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
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
- 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.