If you’re like most Singaporeans, you would probably need help finding a good property agent in Singapore at some point in life.
This is because you would likely need a real estate agent to buy, sell or rent a property. This agent arranges for the purchase, sale or rental of real estate by representing you in the transaction.
As real estate is a highly lucrative industry, Singapore has seen a rise in property agents in recent years. In fact, there are over 28,000 registered property agents as at 1 January 2018 in Singapore. This is clearly a huge amount of agents to choose from.
You may thus wonder about finding a good property agent in Singapore. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Simply read on to find out the key considerations you should take into account.
1. Property Agent Must be Registered with Council for Estate Agencies (CEA)
The first tip for finding a good property agent in Singapore is to ensure he is registered with the CEA.
This is an important consideration when searching for a good property agent.
This is because there have been instances of individuals posing as agents despite not being properly registered with the CEA. Some of these individuals may not have the required knowledge and expertise in handling your property transactions. In other cases, these individuals may even botch your transaction and result in financial losses to you.
Using the Public Register
How do you determine if a property agent is registered?
It’s actually quite straightforward. You start by getting the agent’s CEA registration number. This can be found on the agent’s advertisements and the estate agent card he wears when meeting clients.
Simply type his registration number into the public register on CEA’s website to obtain his details. You can also get his details keying in his full name or mobile phone number into the register.
Upon locating his profile on the register, you would be able to view important information about the real estate agent. This includes the estate agency that he belongs to as well as any past disciplinary actions and awards received.
It should look something like this:
All this information would be a key first step in finding a good property agent in Singapore.
2. Finding a Good Property Agent by Looking at His Portfolio
When finding a good property agent in Singapore, you can do an online search to see if the agent’s portfolio is listed on any property websites. If your online research doesn’t yield any results, don’t be alarmed. You could always request for the agent to provide a list of property transactions they have successfully done in the past.
Even if you are able to get hold of such information, how do you make use of it?
Read on to find out.
Find out if the Agent Specialises in Your Type of Property and Price Range
Based on the agent’s track record, you can see if he is suitable for your property type. Sometimes, an agent may have more experience in handling properties in particular neighbourhoods.
In addition, agents usually specialise in properties of certain price ranges.
Thus, you can select agents in Singapore based on your desired property price. In this regard, you can choose agents that commonly handle real estate transactions with values falling within your budget.
That’s not all…
Determine the Agent’s Familiarity with your Type of Transaction
Some agents mainly work with either buyers or sellers.
Thus, if the agent has not represented a property buyer before, he probably won’t have sufficient experience in helping you purchase a property. Further, he may be unable to cater to your needs and interests as a buyer.
The property agent’s unfamiliarity with your transaction type may work against you. The transaction may not proceed as successfully as desired. Your interests may also not be fully protected.
Hence, in finding a good property agent in Singapore, you should try to avoid engaging agents for the types of transactions that they are not familiar with.
3. Get Recommendations
Ask Friends and Family for Suggestions
Another tip for finding a good property agent in Singapore is by getting the recommendations of people you know.
Your friends and family would probably have engaged property agents in the past. So why not pick their brains for some useful recommendations?
Friends and family generally provide the best agent referrals since they have your best interests at heart and are more willing to help.
Nonetheless, you shouldn’t accept their suggestions at face value. Ask them some specific queries about the property agent’s qualities.
For instance, was the agent able to conclude the transaction quickly? Did the agent get them the best price? Was the agent meticulous and had a good eye for detail? Did the agent appear honest and hardworking?
Only then can you make a more informed decision to select the right property agent in Singapore.
Review Portals Provide Objective Reviews of Agents
Another way to choose a good property agent in Singapore is to make use of review portals. With the emergence of information technology, there are several local listing websites allowing for the rating of property agents.
In fact, it seems that such review portals are gaining popularity. Recently, three local real estate agencies have teamed up to create a portal where customers can review real estate agents.
On property review portals, customers can rate their property agents on several factors.
These may include the agent’s industry knowledge, ability to source for buyers or sellers, quality of service, communication and trustworthiness.
All this information would better enable you to separate the good property agents in Singapore from the rest of the crowd.
4. Assess the Property Agent’s Knowledge
Assessing the knowledge of the agent is another key method for finding a good property agent in Singapore.
In most cases, a well-informed real estate agent would likely be able to get you the best deal. They would also be knowledgeable enough to run the transaction smoothly.
But what aspects of the real estate industry should he have knowledge about?
