Good property agents? an oxymoron ?

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macaroonie
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Post by macaroonie » Wed, 21 Oct 2009 9:43 am

Everyone is being conned? yah i believe it now... i think i had too much faith in humanity... what will happen when i go home? will we all continue to be hyper suspicious of absolutely everyone!

this reminds me of the time i got conned buying a few tomatoes in little india- he weighed the tomatoes without ever looking at the scales, just stared at me and charged me $2 for about 2-3 small tomatoes...

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 21 Oct 2009 10:30 am

macaroonie wrote:
this reminds me of the time i got conned buying a few tomatoes in little india- he weighed the tomatoes without ever looking at the scales, just stared at me and charged me $2 for about 2-3 small tomatoes...
Had to laugh at that one! He was using skin scales! They automatically weight heavy based on your skin colour. ESPECIALLY in Tekka Market! (I know, my wife is an Indian) When we go there I hide so she's not mistaken for either a maid working for an Ang Mo or married to one (either way, the skin scales are used!) :lol:
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 beppi » Wed, 21 Oct 2009 2:00 pm

For the fee a property agent received in case a deal is closed, I would expect:
- Listening to requirements/preferences, suggestions which of these are realistic or difficult to meet in Singapore
- Shortlisting of places that meet them with prices, pictures and floorplan
- Viewing of only a few of these places which the prospective tenant is really interested in

In fact, what I get is:
- Agent asks for the budget
- Agent consults a database for all properties slightly above (!) this budget and arranges viewings for all those indiscriminately
- Agent does not give any information and refuses to answer questions before a viewing (because he has never seen the place and is not willing to do any further service for the client)

I moved five times in Singapore and had lots of agent contacts wasting lots of my time, but the best deals (incl. all the ones we eventually took) always came from agent-free sources.
The agents somehow successfully maintain a quasi-monopolistic grip on the market, therefore the alternatives are sometimes difficult to find, but it's worth searching hard (something an agent won't do for you!).

Good luck,
Frank

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Post by nakatago » Wed, 21 Oct 2009 2:41 pm

beppi wrote:For the fee a property agent received in case a deal is closed, I would expect:
- Listening to requirements/preferences, suggestions which of these are realistic or difficult to meet in Singapore
- Shortlisting of places that meet them with prices, pictures and floorplan
- Viewing of only a few of these places which the prospective tenant is really interested in
We've encountered two agents like that. The first got us our first flat. So, when we had to move a new place, we asked him if he knew prospective places. The market at the time was not in our favor so we didn't take it against him if he didn't give us any options. At least he didn't set any expectations the second time 'round.

The next one, he really goes out of his way to check out the places before he even recommends them to us. Again, bad timing and the owners keep rejecting our offer so he wasn't able to find us a place. We kinda felt bad for him because we was really working his ass off to find us a place. All the places he recommended were great, except that the owners would reject our offers.

We always deal with multiple agents because we look at ads and call every potential place we can so there's the multiplier effect going for us; we look for a place, the agents look for a place (hey, it's free until they close a deal). Naturally, we also encountered bad agents...a lot of them.
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Post by irvine » Wed, 21 Oct 2009 4:31 pm

I like the agent-free ones too.

Once we viewed a double-story house shown by an agent. He wanted to rent out the 3 rooms downstairs. And so I asked him what about those upstairs? He said he hasn't decided what to do with those upstairs yet, maybe he'll stay there with his family. Fine.

The next day, we went to see the place again at an agreed 11am. He said he couldn't make it, gave us the code for the number padlock and we could go in to view it ourselves (since the place was empty anyways). So we did. Our instincts was to also go upstairs and take a look how it's like. To our horrors, it was partitioned with plywood into very small rooms, up to about 7-8 rooms. It clearly looked like one of those workers' squatters!

We looked at each other, went out of the house, locked it all good. And never looked or even called back.

Moral of the story, yes trespassing can give you the horrors. That aside, look at every spot of the house / flat / apt / condo before even considering it. 'Propogandas' are not a good sign.

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Post by macaroonie » Thu, 22 Oct 2009 10:16 am

Thanks for the URA website ! There was no listing of rental prices for the metropolitan though, if anyone is staying there in a studio, 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom do you mind giving me an idea of the rental you are paying - appreciate it! :D

Any tips on getting the agent to help bargain down the advertised prices! the prices are still ridiculously high!

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Post by tayhm62 » Wed, 04 Nov 2009 11:56 pm

sorry to hear that the bad experiences you guys had with the property agents. However, hope you guys enjoy staying in Singapore as there are many good people in this small island. :D

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Post by lkh81 » Mon, 09 Nov 2009 8:53 pm

i chance upon this site. Well i'm believe there's gotta be some wolves amongst the sheep. I dont know if you have really bad luck to always get the worst of our kind. so what properties are you guys looking to buy?

