Untrustworthy? Not property agents…

I REFER to last Friday’s report, ‘In firefighters we trust (but not property agents)’, which placed property agents as least trustworthy.

The online poll of 760 people conducted by Reader’s Digest magazine is inconclusive.

The Public Perception & Expectations of Real Estate Agents survey conducted by Ngee Ann Polytechnic, involving 1,041 respondents and reported in the media two months ago, revealed that 81 per cent engaged property agents in their real estate transactions.

Of the total number of respondents, 68 per cent were tertiary-educated (diploma to postgraduate qualifications). From these figures, it can be deduced that well-educated consumers trust property agents enough to appoint them in their real estate transactions.

Unlike any consumer or insurance product, the purchase of a property may cost millions of dollars and often involve the consumer’s life savings. Yet 843 people in the Ngee Ann Polytechnic survey enlisted the assistance of property agents in their real estate transactions.

This would appear inconceivable if property agents were the least trustworthy. In fact, of the remaining 19 per cent of respondents who did not use estate agents, less than 20 per cent of this group attributed their decision to ‘lack of trust’.

That means fewer than 40 people out of 1,041 respondents actually said they did not trust property agents.

Moreover, 65 per cent of respondents were satisfied with their estate agents’ services and 67 per cent rated them between ’satisfactory’ and ‘excellent’ in the key attribute of Fiduciary, which referred to confidence and trust in an ethical relationship.

While the estate agency profession has not been adequately regulated, we do not agree that this is tantamount to being least trustworthy. The recent negative publicity of rogue estate agents is an exception and does not reflect the majority who value professionalism and integrity. We will all do well not to lean towards over-generalisation.

Dr Tan Tee Khoon
Chief Executive Officer
Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies

Source : Straits Times – 5 Mar 2010

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