Renting Apartment without paying Agent fees?

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eduardomi
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Renting Apartment without paying Agent fees?

Post by eduardomi » Fri, 02 Apr 2010 6:40 pm

Hello,

I would like to know if this is possible.

My company referred me to a real estate agent to find me an apartment. However, I do not agree with paying an agent half month or 1 month rent for something I can do myself (finding an apartment). So I went to Craigslist and found a very nice apartment, I called and set up an appointment to check it out.

When I got there, I met the owner and his agent. (I spoke to the agent on the phone). Anyways, I liked the apartment and days later I wrote the agent an email telling her that I wanted to clarify with her, the reason why I did not use my own agent (the one the company referred me to). I explained that I FOUND the apartment by doing my own search and that she did not find it for me.

Long story short, I want to know if I should pay her any agent fees for doing nothing for me.

The point where I am coming from is: I did the leg work and found me an apartment, I did not hire her. THE OWNER hired her to advertise his apartment, find a tenant and get him a good deal. But me? I did not request her services...

I just find this agent fee thing a bit annoying as you are being "forced" to follow this scheme.

Can someone rent an apartment without agent fees? Where can I find an owner and not an agent?

Help please!

Thanks!

E. :)

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cbavasi
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Post by cbavasi » Fri, 02 Apr 2010 7:56 pm

It depends on how much you are renting the apartment for... above $2500 the landlord is responsible for the fees. Typically the agent would be happy for you to find the apartment on your own so they don't have to split the fee with your agent ... usually they will give you a better deal (at least this is what I found) - but you don't have the benefit of having your agent hash out the details deal with the landlord's agent directly (they can be very difficult). This is NOTHING like renting a place in the US (IMHO)... they will think nothing of taking your money, signing the LOI and telling you later the deal is off.
We've moved 3x now within Singapore and only once have I found a landlord that did not have an agent (and that was on Craigslist)... check the paper... but even those advertised as "by owner" still have an agent.

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Post by Saint » Sat, 03 Apr 2010 4:17 pm

I refuse to ever paying agent's fees. I always confirm with the agent that he/she are acting on behalf of the landlord and not for me, the tenant.

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Post by eduardomi » Sat, 03 Apr 2010 11:40 pm

Saint wrote:I refuse to ever paying agent's fees. I always confirm with the agent that he/she are acting on behalf of the landlord and not for me, the tenant.
Have you been successful in not paying the fees? The landlord's agent for this last apartment I saw told me it is a "market practice" that both, the landlord and the tenant pays the agent their fees. But I totally agree that in this case the agent is acting on behalf of the landlord, not mine. I didnt even asked for her services you know?

Please let me know if you were successful to stand firm on my bases. Otherwise, I would have to follow the "Singapore Scheme" of everybody pays agent fees, regardless of who engaged the agent.

Thanks!

Ed.

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Post by beppi » Sun, 04 Apr 2010 12:28 am

The old rule that above S$2500 monthly rent the agent fees are paid by the landlord was scrapped some time ago. There is no rule any more and also no established market practise - everything is negotiable!
An agent who tells you otherwise is lying and should be avoided.

If however, the landlord insists on using his agent and also on you paying some of the fees involved (even after you pointed out that the agent was not engaged by you and does not act for you), there isn't much you can do short of walking away and looking for a more reasonable landlord.

It is possible (and in my opinion very advisable, although more work) to cut out the agents altogether and deal with owners directly. Agents control most of the rental market at the moment, but I always found the better deals without them.
Last edited by beppi on Sun, 04 Apr 2010 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

eduardomi
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Post by eduardomi » Sun, 04 Apr 2010 12:33 am

Thank you very much!

I just sent an email to the agent stating that I stand firm on not incurring any agent fees for the above mentioned reasons.

I will let you know the outcome of my battle. I also mentioned that there is no "rule" stating both parties should pay the agent and that it was more a suggestion rather than a rule.

I hope it all works out.

Please keep the reply coming guys, I need know your opinion.

Thanks!

E.

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Post by observer » Mon, 05 Apr 2010 8:29 am

Usually, it's the agent who doesn't want to share the commission, not the landlord refusing to pay.Assuming it's a 2 year lease, the landlords always pays 2 months' fee (doesn't care which agent the money goes to).

So I would suggest to cut this particular agent, and instead find another who works on commission-share. There are many. As previously mentioned, it used to be SGD2500 as the line between payable and not, but these days it can be anything from SGD2500 to SGD3000. In my opinion, the only reason this system changed was because some "owner agents" decided they don't want to share anymore.

I myself have never paid commission as a tenant. Hold your ground, find another agent. When you start calling agents, first question is "what is your commissions policy like"?