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Post by beppi » Wed, 11 Nov 2009 12:16 pm

kenchew wrote:If you're not comfortable with someone.
Just pass and move on.
Despite giving several agents a chance every of the five times I moved within Singapore over the years, I haven't found a reasonable one - and every single time the best deal, which we finally took, was from sources without an agent involved.
It takes more effort to find a place without agent, but I have the strong opinion that this is time very well spent. (And time spent on dealing with agents was all wasted, at least in our case!)

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Post by beppi » Wed, 11 Nov 2009 12:31 pm

The worst experience was an appartment shown to us by an agent, at a rather high price. We asked to negotiate and the agent said owner wouldn't budge.
Two weeks later we saw the same appartment advertised by the owner himself at S$600 less. We called and he said he gave up on the agent, who never brought anybody seriously interested. It turned out that the agent didn't even ask him if the price could be lowered for us!
(Likely explanation: Agent's fees are linked to monthly rent, so they have no motivation at all to negotiate a better deal for you - and thus a lower fee for themselves!)
We didn't take the appartment even at the lower price, because we found an even better one at the same price (also without agent).

Another gripe is the unwillingness of agents to provide any service above the usual - which is showing numerous flats apparently randomly selected from their database regardless of tenant's preferences.
After wasting much time being showed places that obviously lacked what we specified, I started always asking for more details beforehand. NONE of the agents I dealt with so far was willing to provide more than "I arrange a viewing then you see for yourself!" as an answer. NONE of them had a floorplan or pictures of the inside. NONE of them was willing to go and have a look himself to answer my questions before bringing me there (and none of them apparently had ever been in the offered properties before trying to sell them).
I think if somebody wants to earn several thousand dollars in fees, some efforts towards that are in order!

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Post by oku » Thu, 12 Nov 2009 2:39 am

just moved to london and was so disappointed with the service provided by the various property agencies over here.

i was looking at some houses in a particular area. was told by agents to make my own way to the properties, despite telling them i am new to london and has no car and can i meet them at the office and go together. my schedule is flexible so the viewing can be arranged to their own convenience. but no no.

after viewing the houses, there was no follow up calls from them. i have to call them to find out more about the property, rent, terms and conditions etc or if i am interested in the property. some didnt even return my calls.

finally found a house thru a one man set up property agency. after moving in, there were some things that need to be fixed but landlord was so hard to contact(property agency is no longer involved in after sales services). so have to fix some stuff myself (which should have been fixed by landlord). when i finally got hold of landlord, was told that i have to pay for every faulty items in the house, he is just renting out the house. :mad:

at least in spore, there is still an agreement that for $150 above, landlord will bear the cost.

here in london, i have no idea who to turn to for help. been having problems with the alarm, bloody landlord is still uncontactable. :mad:

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Good info :-)

Post by free_geezer » Thu, 12 Nov 2009 11:56 pm

Thanks to all for the info, quite amusing..
I'm moving to Singapore from UK in Jan, so the points have been useful. Luckily I got some direction for agents and property websites from the place I will work at, fngers crossed I will have a reasonable experience, i'll probably make a blog on my experiences, could be funny (or horrible even!).

Thanks for the URA info, hopefully I'll find that useful as at least I now have an idea of what to expect for a type of property and can tell the agent what I think of them if they are trying to con me.

Paul

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Post by macaroonie » Fri, 13 Nov 2009 10:08 am

I wish you the very best of luck! Have a read of this story.. i read it soon after arriving eeks!

http://forum.singaporeexpats.com/sutra223919.html

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Post by drakka » Mon, 23 Nov 2009 10:11 pm

always try to get in contact with the landlord directly.
if you ever see a development where the owner is the one showing you, not the landlord agent. Give him a namecard, he might do the same - give you a namecard, or contact you directly.

bear in mind that your agent's job is to secure his/her own commission. He/She is paid according to the rent he/she can secure... and it is a one-time fee. Do not expect them to work in your favor. Might as well do the job directly with the landlord if you can. I have done so, and I am happy to have done it.

Likewise, after doing your deal, the agent no longer earns any fees... it is unlikely to he/she will listen to your problems if you have any.

My experience is to try to meet the landlord. Trust your gut feeling in the initial sniff test. If you think you actually have a landlord who will not screw you, do the deal and cut out the agent if you can.

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Post by irvine » Tue, 24 Nov 2009 10:11 am

I remember seeing a place with Agent A, who called Agent B to be present too. Apparently this place was co-broke. Somehow, Agent A told me or gave me the impression that Agent B is the owner. Agent B behaved like the owner too, sitting comfortably on the couch, etc.

So, I asked Agent B a few questions about the flat, eg: how old is the flat, how long has he have it, why is he renting it out, how are the neighbors, how's this neighborhood generally, etc. Haa, he couldn't answer any of those.

We decided to pass for a number of reasons: 1) the price wasn't right, 2) feels fishy. We wouldn't know who to go to if something is wrong.

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