You’re thinking of selling your flat and have decided to get an expert representative to help you out – a real estate salesperson. This is what many Singaporeans do when buying, selling or leasing their properties.
But what should you look out for when engaging one? Here are some useful tips from the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) that will help make your transaction process a smoother one.
1. Make sure you engage only licensed estate agents and registered salespersons
Under the Estate Agents Act, estate agents refer to estate agency businesses (sole proprietors, partnerships and companies) while salespersons refer to individuals who perform estate agency work.
Real estate salespersons must be registered with the CEA to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge to provide professional services to clients and adhere to ethical practices – so make sure your salesperson is registered.
Check that your salesperson is listed on the CEA Public Register. You can perform your check using the name, registration number or telephone number of the salesperson. A photograph of the salesperson is displayed on the Public Register. You can also check the Public Register while on the go by using the CEA@SG mobile app.
2. Use the CEA Prescribed Estate Agency Agreement
When you engage a salesperson or estate agent, you are encouraged to use the CEA Prescribed Estate Agency Agreement. The Prescribed Estate Agency Agreements can be found on CEA’s website www.cea.gov.sg.
This agreement is a contract between you and the estate agent which seeks to protect both parties’ interests. The terms and conditions of the agreement, such as commission payable, can be negotiated between you and your salesperson.
Remember not to sign the Agreement in haste! Your estate agent or salesperson should explain the Agreement to you fully, and give you enough time to read it thoroughly. Some essential information that should be included in the Agreement include the property address, price, dates, names and commission payable. If your estate agent is GST-registered, it is allowed to charge and collect the Goods and Services Tax (GST) under the IRAS guidelines. Check with your salesperson if the GST payable has been included in the commission amount stated in the agreement.
If there’re any amendments made to the contract, make sure these are countersigned by you. Your estate agent or salesperson should also give you a copy of the Agreement that you have signed.
3. Professional Services to look out for
Your salesperson should offer you professional advice and meet all reasonable instructions and requests from you, such as:
• Following your instructions when negotiating with any prospective party and inform you promptly of any offer, proposal or expression of interest
• Seeking your prior consent before advertising your property
• Explaining clearly to you about co-broking so you can make an informed decision
• Explaining clearly to you all the relevant forms and documents for the transaction
• Assisting you to enter into a binding agreement with the other party
• Declaring to you any conflict of interest as soon as practicable
• Informing you if he or she would receive any fee or other payment from any source with respect to the transaction, such as a referral fee from the bank which he or she has recommended you for your housing loan
In the case of an HDB flat transaction, your salesperson is also required to:
• Advise you on your eligibility to buy, sell or lease the flat; in particular, your eligibility for a housing loan
• Go through the HDB resale checklist with you
• If you are a buyer, your salesperson should explain to you the implications of unauthorised renovations made to the HDB flat you are keen on
• Help you to submit forms, documents and/or information required by HDB to process the transaction
4. Exercise Care and Responsibility
Salespersons can value add and serve your interests. However, a property transaction is ultimately your personal responsibility. Therefore, do not hesitate to find out more and ask questions regarding your property transaction and questions about specific aspects of the property. Also, you should find out details on the finances before committing to the transaction. If your salesperson is not able to answer any of your queries, he or she should refer you to the appropriate person or resource.
We hope these tips will help you make the right decision when choosing the salesperson for your flat. If you need more information, visit www.cea.gov.sg/consumerresources.
Meanwhile, do you know anyone who’s looking to engage a salesperson too? Remember to share this article with them!
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In collaboration with Council for Estate Agencies (CEA)