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Property Complaints

>> Friday, September 4, 2009

The recent rush to buy properties has spawned a record rush of complaints about housing agents.

In the last two months, the Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies (SAEA) received a record 141 public enquiries, feedback and complaints - almost equivalent to the 144 it received for 2006 and 2007.

About 20 per cent of the 76 cases reported to SAEA last month were commission disputes. Another 20 per cent were complaints regarding the behaviour of property agents.

One gripe from buyers, in particular: When the indicative valuation that the agent gives them is higher than the official valuation that comes later, resulting in the buyer having to fork out more cash.

Institute of Estate Agents (IEA) president Jeff Foo feels that consumers should be better educated and prepared before they sign any papers. "Not all the blame falls on the agent. We suggest that consumers do their own diligence before buying."

Still, Mr Foo concedes that many agents are "too pushy" and keen to get clients to sign on the dotted line so as to close a sale. The IEA receives some 15 enquiries (including complaints) a day from the public.

Both industry associations are pushing for a standardised framework and compulsory accreditation for property agents to raise standards.

Meanwhile, buyers should take control of their own transactions, and ensure that they are fully satisfied with everything before committing.

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