Nov 2023 - 3 min read
In this blog post, we continue our coverage of findings from CEA’s survey of over 600 property consumers, conducted earlier this year, on their expectations and understanding of the responsibilities of real estate salesperson (RES). Those surveyed include property buyers, sellers, tenants, and landlords who recently completed a property transaction.
In this article, we share 3 tips, arising from our survey, for RESs to avoid misunderstandings with property consumers during a property transaction.
Ensure information on property listings is updated
When we spoke to consumers about their experiences during the listing or search stages of their property transaction, issues involving the accuracy of information, such as the price and description of the property, was highlighted by consumers as one of the major bugbears. In particular, buyers’ or tenants’ expectations were raised by a property listing, but the actual property turned out to be different from what was described in the listing.
RESs should therefore ensure that their property listings are updated and accurate, including taking down advertisements for properties that have already been transacted. Doing so avoids misunderstandings or disappointing consumers who contact the RESs regarding these properties.
Be clear on representation
Another issue raised during the survey was clarity of representation. This was highlighted by buyers and potential tenants of properties. Many of them were unaware that an RES can represent only one party in a transaction under the Estate Agents Act. CEAnergy previously covered a case of a former RES fined for dual representation, and stressed that RESs have an ethical and legal obligation to act in the best interest of the party he/she represents. Representing both parties in a property transaction would put the RES in conflict of interest, and is not allowed.
Some buyers and tenants in the survey shared that without the knowledge that dual representation is not allowed, they sometimes misunderstood the role of the seller’s or landlord’s RES and expected the RESs to act in their interest as well. This misunderstanding particularly arises in scenarios where buyers and tenants are not familiar with local regulations and not represented by their own RES. It is therefore best for RESs, who meet unrepresented buyers and tenants in such situations, to explain clearly whom they represent and why they are not able to represent both parties in the same transaction.
Clarify services to be provided to tenants or landlords after tenancy agreement is signed
RESs continue to provide tenants or landlords with property management services, hoping to maintain good relationship with their client for future opportunities. Misunderstandings and disagreements may occur as tenants and landlords are often not aware that property management is not part of estate agency work and expect their RES to handle issues and problems that arise during the tenancy.
It is beneficial for all parties involved if RESs are clear on the services they will or will not provide once the tenancy agreement is signed and the property is handed over to the tenant. This reduces the potential for disagreement with their clients to happen down the road.
In fact, service-related complaints ranks the highest in volume amongst the complaints that CEA receives and such clarity will help to reduce these complaints.
Managing rising consumer expectations
In our previous article on CEA’s consumer study, we shared the qualities of RESs that property consumers were looking for and how expectations of RESs were increasing. These heightened expectations of RESs by consumers is a key reason why CEA is enhancing the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) framework for RESs. It was announced on 19 May 2023 that RESs who intend to renew their registration in 2026 will have to fulfill 16 hours per annual CPD cycle, up from the current requirement of six CPD credits (or 6 to 9 hours) per year.
We hope that this series of articles has been useful for you. Do join the CEA Facebook page for more of such tips and articles from us!
Information accurate as at 24 Nov 2023