Rights you need to know as a property agent’s customer
It is another milestone achieved in life when you bought your first property, the biggest ticket item in life. Most of the time, we want to make sure when purchasing the property, the transaction will have to be smoothly completed to make the legal transfer under your name. Sure, they maybe some hiccups here and there when it comes to the submitting documents where majority either missing a document or have not obtain the required document. It could even be cash flow problem from the buyer side for down payment or booking fee, anything can happen. Engaging property agent is part of parcel during the entire journey whether it is buying or renting and property agent is to ensure your journey of buying and renting are completed smoothly from scheduling appointments to drafting tenancy agreement. But, there is always a bad apple in the bunch and here’s how as a prospective tenant or buyer like you should exercise your rights.
Before you even start scheduling appointments for property viewing, you probably have question yourself whether you should engage in an agent. Consider your needs and requirements as a property consumer and the familiarity with the regulations and processes involved in the property transaction too. If time is not on your side, it is advisable to engage property agent to help you facilitate.
- Make sure your property agent is registered with Council of Estate Agencies (CEA)
For beginners, you can search your agents’ details by doing a search in CEA Public Register, click here to check their legitimacy. There have been previous cases where individuals were charged for conducting estate agency work without being licensed and registered with CEA. It wouldn’t hurt to check out the legitimacy of your property agent before sealing the deal with any agent.
- Decide commission details before agent begin any works
Most of the commission earned by agents are not fixed, most of it are determined by the market forces and it is up to your decision whether to negotiate or agree on the commission percentage with your agent before they start hustling on your property transaction. It is to prevent misunderstandings in the future, both of you must be clear on the terms of commission from the get-go. Be fair to your agent as the amount of work they had to deal and honour in order to earn the commission when the work is completed. Check if there is any Goods and Services Tax (GST) included, only GST – registered property agencies are allowed to charge and collect GST.
- Only use CEA’s prescribed Estate Agency Agreements
We highly recommend that it is best to put things in black and white for official documentation purposes. It doesn’t hurt to be more meticulous and mindful at times, especially when you are dealing with buying and selling of properties. You will be sorry when you have to pay more costs than expected or short change on the furniture as promised. Make sure the agreed terms and price for both parties are spelled it out in the agreement.
- Know your agent’s roles and responsibilities
Agents are not supposed to be clenching on both buyer and seller or landlord and tenant at the same time. They are suppose to represent either one of the party to ensure there are no conflict of interests especially when it comes to agreeing price for both sides. Agents have to always put their clients’ best interest first before theirs. Apart from that, make sure your agents ensure documents like agreements are properly drafted accurately with all the stated terms and price.
- Manage your own money at all times
We all know money is a sensitive issue especially when you are dealing with thousands and millions amount. During the transaction, it is good that every party does their due diligence to keep an eye on the money. Keep the transactions between buyer and seller or landlord and tenant. Pay the payee directly using verifiable payment modes such as crossed cheque and bank transfers and if you are going to pay in cash, remember to request for receipt. If due to certain circumstances where you need agent’s help to take or deliver money, agent has to seek consent from buyer/seller or landlord/agent through any means to avoid misunderstanding and protect both sides interests.
Overall, it is a two way relationship between you and the agent whether you are a buyer, seller, landlord or tenant. A little respect of their work goes a long way towards forging a warm amicable relationships with your agent.