How helpful are real estate agents really?

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BandA
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How helpful are real estate agents really?

Post by BandA » Sun, 12 Nov 2006 3:33 pm

We've been provided with an agent as part of our relocation package. Today he gave the mister a whole list of apartments to view - only one was within our stated price range (and it was right at the top).

He says the property market is really heating up and prices have increased up to 60% over the last few months. Also, apartments are going fast - sometimes within hours of being listed, but at slowest a day or two.

After half a day wasted looking at several places we just can't afford and reiterating all the while that we just can't afford them, he admits there is negotiability of a couple of hundred dollars a month on these prices (which firstly contradicts his advice in the paragraph above, neither does it bring these appartments within our price range).

How quickly should we grow tired of this?

Countries I've lived in before have had a system whereby you choose an area and visit all the agents in that area to see what's on their books. Can the same technique be used?

How do you play this game here?

I know these are tired old questions - throw a newbie a hand?

B

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jpatokal
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Post by jpatokal » Sun, 12 Nov 2006 6:46 pm

All the agents pull the same shit on you. You need to give a price range a couple of hundred bucks below the actual range you're willing to pay, and nego with the owners.

That said, your agent isn't kidding: the property market really is heating up and prices are rising fast, so it's a seller's game right now... :?
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Post by BandA » Sun, 12 Nov 2006 8:01 pm

Thanks... so I guess we'll give him one more go (hopefully he'll be a little more realistic the second time around now he's taken the measure of us). I did think we were giving a price range a couple of hundred below - agents the world over pull that trick, it's nothing new - but apparently mister has innocently given him our top price so too late now. Bless and damn his guiless honesty.

Does he actually have to take the mick so far as to add an extra bedroom to our requirements though - that's what I want to know. Every place today had an extra bedroom on what we'd asked. I'm used to a certain amount of piss-taking, but this just seemed severe. And pretty much everywhere was smack bang on top of Orchard Rd, which is well upmarket of where we need to be. I don't think our budget is unrealistic for what we're actually after. Gah. This has turned into a vent now.

B

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ksl
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Post by ksl » Mon, 13 Nov 2006 3:45 am

Let it be known, that there are still hundreds if not thousands of empty places, although JP is right! the market is being manipulated, and many of the agents are full of crap, and are probably partly responsible for the surge in price in my opinion.

Although HDB prices are not moving up, quite the opposite, some say. east coast still seems the cheapest area. was looking at some condos for 1400$ the other day, but you don't get a second chance to look. Marina Parade area is pretty cheap also, only 20 minutes to the city.

And would you believe the discrimination here, the law changed on the 6th November 2006. all foreign construction workers are now not allowed to rent HDB Flats. Malaysians are exempt. but everyone else must be out at the end of their contracts. (construction workers) :oops: :shock: Christ where are they expected to live?

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 13 Nov 2006 9:16 am

Specially constructed dormitories (there is one next to my work place in bukit Batok, about 4 stories (looks like a typical apartment complex until you thak a closer look to see all the workers clothes hanging out of the windows or galah poles. They have been housed in converted shipping containers as well (not supposed to but it is done quite often until caught). Poor human rights? What does one expect in a country that says passengers in the rear seats but fasten their seat belts but you can cram 9 foreign workers unprotected in the back of a pickup truck without any restraints or protection whatsoever. :x
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by JNMECOSSE » Mon, 13 Nov 2006 2:52 pm

I am sure that many if not most rental agents manipulate the market but I can assure you the rental market does seem hot at the moment. The property that we viewed and secured had around 12 couples viewing in the twice that we viewed it. The place wasnt even finished renovation at that time. We found out we secured the apartment for the going tare and the landlord could have rented it over and over again.

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Post by jpatokal » Mon, 13 Nov 2006 7:05 pm

BandA wrote:Does he actually have to take the mick so far as to add an extra bedroom to our requirements though - that's what I want to know. Every place today had an extra bedroom on what we'd asked. I'm used to a certain amount of piss-taking, but this just seemed severe.
I presume you're looking for a one-br or two-br apartment? They're in rather short supply in Singapore.