For starters, he should be kept abreast of the latest regulations concerning the property market. This includes the government’s announcements on cooling measures and any other potential laws.
Also, he should be familiar with the current state of the real estate market and the general property prices in your area.
5. Determine the Real Estate Agent’s Level of Commitment
Find out How Many Clients the Agent has
Does the agent have a lot of other customers or clients?
If yes, does it mean that he is more sought after than his peers? Not necessarily so.
It could simply mean that he does a higher volume of transactions than others. Conversely, other agents may take on a lower volume of deals but each with a much higher transaction value.
In any case, having many clients means that the agent would have less time for you. This may lead to delays in the transaction and overall poorer quality of service. Moreover, the agent may be less responsive and available to you at crucial junctures.
However, this is not always a deal breaker. Find out if the agent has assistants or other colleagues that are assisting him in the transactions. This reduces his workload and ensures that the agent is not over-extended by having too many clients. In addition, you can rest assured that there will be at least someone at your disposal in the event of urgent matters.
They Should Ideally be Working Full-Time
Agents can dabble in real estate part-time. This is because the current regulations do not set any requirements such as a yearly minimum sales target to maintain a real estate licence.
Can you imagine that?
Someone who is handling one of your most valuable assets is only doing it part-time.
Part-timers may not be able to fully devote their time to you as they may have other commitments. Furthermore, they would likely be less focused on the job as it is only part-time for them.
As a possible client, you should always try to find property agents working on a full-time basis and is fully committed to their work. Ultimately, this ought to be one of the factors in finding a good property agent in Singapore.
6. Property Agent’s Commission Rate Should be Reasonable
One way of deciding on a property agent is the commission rate he charges. This commission rate should be reasonable and not too high.
Typically, property agents will earn a 1-2% commission on the sale of property. The exact amount depends on the property type such as whether it is a landed, private non-landed or HDB property.
However, this is not a hard and fast rule. Some agents will vary their commission rates depending on a variety of factors such as the difficulty in selling that property.
Ultimately, you would have to negotiate with the agent and agree on a commission rate that is reasonable to you. If the rate is outrageously high, you can always find another agent to complete the transaction.
7. Property Agent’s Years of Experience
Another useful indicator of finding a good property agent in Singapore is his number of years of experience in the trade.
This is because a real estate agent’s income is largely commission-based. If he is providing unsatisfactory real estate services to clients, he is unlikely to survive in the industry for long. Not only would he garner a notorious reputation, but he would also not earn enough to make the job sustainable.
Moreover, the agent’s length of experience suggests the number of transactions he has under his belt. The more deals he has done, the better he would be able to pre-empt possible problems and prevent them from occurring.
Having this experience would allow him to carry out the transaction in a smooth and effective manner.
As such, in finding a good property agent in Singapore, you should seek out those with more years of real estate experience.
8. Qualifications of the Real Estate Agent
Generally, the qualifications of the agent may also help in your choice of a real estate agent in Singapore.
Strictly speaking, agents do not need to have extensive academic qualifications to be licenced. They simply require a minimum of four O-level passes or equivalent. On top of that, they must have passed the Real Estate Salesperson course.
Therefore, any additional qualifications of the property agent are a bonus.
In this respect, you can look to see if the real estate agent has a degree in accountancy, real estate or any related field. This may be useful if you are looking for someone who can provide in-depth financial and real estate advice.
Other things to look out for are certificates in financial or mortgage planning such as the Singapore Accredited Mortgage Planner course.
Having these extra qualifications would enhance the agent’s ability to advise you on the financing aspects of the deal if the need arises.
9. Understand an Agent’s Responsibilities
In order to start finding a good property agent in Singapore, you have to fully understand the property agent’s responsibilities.
For one, your agent can only represent either the buyer or the seller in the transaction. Thus, it is a huge red flag if the property agent claims to be able to do both.
Moreover, your agent would be negotiating with the other party on your behalf. He would also be assisting you with the necessary paperwork.
As such, you should be looking for qualities in a property agent that appears suitable for the job role. If there is any indication that the agent will not fulfil his responsibilities, for instance, because of previous testimonials, you should not engage this agent.
At the end of the day, finding a good property agent in Singapore involves quite a number of considerations. As this article has shown, choosing a good real estate agent in Singapore doesn’t have to be all that tough. You just have to prepared to do your homework if you wish to secure the right one.
Before you go, here’s a hilarious take on the different types of property agents in Singapore: