Things to note before engaging a property agent

Verify your property agent's identity and past property transactions against the CEA Public Register

All property agents in Singapore must be registered with CEA through a licensed property agency. Each registered property agent has a unique CEA registration number, e.g. R123456A.

It is an offence for any individual to carry out estate agency work without valid registration.

Before engaging a property agent, visit the CEA Public Register to verify:

  • If the agent has a valid registration,
  • All residential property transactions they have closed within the last two years, and which parties they represented,
  • The agent’s industry accolades and awards, and,
  • If the agent had any disciplinary records within the last two years.

The information in the Public Register can also help you to verify the following details of an agent, which are required to be listed in their property advertisements# :

  • Property agent’s name, CEA registration number, and phone number.
  • Property agency’s name and licence number.

#For newspaper classified advertisements and phone text advertising, only the property agent’s name (in full or abbreviated) and phone number are required to be stated.

Back to Top

Protect yourself against scams

There have been scams involving individuals posing as property agents who place fake property advertisements on property listing platforms. When contacted by members of the public looking to view the property, these scammers ask for a deposit to secure a viewing appointment, and subsequently abscond with the money.

Find out more about property scams and how you can yourself against them.

Please note that you do not need to pay fees to secure a viewing appointment.

We encourage you to check the property agent’s details in the property listing against the CEA Public Register to verify that the property agent is registered with CEA. You can do so by searching for the property agent on the CEA Public Register using the advertised phone number. If the search does not lead to a property agent’s profile page, it means that the phone number is not registered with CEA by any property agent, and could be an indication that the advertisement is a scam. If you think that you may have been a victim of a scam, please file a police report. 

Back to Top

What your property agent should do for you

1. Conduct business and work with due diligence and in compliance with all laws and regulations.

  • Property agents must ensure that they are conversant and compliant with the relevant laws, regulations and rules that apply to property transactions.
  • Your property agent must take reasonable precautions to ensure that no law is infringed by you or any person during the transaction.

2. Discuss and document the agreed commission rate with you before they start work for you.  Commissions are not fixed, and you are free to negotiate the amount or rate, and clarify if GST is included or excluded in the commission to be paid. Do remember to pay the commission to the real estate agency and not to the agent, and only when the transaction has been completed.

3. Seek your prior consent before advertising your property if you are the owner or landlord of the property.

  • Before publishing any advertisement, your agent must take reasonable care and steps to verify material information related to the property, e.g. lease term, floor area.
  • Your agent must ensure that their advertisements do not contain any false or misleading information. Your agent should also check that property advertisements are sensitive to the diverse nature of Singapore society and are not discriminatory.

4. Record the exact agreement between you and the other party to the property transaction in writing.

5. Provide professional service and advice to you throughout the transaction and act with honesty, fidelity, and integrity.

  • Property agents must keep themselves informed of facts and developments in the property market and matters that may affect any aspect of property transactions.
  • They should advise you on property and rental prices and market trends, property transaction procedures and financing/payment matters (e.g. regulations related to loans, rules governing the use of CPF funds as well as duties, taxes and fees payable).
  • Property agents must also cease to act on your behalf if there could be a conflict of interest situation, unless you, being fully informed of the conflict through the agent’s written declaration, consent to the agent’s continued representation. For example, such a situation could arise if the potential buyer is a family member of the agent.

6. Direct you to other professionals for areas beyond a property agent’s expertise, e.g.  property valuation, mortgage loan eligibility and quantum, personal financial management, legal advice, and tax matters related to specific property transactions.

7. Safeguard your confidential information obtained through the course of estate agency work. Your property agent must not disclose or use any confidential information relating to you, unless permitted by you or required/allowed by the law.

8. Advise you on your eligibility to rent out/rent a property or buy/sell a property.

9. It is recommended that your agent go through the relevant checklist provided by CEA with you on the steps, including the various due diligence checks, involved in a typical residential property transaction.

10. Arrange for property viewings

11. Forward to you, if you are a seller/landlord, all offers, counter-offers or expressions of interest in your property from interested parties or their property agents.

12. Only represent you in negotiations with interested prospective parties

  • A property agent cannot represent and collect commission fees from both parties (e.g. buyer and seller or landlord and tenant) in the same property transaction. If the agent does so, it will be considered as dual representation and is an offence under the law.
  • A property agent can only ask for commission fees from the party they represent.
  • However, your agent can help the other party with the paperwork as long as they have obtained your consent. It must also be clear to all involved that your agent is not acting for the other party. Similarly, your agent cannot collect a fee from the other party.

13. Explain and help complete the necessary paperwork

  • Your agent must be familiar with the procedures for property transactions, and the contents of the forms used. Your agent must act in accordance with your lawful instructions and guide you through, and help you complete and submit the necessary forms, documents, and/or information needed to process your transaction. They must ensure that you are given sufficient time to read and understand the content of the forms used before signing them, and that you receive a copy of the forms that you have signed.
  • Your agent is required to record your personal particulars as this information will enable your agent to conduct due diligence checks and assess if there is any suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing activity related to the property transaction.
  • Your agent is also encouraged to use the tenancy agreement templates and standard contract templates for residential transactions that were developed by the Digitalised Property Transactions Workgroup (DPTWG). The templates include clauses and obligations relating to the main aspects of the transaction that seek to protect and balance the interest of parties involved in a property transaction.
  • For HDB transactions, your agent will walk you through important steps such as registering your Intent to Sell or Buy on the HDB Resale Portal and assist you to submit the resale application.
  • Your property agent should also explain to you the implications of signing certain agreements in the event that you do not follow through with the transaction.