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Post by Saint » Mon, 05 Apr 2010 8:58 am

eduardomi wrote:
Saint wrote:I refuse to ever paying agent's fees. I always confirm with the agent that he/she are acting on behalf of the landlord and not for me, the tenant.
Have you been successful in not paying the fees? The landlord's agent for this last apartment I saw told me it is a "market practice" that both, the landlord and the tenant pays the agent their fees. But I totally agree that in this case the agent is acting on behalf of the landlord, not mine. I didnt even asked for her services you know?

Please let me know if you were successful to stand firm on my bases. Otherwise, I would have to follow the "Singapore Scheme" of everybody pays agent fees, regardless of who engaged the agent.

Thanks!

Ed.
Yes, been successful each time, I also make sure an individual agent doesn't show me more than one apartment, this way the agent can't try and say he's acting exclusively as your agent. If the agent insists that you as a tenant needs to pay a fee just walk away.

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Post by beppi » Mon, 05 Apr 2010 10:50 am

observer wrote:Usually, it's the agent who doesn't want to share the commission, not the landlord refusing to pay.Assuming it's a 2 year lease, the landlords always pays 2 months' fee (doesn't care which agent the money goes to).
This also is part of the rules that were scrapped some time ago. There is no guideline like "2 months rent for 2 years lease" any more, other than common sense and negotiation skills. Any agent telling you otherwise is dishonest and should be avoided!
I have encountered agents wanting half a month rent only. I didn't deal with them, because (as I said before) my own efforts yield better results.

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Post by eduardomi » Mon, 05 Apr 2010 1:01 pm

The problem is: Where can one find OWNERS not Agents??? Everywhere I look I only find agents advertising the apartment (and obviously trying to get some comission out of me, even though I made the leg work).

Can I report an agent? If it is not a rule, then she is discriminating me for not wanting to pay her fees, you know? Once again, she is acting on behalf of the landlord not mine. If I refuse to pay her fees she will not want to rent me the apartment and that is discrimination. I am right?

I should have equal opportunities to rent an apartment regardless if I allow the agent to rip me off or not. I hope you get my point...

What do you guys think?

Please let me know,

Ed.

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Post by beppi » Mon, 05 Apr 2010 1:33 pm

eduardomi wrote:The problem is: Where can one find OWNERS not Agents???
Owner ads are rare, but they do exist. Look harder, or place a "Wanted" ad yourself, specifying "No Agents, Please!"
eduardomi wrote:Can I report an agent?
Yes. For legal problems contact the Small Claims Tribunal (SCS) or Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE), for everything else the Institute of Estate Agents (IEA), their trade association. If they are not registered with IEA (many are not), they aren't legal agents and you need not pay them anything.
eduardomi wrote:I should have equal opportunities to rent an apartment regardless if I allow the agent to rip me off or not. I hope you get my point...
The landlord has full rights to rent or not to rent out the apartment to you, and need not disclose his/her reasons, which might include your willingness to work with and pay for his/her agent.
Insisting on something to get your way will not endear you to the landlord and most probably nullify your chances to get the apartment.
Thus there's nothing you can do about this, other than walking away and looking for a more reasonable landlord.

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Post by macaroonie » Mon, 05 Apr 2010 1:59 pm

I also found the place myself without any agent who at the time was working for me. The landlord's agent said i don't have to pay her as she is acting on behalf of the landlord.

My agent also didnt request any commission either since i was the one who found it in the end, i only paid him a small token fee as a thank you, but it certainly wasn't required. In the end he still came for the handover and signing of the contract!

Good luck!

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Post by eduardomi » Mon, 05 Apr 2010 3:55 pm

macaroonie wrote:I also found the place myself without any agent who at the time was working for me. The landlord's agent said i don't have to pay her as she is acting on behalf of the landlord.

My agent also didnt request any commission either since i was the one who found it in the end, i only paid him a small token fee as a thank you, but it certainly wasn't required. In the end he still came for the handover and signing of the contract!

Good luck!

Nice!!! Good job, it always shows good manner to thank your agent in that way even if they did not find the place for you. You got rewarded by having him present at the handover, you lucked out!

Anyways, I sent an email to the agent this weekend stating my position and the reason why I feel I should not incur any fees. Hopefully she will prefer to close a deal (and collect fees from the landlord) rather than making her client wait and wait for the perfect tenant (that who will pay her fees).

Where is a good place to post ads? Other than craigslist?

Any more input is well received, thanks!

e.

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Post by franchupe » Sun, 20 Mar 2011 11:02 am

So Eduardomi, what finally happened to you and the commision fee requested by the agent? i am new in Singapore and i am facing a similar situation. thank you!

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Post by ecureilx » Sun, 20 Mar 2011 7:22 pm

franchupe wrote:So Eduardomi, what finally happened to you and the commision fee requested by the agent? i am new in Singapore and i am facing a similar situation. thank you!
Of late, due to new laws, agents can't represent the tenant and landlord, and it was meant to eliminate the double payment ..

I am waiting for agents to find some creative way to overcome this ..

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