New rules should protect property agents

I REFER to the recent debate over the regulation of property agents in Singapore (‘Property agents to be regulated‘, Oct 5) .

As a property agent, I applaud the Government’s plan to set up a regulatory framework for the real estate industry. The proposed framework seems to be protective of consumers. But what about the rights of property agents? Having been in this line of work for three years, I have seen my fair share of how ‘ugly’ this industry can be:

  • Clients these days do not give exclusivity to property agents to market their properties. Instead, they take advantage of the resources of the agents who are hungry for their business to market their properties. This is to the advantage of the clients as they get many advertisements and awareness out of this so-called competition among property agents.
  • According to Institute of Estate Agents guidelines, clients are to give 2 per cent commission to property agents for closing a private property sale transaction. But because of competition among property agents, they undercut one another by agreeing to a lower commission rate of 1 per cent.
  • Real estate agencies take a cut of 10 to 30 per cent from each transaction closed by property agents. Real estate agencies should not do this as they provide little or no support to the agents. My agency is responsible only for issuing invoices after a successful sale or rental transaction. This does not justify the cut they take from our commissions.
The Government should look into the following:
  • Standardise the commission rate throughout the real estate industry, so there is no more undercutting among agents. This will protect agents’ right to demand their commission.
  • Since real estate agencies already take a cut from each transaction closed by their agents, they should look into the welfare of their agents, for example, by providing basic health and dental benefits.
Source : Straits Times – 19 Oct 2009

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