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REITM Focus: 7 things to know about the Property Agents’ Transaction Records Initiative

On 4 January 2019, the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) launched the first phase of the Property Agents’ Transaction Records Initiative.

Information on completed resale transactions for Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats closed by registered property agents over the last two years are now available on the Public Register on CEA’s website.

The following details of a HDB resale transaction closed by an agent are now shown on his or her profile in the Public Register:

  • the transaction completion date;
  • the general location of the property; and
  • the party (i.e. buyer or seller) the agent represented in the transaction.

Here are seven things to know about the Property Agents’ Transaction Records Initiative, which is one of the recommendations under the Real Estate Industry Transformation Map.

1.  What is the objective of this initiative? How will it benefit agents?
The initiative is aimed at making information on property agents’ transactions more transparent to consumers. Agents can now market their experience by showing their verified records to prospective clients. This can be a means to building and sustaining trust with prospective or existing clients.
2.  For how long will each record be reflected in an agent’s profile? Would be it for as long as an agent maintains his registration? How often will the information be refreshed?
The Public Register shows agents’ records of HDB resale transactions completed within the last 24 months from the date of access. The records are updated on the 15th of every month in the Public Register. The update on the 15th of every month would reflect records of HDB resale transactions completed up to the preceding month.
For instance, on 15 April 2019, records of HDB resale transactions completed from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019 will be reflected in an agent’s profile in the Public Register. Records of transactions completed in April 2019 will be updated and reflected on 15 May 2019 and so on.
The transaction records are tied to individual agents and will still be listed on the agent’s profile even if he or she switches property agencies, provided he or she remains registered with CEA.
3.   The Public Register does not show transactions that I have closed earlier. Where can I find these transaction records?
Records older than 24 months from the date of access and not earlier than 1 January 2017 are available at Data.gov.sg, the government’s one-stop portal to its publicly available datasets from public agencies.
The Public Register shows records of transactions that were completed within the last 24 months. This ensures that an agent’s profile and transaction records do not become too unwieldy for the public to view, given that the Public Register also contains a whole host of other information such as the agent’s registration number, registration validity period, agency name and licence number. At the same time, it is easier for consumers to view an agent’s most recent transaction records.
4.   Why is it that only HDB residential resale transaction records facilitated by agents are published, wouldn’t agents who focus on other transactions lose out? Is CEA planning to make available records of HDB residential renting out of flat and private residential transactions handled by agents?
The current focus of the Property Agents’ Transaction Records Initiative is on residential transactions. CEA plans to make available records of other residential transactions i.e. HDB residential renting out of flats and private residential transactions in the second phase of the initiative, from end-2019.
CEA is mindful that agents can facilitate different types of transactions other than HDB residential resale transactions. As records on other residential transactions will be published in the next phase, CEA has considered this in our design of the information display on the Public Register. This is to ensure that consumers are aware that they are currently only able to check agents’ HDB residential resale transaction records.
CEA plans to make available records of HDB residential renting out of flats and private residential transactions closed by property agents in the second phase of the initiative, from end-2019.
5.   Are there concerns from the industry that this initiative may unwittingly put newer agents at a disadvantage as consumers are likely to choose agents with more experience?
Similar to other industries offering professional services, newcomers would have to differentiate themselves in order to compete with the more experienced agents. They could for instance provide different value-added services or offer more competitive commission rates.
6.   How did CEA decide on publishing just three data fields – completion date, town in which property is situated, and the agent’s role in the transaction?
CEA consulted industry stakeholders including the industry associations, Key Executive Officers of property agencies, property agents, as well as consumers in developing the Property Agents’ Transaction Records Initiative. The information to be displayed was among the topics discussed. The initiative was refined after receiving and incorporating feedback from these key stakeholders.
The key consideration is for CEA to provide the basic first-level information on an agent’s experience:
  • The completion date informs consumers of the recency of an agent’s activity;
  • The town in which the property is situated informs consumers of the geographical location of the transaction (for example, an agent with more transactions in a particular town is likely to be more familiar with that town); and
  • The agent’s role in the transaction (i.e. whether he or she represented the seller or buyer) would inform consumers which party the agent is more experienced in acting for.
7.   Where does CEA get the transaction records from? Some of the information in my transaction records do not appear to be correct. What can I do about it?
The records of HDB resale transactions closed by agents published on the CEA Public Register are based on the information submitted to HDB in the course of the HDB flat resale transaction process.
If there are issues with your transaction records, you may contact CEA at www.cea.gov.sg/feedback.