Updated: Dec 12, 2019
The process of buying and selling a property can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience.
Even for seasoned property owners, it can be a daunting experience as this is one of the biggest investments most people make in their lifetime.
Selling and buying a property has gotten even more complicated in the recent years as there has been more rules and regulations implemented by the government.
Even with the availability of DIY options, this is the main reason why many people still choose to engage a real estate agent to help them navigate through blind spots and ensure a smoother real estate experience.
A professional and experienced real estate agent can ensure that he helps you negotiate for the best price in the market and that your property sells for top dollar.
He must be fully aware of the pulse of the market, has connections with other agents and publications, is a great listener and consultant when it comes to your helping you narrow down your wants and needs and a great coordinator to ensure the entire process goes smoothly.
The good news for consumers is that there are many real estate agencies and agents to choose from.
According to the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA), the total number of registered real estate agents grew by 2%, from 28,571 in 2018 to 29,146 as of 1 January 2019.
But with such a huge pool comes a challenge for consumers - engaging the right agent to meet your needs.
- How would you know which real estate agent is the right one for you?
- What factors exactly separate great agents and the mediocre ones?
The next few pointers covered may help you to find your way to the ideal real estate agent and make your next property buying or selling experience a breeze.
1. First things first - Check if the real estate agent has a valid licence granted by CEA
Don’t let classy business suits, decorative pins and photos of awards mislead you.
There are many real estate agents in the market but not all have a registration granted by the CEA to conduct estate agency work.
To make sure that you are engaging a legitimate agent, do a quick check on the CEA website here or via the CEA@SG Mobile Application to ensure that the agent is registered and he or she has not been suspended for disciplinary issues for a peace of mind.
On top of that, you can know whether any awards have been conferred on the real estate agent and if he or she has closed any HDB resale transactions (if relevant) in the last 24 months.
All these information would be a key 1st step towards qualifying a good real estate agent.
2. Once verified, run a background search
Your agent will be responsible for advising you on all matters of marketing, financial analysis, risks, potential of an investment and transaction costs among many other topics.
Hence, it is important to find a trustworthy one who guides you patiently without pressure.
Lucky for us to live in an era when there are so much information easily available online.
These days many real estate agents realise the importance of having an online presence, with many of them actively using it as a marketing tool.
Simply run a check on their website or social media platforms where you can read their past clients’ testimonials.
However, be wary of trusting everything you read online, try to confirm as much as you can about the agent by interviewing them personally or requesting for referrals.
Don’t shy away from asking questions, a good agent will always be happy to make time for prospective clients who want to know them better.
3. Once you have done your due diligence, have a chat with the agent in person.
The chemistry that a client has with a real estate agent is important as you will be spending hours conversing and bouncing ideas to and fro.
An interview session allows you to assess the agent’s communication style and experience and decide whether you feel comfortable with him.
Communication is crucial in a real estate transaction as there are many details that you will need to be reminded of, explained to, and a typical sale process can take a 3-6 months on average.
You need to feel comfortable talking and communicating with the agent, and the agent should be receptive and prompt to respond to your queries.
If you feel awkward or there is undue pressure placed on you by the agent, then the agent might not be a right fit for you.
One of the best ways is to interview at least three agents to find one that has chemistry with you and the experience, skills and personality to work with you over the long term.
4. Make sure the agent has your best interests at heart and prioritises your needs
As a consumer, you might know what you want but not exactly what you need.
For example, you might want a house in a quiet neighbourhood but neglect the fact that transportation might not be as convenient for the rest of your family.
Or a beautiful garden sounds like a great idea until you figure that internal space is even more of a need for your expanding family size.
In an event like this, an experienced agent would give appropriate advice based on your needs and lifestyle.
A good agent is like a good friend who knows the right questions to ask to lead you to the clarity you need to find the right home for your family.
5. The agent should be professional at all times
Rejections are common in the real estate industry and even after facing several rejections, a competent agent should be able to take it professionally and continue to doing his best.
Even when dealing with unpleasant counter parties, an agent should place your best interests at heart and avoid being emotional or prideful and jeopardise obtaining optimal outcome for you.
Professionalism also encompasses other fundamental behaviour habits such as honouring promises made to clients, turning up on time for viewing appointments, providing clients with relevant market information and diligently giving clients regular updates on the progress of their property search or marketing progress.
6. Associated with a good real estate agency
When a real estate agent is associated with an established agency, he or she will likely be equipped with the latest real estate technology, training and resources.
Top real estate agencies in Singapore conduct regular trainings to ensure that their agents are well-trained, motivated and know how to provide excellent client service.
Being a professional and successful real estate agent requires guidance and mentorship.
If you are searching for a good agent to work with, or to embark on a career with a real estate agency, drop me a note!
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Stuart Chng, Senior Associate Executive Director of OrangeTee & Tie, is a renowned leader and personality in the real estate industry.
He is a licensed real estate agent, team leader, industry trainer and speaker, columnist for several property newsletters and blogs and is often quoted in media interviews on 938FM, Channel 8, PropertyReport, PropertyGuru and other publications.
Throughout his career, he has helped many clients grow their wealth through selecting great property investments and managing their portfolios actively.
Stuart has also coached many top million dollar producing agents from different real estate agencies in Singapore.