Real estate agencies work with government to transform industry

The long transaction process and regulatory hurdles are common complaints of people buying or selling property in Singapore.
Even as other industries embrace new technologies to streamline processes and improve customer service, the real estate industry has lagged in leveraging technology to become more customer-responsive and efficient.
The Real Estate Industry Transformation Map (ITM), unveiled on Jan 8, is a roadmap to ensure that the industry continues to grow and will be able to provide good jobs for Singaporeans.
It will focus on the property transaction services and facilities management sector, because existing business models and traditional jobs face disruption from new technologies, rising consumer expectations, and slowing manpower growth. This is part of an ongoing effort to improve the industry.
The process began in January with the launch of the HDB Resale Portal, which integrates all the eligibility checks onto a single platform, and has cut HDB resale transaction times by up to eight weeks.
To strengthen professionalism in the real estate industry, the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) will work with the industry to publish property transactions closed by agents. This initiative will be implemented in two phases: starting with HDB transactions from end-2018, then private residential transactions from end-2019.
CEA says this initiative will increase transparency and boost customers’ confidence in continuing to engage property agents, even as the transaction process becomes automated. CEA will also work with agencies to collect and publish consumer ratings of agents.
First-movers in this area include Orange Tee and ERA Realty. Two years ago, Orange Tee was the first agency to launch a property agent review portal, aptly named Property Agents Review.
Last year, ERA launched its property agent search portal called FindProperty Agent.sg. An improved version of the portal was launched at its Asia Pacific Business Conference on Jan 8. The website lists individual ERA agent’s transaction track record, as well as testimonials and ratings from verified customers.
The portal enables consumers to choose an agent based on service rating and reviews, speciality, location and track record. It will help streamline property searches and enhance the client-agent matching process by integrating all key considerations onto a single platform, says ERA.
The focus is shifting towards improving the private property transaction process, says Jack Chua, CEO of ERA, an industry partner that contributed to the formulation of the ITM. Chua says upcoming plans will involve rental transactions, private property resale and...