In the course of my real estate career journey, I have seen the ugly and the beautiful sides of this industry in Singapore. Unfortunately, the ugly side takes most of the roles:
1) The unbelievable poor attitude of some realtors;
2) The wrong education imparted by some team leaders from various agencies to their down-lines;
3) Customers are culprits too. Yes.
4) Some solicitors with very little knowledge of conveyance procedures, try to prove their worth, push all the blames to the realtors, so as to get away with, because, the word 'solicitors' carries more weight than the word 'realtors' I supposed;
With all that, no wonder the stigma of 'cowboy industry' adheres to the industry, here in Singapore.
Agents with little or no knowledge of their prospects' requirements, often waste their time, their prospects' time and the co-broke agents' time, in the name of self-center.
Team managers imparting wrong education to their down-lines, is the birth of unethical agents.
Agencies and team managers who often grade themselves as the '1st' in the industry, cause the formation of goose bumps all over my body.This keeps appearing on the classified ads every single day with:
'The Number 1 Real Estate Agency'; or 'The Number One Team in ABC Agency'.
In Singapore, most property buyers prefer to deal with the number one real estate company and the number one agent. In my opinion, this is over-rated. Clients are misled, confused and overwhelmed by many number 1s out there.
Pages on the Singapore Classified Ads of The Straits Times will be a lot cleaner if the relevant department from the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice keeps a watchful eye on this.
Customers(Sellers/buyers) who do not respect the time of realtors and owners, often arrive late, without prior notice.No words of apologies when they have finally arrived at the scene, an hour later.
Customers' responsibility to pay GST to registered agencies, refuse to acknowledge the tax, openly ask the realtors to absorb that expense, which is rightfully the formers'.
The move by the Singapore government to regulate the industry, through the newly formed Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) will certainly help to eliminate the obvious. Strict rules are set to fine and or jail unethical agents who try to perform pressure selling; dual representation - receiving commissions from both sellers and buyers.
The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) role is to protect the consumers, which, I fully agree. However, there is a need to protect the agents too. The unethical and unprofessional practices by solicitors and consumers must be looked into as well.It is not fair to smack rules that penalize all agents when there are agents who are lawful, ethical and honest, suffer from the strict rules being imposed by the Ministry of National Development (MND).
I guess, it is the beginning and the approaches will be fine tuned as the industry grows, but, don't take too long please. The industry was given the opportunity to self-regulate, it is a real pity that, the opportunity was taken too loosely, resulting the lost of 10 good years.