your transaction, use CEA’s Prescribed Estate Agency Agreements to negotiate and finalise the terms and conditions between you and the agent.
This agreement is a binding contract between you and the property agent to protect the interests of both parties. It documents the agreed commission amount and the duties the agent will carry out to facilitate your property transaction.
Be sure to sign the agreement before your agent starts work.
With the prescribed agreement, you can make use of CEA’s dispute resolution scheme to resolve any disputes if the need arises.
#4: Fill in the Customer’s Particulars Form
Once you have decided to engage a property agent, you must fill in a Customer’s Particulars Form. This form is one of the measures agents must take to prevent money laundering and counter terrorism financing in Singapore.
Your agent will provide you with the form. Fill in your details, sign it, and hand it back to your agent.