So, you think you can buy, sell, rent, or lease a home without an agent. That’s great! But will you be successful without the help of a property agent?
Should you buy, sell, rent on your own?
There’s no denying the profitability of investing in property when done properly, and many have chosen it over investing in stocks. One look at the GameStop drama and most ordinary people would be scared to venture into that world. And thus, real estate remains to be the safest option.
However, it does not mean just anyone can do it-or even do it well. Buying, selling, renting, and leasing a home can be tricky, yet many transactors have tried to do it independently.
A driving force in the rising DIY property transactions is the advent of technology: living in the digital age has rendered the property transaction process as easy as swiping right on a dating site to find a match. But other than cutting the cost of agents’ commission, is it wise for the regular property transactor to DIY? Or does engaging a property agent still hold merit in this technologically-advanced time?
DIY vs Property Agent: Which is better for you?
A property portal such as the one Ohmyhome offers has made buying, selling, and renting a property foolproof; a series of clicks can bring you closer to your dream home. This is possible through property portals, which bridge the gap between sellers and buyers, landlords, and tenants.
But as much as there are advantages to a DIY property transaction, there are also disadvantages.
DIY Advantage #1: Directly communicate with property transactors
The continual innovation of property portals has opened up a whole new world for transactors. They can now directly communicate with each other and complete their transaction journey, all online. They can find a listing they love, chat with the owner, and agree on the selling price without exiting a mobile app or website.
With Ohmyhome, buyers, sellers, tenants, and landlords can communicate directly with each other and fast-track property transactions.
For example, Ohmyhome has automated the process of matching buyers and tenants with listings that match their requirements through its ‘ShoutOut’ feature. Buyers or tenants can post, or ShoutOut, their budget, preferred location, home size, and home type on the app or site. When a seller or landlord finds one that matches what they can offer, they can suggest their listing and start a conversation from there.
Apart from the self-help home search online through property portals, market trend reports, home valuations, and other data are now much more accessible as the government, and other sources provide it for free. This makes pricing extremely transparent and credible.
DIY Disadvantage #1: Not all property portals are free
But apart from Ohmyhome, most of the property portals in Singapore require users to pay a subscription or registration fee to list a property. Also, they might only be accessible to registered real estate salespersons.
DIY Advantage #2: Save on commission and maximise profit gains
The cost-saving aspect of a DIY transaction still seems to be the primary reason sellers and landlords do not engage property agents. Saving on 2% of an agent’s commission could mean you can maximise your gains as a seller or landlord.
DIY Disadvantage #2: The smallest mistakes can be the most expensive
Though there are countless articles such as this one that you can read in preparation for a property transaction, no amount of research can beat an agent’s professional expertise. For example, a real estate agent can advise you to wait for your bank’s In-Principle Approval (IPA) before signing the non-refundable Option To Purchase (OTP).
A bank’s IPA is their promise to give you the home loan you need for your property purchase and is typically valid for up to two weeks. As such, when you have the IPA, you know exactly how much the bank has pledged to lend you and can be confident in having sufficient funds before signing the OTP. If you sign the OTP and find out the bank won’t be giving you the loan, after all, you’ve pretty much lost your deposit.
Before you buy, sell, rent without a property agent, remember this
Buying, selling, or renting a home is not a simple property transaction. Unless you’re a real estate agent, that is.
Property transactions require financial and investment savvy for you to reap the benefits of such a high-stakes life decision. Before deciding to DIY your property transaction, you need to remember that property agents are professionally trained and experienced in real estate. They also possess an in-depth knowledge of properties and personalised home recommendations.
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Here are the top three reasons why you should engage a property agent
1. A property agent has in-depth knowledge of properties
To become a licensed and practising property agent in Singapore, one would need to dedicate a significant amount of time to studying the ins and outs of real estate. More importantly, one would need to pass the numerous and challenging rounds of real estate salesperson exams. This long and arduous process assures you that the agent facilitating the sale of your home (which will probably be one of the most valuable and expensive assets you own) is reliable and capable of doing so.
Though you can research the rental rates and prices in your neighbourhood, agents have the skills and wherewithal to know critical factors about property owners and their houses. They can also inform you on details such as how long a unit has been on the market and other, newly-available units that may not be listed online yet.
Engaging a property agent is still the safer option for handling an asset such as real estate, but it is still your decision to make at the end of the day.
Property agents will also have access to platforms you might not have as a DIY transactor, which could seriously limit your listing exposure and visibility. In turn, the potential offers you could receive. For example, property portals such as PropertyGuru and 99.co only allow registered real estate salespersons to post a listing on their website and app, and they require a subscription fee. Only Ohmyhome allows all users to use their website and app for free. With an agent, you can maximise their marketing channels to reach more potential home seekers.
You can also expect your agents to go through your home’s estimated valuation, providing you with an unbiased assessment of your selling price and analysis of the market trend that could help with negotiations later on. Even if you can get a home valuation report online, you still need to analyse it, which might not be easy for first-timers.
Not to mention, agents can also help you with the necessary financial calculations: Do you have outstanding loans? Would you need to pay any stamp duties? How much can you loan from the bank or the HDB? What are your expected cash proceeds? They’ll ensure that you cover all the bases, so you don’t make an expensive mistake.
They can also help you with timeline planning, such as when you should start moving or when buyers or tenants can move in.
2. Personalised home recommendations
If you’re looking to buy or rent a home, one of the primary services a property agent can provide you with is to find a place that matches your requirements. Through personal conversations with you, they can understand your needs and goals, and pick out the ideal home for you regarding your budget, location, and house size.
If you already have a specific unit in mind, your agents can expertly speed up the documentation process. Doing paperwork can be a tad bothersome, especially when you have to take care of your family and children, or finish work. Having an agent to help you in that regard might be worth paying the agent’s commission if it can bring you closer to getting the home that you love while staying stress-free.
Plus, they will also have their database of buyers and tenants or tap on their fellow agents’ database to help you find the right match.
3. They are experienced sales professionals
When selling or leasing out a home, staging it for photographs is an influential factor. Presenting your home as beautifully as possible can help you score the right buyer or tenant. As such, your real estate agent can expertly guide you on which rooms to declutter; there’s more behind Fittings, Furnishing & Equipment (FF&E), but property agents will at least learn the basic rules.
More importantly, they can help you with price negotiations as you might be too shy to negotiate prices and conditions, but you can trust that your agent won’t be. As agents are trained and experienced in navigating hard and awkward discussions about money, they can ensure you’re not getting lowballed or mistreated in any way or at any point of your transaction journey.
Engaging a property agent is still the safer option for handling an asset such as real estate, but it is still your decision to make at the end of the day. If you’d prefer to sell, rent, buy or lease on your own, you can talk to mortgage brokers or explore the Ohmyhome app and website to try out the financial calculators and valuation tools.
Just remember to consider the advantages and disadvantages of DIY-ing and the three upsides to engaging a property agent before you move forward with your property transaction.