Engaging the right property agent is crucial to getting the best deal you can, whether you’re buying or selling a home. And asking the right questions when meeting them will help you identify which one is the best fit for you. Here are the key questions you should ask a property agent before signing an exclusive agreement with them.
1. Can I see your estate agent license?
Right off the bat, you want to make sure your real estate agent is registered with the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA). You can verify they are licensed on CEA’s Public Register, check their transaction records and if they have a black mark on their record.
All real estate agents must clearly display their estate agent card in the course of their work — most wear it on a lanyard — for the purpose of identifying themselves as a registered salesperson. This prevents illegitimate conduct of estate agency work by unregistered individuals.
While some experienced agents may send teammates or associates to conduct viewings on their behalf due perhaps to a scheduling conflict, these agents must also have an estate agent card and be properly registered with the CEA.
2. Will you or one of your teammates be handling my transaction?
Continuing from point 1, just because an agent intends to “outsource” your transaction to a teammate or one of their associates doesn’t mean their teammate is inexperienced or going to bungle the job.
These little switcheroos happen mainly due to time constraints — the agent you spoke to may have a scheduling conflict (as mentioned earlier) and thus, may delegate the case to a teammate. It shouldn’t be a cause for alarm as they typically hand your case over to equally-capable agents who can manage your transaction smoothly.
But, again, we want you to err on the safe side. So we suggest you do your research on the new property agent, starting with checking their license on CEA’s Public Register.
You can also deploy the Timeline strategy mentioned in the next point.
3. Can you make me a timeline of my HDB selling transaction?
This is a particularly important question, especially if you’re buying and/or selling concurrently, as it will help you plan your finances and figure out the schedule and logistics of moving out and into your new home.
Those who are new may blank when you make such a request, and those who have been doing this for years will readily pull out a templated sheet and walk through it with you, inserting your details in the timeline as they go. They’ll be able to explain, at length, the various stages of, say, selling a HDB flat, the documentation required, and even the cash proceeds you can expect from the sale after calculating the various stamp duties, legal costs and other fees you’ll need to pay.
Although, to be honest, with Ohmyhome, you won’t have to ask this question. Our property agents will readily provide you with the timeline of your property transaction as it is part of our service standard. When you meet an Ohmyhome agent, you can expect to receive not just a transaction timeline, but also a financial calculation that breaks down your incoming and outgoing expenses, and shows you an estimate of the cash proceeds you can expect after a sale.
4. How are you going to market my property?
An experienced agent should have some marketing experience and strategies they can use to achieve a buyer and/or seller’s needs. But different agents have different means of marketing a property — something that’s made more evident with a freelance agent. With Ohmyhome, your property will be handled by a team of professionals who are dedicated in boosting your listing on top property platforms and other marketing channels to ensure your listing reaches as many interested buyers as possible and you get the best deal.
You should be able to check on their past transactions on the CEA website to verify the number of transactions they have previously handled. As some agents may hold multiple mobile numbers, the most surefire way to check on an agent’s transaction records is to key in their CEA Registration Number printed on their estate agent card.
You may also want to get an understanding of how your agent intends to filter their leads. A good agent knows to ensure buyers have the right documentation, employment status, and approval from financial institutions so transactions can go through smoothly. Getting an inexperienced agent who lets a buyer who hasn’t gotten an approved bank loan or signed the Option to Purchase (OTP) may cost you time, money, and an actual qualified buyer.
At Ohmyhome, our Relationship Managers and Marketing teams work together in filtering out the serious buyers and sellers from those who are only shopping around.
5. How much is your commission?
Let it be known that agent commissions can be negotiated, though there is a general market rate:
|Selling Private Property||2%|
|Buying Private Property||Buyers’ agent typically won’t charge, but will split the commission with the seller’s agent|
GST-registered estate agents and salespersons have to charge GST on the commission that they receive if the service rendered is in relation to a property located in Singapore.
It is a good idea to come to an agreed amount of commission with your agent before engaging them. Strike a balance between:
- what you are willing to pay
- what the market rate is
- whether your agent is worth the commission they are charging
Some agents throw in video tours when marketing a property, have very successful marketing strategies, or may be extremely well-connected and highly experienced. These freelance agents are unlikely to be willing to accept less than market rate commissions, unless they can tell your property is going to sell easily.
With Ohmyhome, you can enjoy a flat fee of 1% of the selling price, no matter how “easy” or “hard” it is to sell your home.
6. Are you full-time or part-time?
While this question may seem a little too personal, a part-time agent — especially one with a full-time job — may not be able to be of service the way a full-time agent can. You wouldn’t want a part-time pilot to captain a flight you are on, or a part-time surgeon to operate on you. Similarly, between a part-time and full-time agent, the latter is more likely to do his commission justice in terms of experience, commitment, and availability.
Ohmyhome property agents are all full-time, so you can rest assured their time is dedicated to serving you and making sure your property goals and needs are fulfilled.
Sell your home fast and at the best price with the right property agent
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