Five Important Things to Ask Before Choosing Your Real Estate Agent

By Aaron De Silva / EdgeProp | August 18, 2017 10:38 AM SGT
Once you’ve decided to buy a property, a key step is finding a real estate agent who can help you achieve your goal. Not enlisting an agent is, in fact, one of the biggest mistakes a homebuyer can make. For that matter, the same is true if you want to offload your property.
But how exactly do you go about choosing the right agent for you? In January 2017, the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) reported that there are 1,286 licensed property agencies and 28,397 registered property agents operating in Singapore. The CEA didn’t give a breakdown of whether the agents are full-time or part-time. Nevertheless, that’s almost 30,000 candidates to choose from.
And if you’re a serious property hunter, you’re going to be spending quite a lot of time with him or her. So picking the right one is essential. Don’t pick someone with whom you’re so chummy that you can’t have a serious conversation about finances, or someone you feel uncomfortable disagreeing with. The ideal agent is someone who’s experienced, professional, fair and ethical. He or she must be able to provide a good listening ear, address your concerns and be willing to fight for the best deal for you.
To start off, you might ask your circle of friends, family, colleagues or business associates for recommendations. Once you’ve compiled a list of names, the next step is to screen these agents. Think of it as a casting call for the lead role in your movie – the one where you find the home of your dreams! A quick call to go over a few basic – but thoroughly essential – questions will help narrow the selection. Here are five of the most important questions you need to ask.
1. “How long have you been in the business?”
Experience counts, and here’s why: the more transactions an agent has handled, the better he/she is equipped to handle negotiations, fight for deals, and manage any problems should they arise. Also, agents are commission-based. Like any business that relies on customers for survival, – much less in the cutthroat world of real estate – it would be very difficult for an agent to last long if he/she provided lousy service. Plus, in this era of social media, an agent with a bad rep would find himself/herself out of business pretty soon.
2. “Will I be working directly with you...