14. Explain to you the benefits of co-broking

  • Co-broking refers to a situation when two or more property agents, representing different parties in a transaction, work together to complete the transaction for the benefit of their respective clients. The sharing of commission is strictly an agreement between the agents.
  • For sellers, co-broking exposes the property to a wider pool of interested buyers, and this could attract a higher offer and price.
  • For buyers, co-broking is a way that agents can tap on their networks to provide more property options for their clients to choose from.

15. Declare to you any conflict of interests upfront

  • Conflict of interests in a property transaction can arise when your agent is personally or professionally connected with the other party and/or the property agent. Another example is when your property agent
  • receives payments from another party because your agent recommended the party’s service to you.
  • Your property agent must provide written disclosure of any actual or potential conflict of interest and seek your written agreement to represent you.

16. Act in your best interest throughout the transaction

  • If you are buying/renting a property and request for information on the property, your agent should make reasonable efforts to obtain such information from the seller/landlord or the seller’s/landlord’s agent and convey this to you.
  • These requests for information could include but not be limited to those related to loan shark harassment experienced by the seller/landlord of the property. 

Renting a property

In addition to the points listed above, consumers should also note the following points that are specific to a rental transaction: 

1. If you are renting out a property, your agent must, pursuant to the Women’s Charter 1961 and Immigration Act 1959, help you conduct identity checks1 on tenants and occupiers of the leased property at the point of signing the lease agreement. This is to ensure that the people you are renting your property to are indeed who they claim to be.

2. Hand over the property

  • In a rental transaction, your property agent must ensure that an inventory list is prepared and signed by the landlord and tenant, if applicable. This document is important in lease transactions where the tenant pays a security deposit. The inventory list can be used for the inspection of the property upon the expiry of the lease, for the landlord and tenant to come to an agreement on whether the full deposit or part of it, less the amount deducted for damages or loss of the items in the inventory list, will be returned to the tenant.
  • In a rental transaction, a property agent’s duties typically end after the landlord and tenant sign the tenancy agreement and the property is handed over to the tenant. Property management work (e.g. facilitate repairs to faulty appliances or furniture during the course of the tenancy, refund of security deposit from landlord to tenant) is not estate agency work and not part of a property agent’s responsibilities to their clients in a lease transaction. Some agents may step in to help resolve landlord-tenant issues out of goodwill, but they are not obliged to do so.
  • If you require help with property management during the tenancy, you should check whether your agent would be willing to provide this service and whether there is a fee involved. You should also document the agreed services in writing to ensure you are protected during the tenancy.
  • As property management work is not covered under the Estate Agents Act 2010, should there be any disputes with your landlord or your tenant during or at the end of the tenancy, you may wish to consider mediation or take your own legal action to resolve the dispute. 

3. Handing back of the property

  • At the end of the tenancy for a rental transaction, the handover of the property from the tenant to the landlord is typically not part of the property agent’s duties. Some agents may step in to help with the handing back of the property, but they are not obliged to do so.
1This includes meeting the tenants and occupiers to view and verify the validity of their original documents such as immigration passes, passports and NRICs and keeping copies.


Back to Top

What your property agent must not do

1. Not introduce, refer or recommend the use of the services of any moneylender to you.

2. Not handle any transaction monies. Transaction monies include but are not limited to: 

Examples of transaction monies that property agents cannot handle

For sale and purchase of propertyFor rental of HDB property
Option fee, down-payment, stamp duties, deposits and sales proceeds and legal fees. Rental deposits, monthly rentals 

(i) Valuation fees are not transaction monies. 
(ii) Property agents may help their clients pay for stamp duty for rental transactions with their own money first and be reimbursed later. They should not collect the fee from their clients before stamping. 

In view of the above, you should pay the payee directly and not pass the payment to the property agent. 

Back to Top

Sign the Prescribed Estate Agency Agreement

It is recommended that you sign the CEA Prescribed Estate Agency Agreement with the property agency that your agent is from. It is a binding contract between you and the property agency to protect the interests for both parties. 

  • The agreement spells out clearly, among other things, the duties of the property agencies and agents, the agreed commission rate, and requirement on the property agency or agent to declare any actual or potential conflict of interest which may arise.
  • You can choose to use either an exclusive or non-exclusive agreement depending on your needs and preferences. You can ask your property agent to explain the two types of agreements and their terms to you. In an exclusive agreement, you will appoint one property agency during the validity period of the agreement. In a non-exclusive agreement, you can appoint property agents from different property agencies to assist you.
  • You can find out more information about exclusive and non-exclusive agreements.
  • Before you sign any of the prescribed estate agency agreements, get your property agent to go through the clauses in the agreement with you. You should only sign the agreement when you have understood all clauses in the agreement, especially those on commission.

Back to Top