I REFER to last Thursday’s Forum Online letters by Mrs Teresa Yao (‘How new rules can protect property agents’) and Mr Teo Kueh Liang (‘Barring same-agent property brokerage not practical’).
Both writers have highlighted the plight of the majority of ethical property agents, whose image has been tarnished by a small group of unscrupulous and dishonest agents.
In any profession, it is impossible to completely wipe out the bad hats. Therefore, after an acceptable standard of practice has been established, understood and made into law, non-compliant practices should be punished.
In any property transaction, the two most important parties are the seller and the buyer. They must enter into a legally binding contract in order for the sale to go through. It is therefore natural that we facilitate the interests of the seller and the buyer first.
The interests of the property agent come after those of the seller and the buyer, as his role can come into being only after he has been appointed.
The terms of appointment, that is, what the agent can or cannot do, for example, must be expressedly agreed between him and the one who appoints him, so that there is no ambiguity that leads to future problems. Continue reading
I REFER to the letter by Mr Chua Khim Leng, ‘New rules should protect property agents’ (Oct 19).
As a real estate consultant for the past 20 years and running my agency in a niche market, I fully understand the plight of many real estate agents, who are disadvantaged because of the lack of rules that clients should abide by when they engage agents to handle their properties.
Many clients do not give exclusivity, as by appointing agents without signing a contract, they can take advantage of the agents’ advertisements and feedback, and then leverage on the prices received to sell direct to friends or neighbours and so avoid paying commission. These clients will also cut commission at the crucial moment of signing the option, say they will not sell or give the sale to another agent who charges lower commission.
An agent who had refrained from closing a sale quickly as the market was improving rapidly, waited and worked to achieve better offers, but was later disadvantaged because the client paid nothing if the sale was not concluded by that agent.
Other agents and buyers are allowed to cut in at the 11th hour. This undesirable situation does not support agents who work professionally and diligently in the interest of their clients. Continue reading