Sellers can try mystery caller test to check on their property agents

WE THANK Ms Kwok Yoke Pui for her Forum Online letter yesterday, ‘Commissions and property agents’.

The Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies’ (SAEA) position expressed in an earlier letter last Friday (’1 agent for buyer, seller: OK, but get written consent’) was that if sellers and buyers wish to appoint estate agents to assist them in their HDB resale transactions, they should be separately represented by estate agents of their choice to avoid a situation of conflict of interest.

An estate agent should act and collect commission only from one party to the transaction, who could either be the seller or the buyer. We had then suggested an exception to permit dual agency if the sellers and buyers are both aware and consent to the appointment of the same agent, preferably in writing. Such a practice, including separate agents of the same agency acting in the same transaction, for example, can be found in some states of the real estate industry in the United States.

The Ministry of National Development has since announced its proposed regulatory framework for public consultation on Oct 12, and the issue of dual agency, especially for HDB resale transactions, will be adequately addressed.

We shall channel Ms Kwok’s feedback to the ministry. Meanwhile, we would offer her suggestion of a ‘mystery caller test’ to sellers who have appointed estate agents to represent them in their HDB resale transactions. Sellers can administer this test to ferret out instances when their appointed agents refuse to entertain offers presented by prospective buyers who do not intend to use the latter’s services.

Dr Tan Tee Khoon
Chief Executive Officer
Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies

Source : Straits Times – 14 Oct 2009

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