gazundering the more unscrupulous rental agents

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west2east
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Post by west2east » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 3:51 pm

What I originally proposed was entirely based on what I've read about the agents, just turned around and played back to them, no worse, no better than how they appear to treat some of the other expats on this forum. Maybe it was a little tongue-in-cheek too.

I have done exactly the same thing in London, where appropriate. E.g. one agent hid their fees until the last minute (they wanted one weeks rent), so when they told me that, I went to another agent with the same flat but the other agent was only charging a fixed fee of 100 GBP (more than 66% discount against the less transparent agent)

The bottom line is this: 10 years ago, one month's rent was not so much as it is now and charging 1 month's rent was probably fair in relation to the effort made by the agent.

The rents have gone up a lot, but the living costs and operating costs for the agent haven't gone up - yet they are still charging 1 month's rent, rather than the same nominal amount for their time.

Today they demand a fee of $4000 for the same flat that earned them $1000 a decade ago. Has any other industry (e.g. school teachers or nurses) seen such a dramatic rise in their income while doing the same work?

The landlord situation is completely different: landlords do have higher mortgages, higher construction and acquisition costs than 10 years ago. But the agents have none of those costs, they have simply continued this `charge one months rent' mantra long after rents went through the roof. They won't change that themselves, only market pressure will force them back down to a reasonable margin over their actual cost of operating.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 4:15 pm

west2east wrote: Today they demand a fee of $4000 for the same flat that earned them $1000 a decade ago. Has any other industry (e.g. school teachers or nurses) seen such a dramatic rise in their income while doing the same work?
Yeah, doctors & lawyers. And you mention that their costs haven't gone up? how do you figure? CPI indices indicate otherwise.
Last edited by sundaymorningstaple on Thu, 14 Jun 2012 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 JR8 » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 4:23 pm

x9200 wrote: The main legal restriction is for the agent not to represent both parties. I am not aware of anything that could prevent the LL or the tenant to hire as many agents as they want. In practice it still works via the old scheme so both agents are paid (here) by the LL and this is more about the agreement between the agents as the LL still pays the same money.
Ah I see. I suppose the only possible downside is that you have an agent (well, two) earning half what they might if it had have been let under more orthodox means. But if it works out it is certainly a bonus.

p.s. west2east. That's right! Man the barricades and fight those bastards! We're all behind you. Please do keep us updated!!

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Post by JR8 » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 4:25 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote: Yeah, doctors & lawyers. And you mention that their costs haven't gone up? how do you figure? GCI indices indicate otherwise.
I couldn't be bothered even trying. Maybe the jousting at windmills emo should be added to the quicklist on the left? :)

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Post by west2east » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 5:32 pm

Yeah, doctors & lawyers. And you mention that their costs haven't gone up? how do you figure? CPI indices indicate otherwise.
10 years ago, the real estate industry was held over a barrel by newspaper advertising costs. They also had to hire a secretary to handle visitors when they were out of the office.

Today, they have cheaper internet advertising, and they don't even have offices, just mobile phones.

So, the costs for the letting agent industry have nothing to do with CPI, they have benefited from technological change - but continued charging the same fees.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 6:02 pm

You missed the point. They have their own living costs as well. I'm not talking about operating as an agent cost.
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 west2east » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 6:33 pm

We all know the living costs for a local living in a HDB and getting local prices for their lunch and cigarettes are well below the profit that these people earn just letting one flat per month.

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JR8
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Post by JR8 » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 6:43 pm

FFS, don't engage an agent then. It is not like you have to!

That will also allow you to channel your apparent foaming anger into something more productive.

Crikey, you haven't even got to SG yet. WTH are you going to be like after a month there.... hehehe...

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Post by sallyanne.uk » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 7:39 pm

I'm really bewildered by this too. People really scoff at paying more than about £200 to an agent in the UK, paying a month's rent could be like paying £2,000 for many of the nicer apartments are $4,000 or more per month.

Do companies normally pay these fees for the foreign workers, is that why the fees are so high?

Or do the agents in Singapore really work hard and find the flat for you?

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Post by JR8 » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 7:43 pm

I'm bewildered by why you think the SG market and practice should be just like it is back home.


p.s. Be grateful you're not off to Tokyo where above a months agent's comm, you have to pay 1-3 months 'key money' as well...



pps Sallyanne, you're Eastmeetswest's squeeze right?

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Post by zzm9980 » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 8:24 pm

JR8 wrote:
Crikey, you haven't even got to SG yet. WTH are you going to be like after a month there.... hehehe...
I hope he doesn't try to buy fruit at the wet market.

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Post by nakatago » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 10:12 pm

sallyanne.uk wrote:Or do the agents in Singapore really work hard and find the flat for you?
and I'm the King of the island nation of Madripoor.
"A quokka is what would happen if there was an anime about kangaroos."

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 10:42 pm

sallyanne.uk wrote:I'm really bewildered by this too. People really scoff at paying more than about £200 to an agent in the UK, paying a month's rent could be like paying £2,000 for many of the nicer apartments are $4,000 or more per month.

Do companies normally pay these fees for the foreign workers, is that why the fees are so high?

Or do the agents in Singapore really work hard and find the flat for you?
Let's put it into one& two syllable terms so maybe both of you will understand it.....

Limited space. Captive market. High rent. Not UK, Singapore. Different. You, on other hand, limited visa. High salary. You pay. Or, you find and do on your own. Your choice. Or, you stay in UK.

On the other hand, a bricklayer on carpenter makes a good living in the UK I'll wager. Here they might make 800/mo. Different country mate, different country.
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 JR8 » Fri, 15 Jun 2012 2:15 am

During the heady boom years of 1988-1990 contractors wages sparked the comedian Harry Enfield to create a character, a plasterer, called 'Loadsamoney'.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON-7v4qnHP8

Still, I can't say I've heard of any SGns here complaining a decent London contractor's baseline is going to be $500 a day...

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Post by NorrinRadd » Sat, 16 Jun 2012 11:01 am

A bit of a digression but this thread is as good as any or starting a new one, the posters here may benefit.

We've just started looking. After all the talk of rents coming down, not so sure that's happened and / or that our flat will not go up in price another 12.5% like it did when we renewed our lease 2 years ago.

A lot of people here are fed up with the rising prices, and there are cheaper places to be had.


I was originally thinking to try an negotiate the price back down to where it was 2 years ago, as I know a) some people are now doing this, and b) I'm ready to just find a cheaper place, as I know of more than a few who have done this and are living in similar places paying 1.5k less than we are.

So here's a few rent-related discussion points:

1. A new agent we're considering working with knows from the missus that we have multiple agents (she shouldn't have let that out). The agent said she wants us to only with with her, otherwise, will charge $50 a half-day for viewing, $100 a whole day - if she finds us a flat she will return the $. First time I've ever heard this ploy.

"yeah right" on both accounts

2. She also suggested we ask our current agent, who landed us this flat, to advise the LL that we want to get another 2-year contract at the current rate.


3. She also suggested if the LL doesn't go for the current rate, to request a 3-, 4-month extension at the current rate, as by that time the market is a renter's market.

Unlikely, I would think.


There's more, this is a start.

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