But there's an easy way to limit agent shenanigans: get him to give you a printed list of the apartment that will be visited beforehand, including data like price and how many rooms. (Good agents will do this anyway.) If they're not in range, then tell him you're not interested and refuse to view -- he'll take the hint soon enough.
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Post by Grim Reaper » Tue, 14 Nov 2006 1:35 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Poor human rights? What does one expect in a country that says passengers in the rear seats but fasten their seat belts but you can cram 9 foreign workers unprotected in the back of a pickup truck without any restraints or protection whatsoever. :x
Sms, all workers, be them Indians, Sri Lankese, Bangla Deshi or Singaporeans, are dumped in the back of the vans.

To OP.

Don't assign an agent, for sure they will squeeze the last penny out of your pockets.

Buy the Straits Times and read the classifieds every day, then you call the place you're interested in and do a viewing. If you like it, negotiate realistically.

It has gone up, but there is still plenty of good places for a good price, you just need to put some effort in it.
Time will come....

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Post by BandA » Tue, 14 Nov 2006 1:50 pm

Round two went much better. Guess it was worth a try the first time around, huh?

We've always found somewhere to live by ourselves before. I've concluded that providing an agent is one of these "helpful" things companies add on to your package that you could easily - in fact more easily - do without.

Thanks, guys. I'll leave you to discuss the more complex issue of fair housing - I can't even begin to open that can of worms at this point in our residency.

B

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Post by serenitynow » Tue, 21 Nov 2006 7:51 pm

Hi BandA - we are also apartment hunting. Have you had any luck walking into apartments or condos for viewings on your own? My husband had tried a couple of times and was immediately halted by the security guards who said that "walk-in's" must be accompanied by agents. I'm interested to know if this is true and if anyone has any tips on walking in if they have previously done so.

We have also heard simliar stories from a few agents regarding the "hot" renting market and such. By the way, co-workers here say that there is about a 15-17% negotiating room. We're not at that stage yet.

Good luck with your search.

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Post by AusBayshore » Wed, 22 Nov 2006 2:15 am

Can someone recommend an agent to me?
I am moving to Singapore March 07, need a place near town, as my work place will be at raffles place.

Need to find out more information before i speak to the local office admin.

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Post by joop » Wed, 22 Nov 2006 11:28 am

AusBayshore wrote:Can someone recommend an agent to me?
I am moving to Singapore March 07, need a place near town, as my work place will be at raffles place.

Need to find out more information before i speak to the local office admin.

You can contact (65) 61000300 or email: enquiry@singaporeexpats.com with your requirements.
Singapore Expats

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Post by BandA » Sat, 02 Dec 2006 6:13 pm

To Serenitynow - round two went so well we found the perfect place, so we never ended up trying on our own, sorry.

B

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Re: How helpful are real estate agents really?

Post by sygnin » Tue, 05 Dec 2006 2:21 pm

The prices have been rising lately. As a local renting a private apartment, it is all the more frustrating, because the agents always imply they can easily get expats to pay more for an apartment, which unfortunately is true.

Personally I don't like agents. I find them rather suspect. The agent fees of half a month are stupid - they get half a month's rent from you and half a month from the owner I think. For showing you a place for half an hour and a document generated from a Word template.

My current agent even rented me a place that is technically not even registered! I can't even use it as my registered address! And I'm local! When I told them they said 'oh can you find a relative and borrow their address instead', to which I argued well then why I am paying you money to stay in a place that doesn't exist?

Unfortunately most apartments seem to be represented by an agent. I suggest you try and find an agent who is a friend of someone you know quite well, at the very least you can try to pull the guilt card if something goes wrnog.

Many agents say they belong to one of the large real estate companies locally, but they operate more or less as independant contrators, so don't get misled by a posh-sounding company name.

Lastyl check the papers to see what the general prices are for the property you want in the place you like. Places near town are obviously more expensive; outlying areas are cheaper. If you're not looking for luxury you can still get by quite decently on 2.5K a month. You can bargain the price down by a hundred or so, but if they go a lot lower I would get suspicious about why they're suddenly being generous.

Hope that helps.

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Post by Danflower » Sun, 10 Dec 2006 2:57 am

I have just finished my tiring house-hunting trip, and landed a week ago. Agents, yes, best to be one's friend. As my esperience, not all agents tell you what the owner really asks for the apartment, and I heard, not once, "that's the agent's game", "number game" etc... beside "price hike", "immediate decision needs to be made" ... to me, the agent who says that to prove that he is a better agent, never convinces me. I had really bad experience with one guy. Luckily, I found one through a very nice agent who is my friend's friend. Sorry if anyone in this forum is an agent, but I dont really trust on all of them. Just few, few, few... :mad:

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