Singapore Expats Forum

flat hunting without agent = mission possible?

Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.

Sponsored by:
Image
AE Logistics - Movers & Storage

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Sun, 05 May 2013 3:42 pm

zzm9980 wrote:In Japan, I've heard stories of 'key money' in the range of several months rent. This was years ago though. Is that no longer in practice?


That goes to the landlord, rather than the agent:


From Wikipedia:

'In Japan, reikin (礼金?, literally, "gratitude money") is a mandatory payment to the landlord that is often the same amount as the original deposit (shikikin). However, reikin can be the equivalent of six months (or more) of rent, but is typically the same as one to three months of rent. This money is considered a gift to the landlord and is not returned after the lease is canceled.

In recent years, an increasing number of landlords and real estate agencies have begun to offer reikin-free rental housing.'

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 05 May 2013 5:32 pm

JR8 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:In Japan, I've heard stories of 'key money' in the range of several months rent. This was years ago though. Is that no longer in practice?


That goes to the landlord, rather than the agent:


From Wikipedia:

'In Japan, reikin (礼金?, literally, "gratitude money") is a mandatory payment to the landlord that is often the same amount as the original deposit (shikikin). However, reikin can be the equivalent of six months (or more) of rent, but is typically the same as one to three months of rent. This money is considered a gift to the landlord and is not returned after the lease is canceled.

In recent years, an increasing number of landlords and real estate agencies have begun to offer reikin-free rental housing.'


So does the market account for this 'gift' and are rents appropriately lower? (Or should i assume, higher if this gift isn't required?)

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Sun, 05 May 2013 6:08 pm

zzm9980 wrote:So does the market account for this 'gift' and are rents appropriately lower? (Or should i assume, higher if this gift isn't required?)


My recollection is that it is rather invisible. If you're on an expat relo you're not paying it anyway... your HR will, and will have briefed their agent in what way to deal with such things.

I don't recall it impacting rent up or down, it is more simply a parallel 'gift'... but, one that is demanded.

User avatar
Brah
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1956
Joined: Sat, 18 Dec 2010

Postby Brah » Sun, 05 May 2013 9:27 pm

zzm9980 wrote:
JR8 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:In Japan, I've heard stories of 'key money' in the range of several months rent. This was years ago though. Is that no longer in practice?


That goes to the landlord, rather than the agent:

From Wikipedia:

'In Japan, reikin (礼金?, literally, "gratitude money") is a mandatory payment to the landlord that is often the same amount as the original deposit (shikikin). However, reikin can be the equivalent of six months (or more) of rent, but is typically the same as one to three months of rent. This money is considered a gift to the landlord and is not returned after the lease is canceled.

In recent years, an increasing number of landlords and real estate agencies have begun to offer reikin-free rental housing.'


So does the market account for this 'gift' and are rents appropriately lower? (Or should i assume, higher if this gift isn't required?)

The market has softened, rents are lower, key money is almost unheard of of late, shiki-kin is usually the same as before but sometime less months than before, but what some landlords are doing is keep the rent at a certain level and giving a few months rent-free. It's a buyer's market.

Back in the day companies would cover the shiki-kin (but you were liable for it) and banks would pay your rent out of your salary pre-tax. Sure wish they'd do that here. Plus in Japan your commutation is paid for.

Reikin is usually a month's rent.

amarettoSour
Regular
Regular
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed, 21 Oct 2009

Postby amarettoSour » Mon, 06 May 2013 11:09 pm

I got my current apartment without paying agent's fee. Like what has been mentioned here, we looked through all ads and viewed 5-6 places.

The trick is also knowing that one agent cannot represent both side (cant be both owner's agent and tenant's agent). If it's you doing all the work and finding the listing on your own, then whatever agent posting the listing is not YOUR agent, but the owner's. so the agent fee should come from the owner.

If you go to a viewing and two agent shows up, be clear that you are not represented by anyone. I had two agents pull this on me and expecting me to pay her agent fee when i was the one who contacted her about a listing (she didnt show me other places!). Thankfully we didn't get that apartment and i learned better

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Wed, 08 May 2013 9:41 pm

Me thinks a warning flare has just gone up.

Hopefully it proves equally illuminating for all.

janiceliu88
Member
Member
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat, 11 May 2013

Postby janiceliu88 » Sat, 11 May 2013 11:10 pm

It's possible, but I'd only recommend it if you have quite a bit of time to look for a place. If you want to see viewings that aren't a waste of time getting an agent is the best way to do it, and while yes, a month's rent is significant, it also means that if you have any issues with the landlord later (re deposit, deductible claims that are lies, etc etc) the agent will settle it and you're less likely to end up screwed over. Also, you'll be able to find a place relatively quickly, which in my opinion is important.

AngMoG
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed, 17 Apr 2013

Postby AngMoG » Sun, 12 May 2013 12:19 pm

janiceliu88 wrote:It's possible, but I'd only recommend it if you have quite a bit of time to look for a place. If you want to see viewings that aren't a waste of time getting an agent is the best way to do it, and while yes, a month's rent is significant, it also means that if you have any issues with the landlord later (re deposit, deductible claims that are lies, etc etc) the agent will settle it and you're less likely to end up screwed over. Also, you'll be able to find a place relatively quickly, which in my opinion is important.


You would have to get one of the handful of good/competent agents to make it worth your while to get an agent on your (the tenant's) side that you pay 1/2 to 1 month's rent to. Odds are against you.

I think dealing with the owner's agent, and educating yourself a bit, is a much better use of money and time... ;)

Makingthemove
Regular
Regular
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon, 05 Mar 2012
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby Makingthemove » Mon, 13 May 2013 11:30 am

Can, but only with a lot of footwork. Husband did this on initial fortnight over here while we were back in UK. Spent every evening after work scanning small ads in newspaper. Set up viewings to take place after work every day, and ALL day at weekends. Visited about 20 places with agents then agreed on an apartment and worked out the rent. We have a great agent and nice landlords - perhaps just lucky.

It is very possible but it's a job in itself.

katbh
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu, 04 Oct 2007
Location: Singapore

Postby katbh » Mon, 13 May 2013 11:39 am

If you are looking for a standard 2 year lease, you do not pay any fees. The landlord pays one month (or sometimes two months) rental to the agent for finding them a tenant. You pay nothing.
The process is -

You do a search on . or staits time or singaporeexpats.
You reply to an ad
The agent will show you this property and will run through any other properties that he/she thinks may suit you. You can then google the condos or the street address (or use the property sites) and you will see the faciilities that they offer, market rentals (ie what other advertisers are offering similar places for in the same condo) and can see how close they are to MRT, schools etc.
You enter into a LOI with a property you may be wanting and give a cheque for one month rent. At this time, you ask for anything you would like to be done. Usually a unit will be repainted before you go in but if necessary you can always try for a new kitchen, or built ins etc
If the lease goes ahead you pay 2 months as a bond and the cheque given at the LOI becomes your first month rent.
The Agent and the Landlord negotiate between themselves the fees that they pay. You pay nothing over and above your bond and rental.
For a one year lease, it is usual that you pay the fee (not the landlord) and you negotiate this with your agent. It is usually 1 months rental. Sometimes a landlord will pay the fee but it is not usual.
katbh

AngMoG
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed, 17 Apr 2013

Postby AngMoG » Mon, 13 May 2013 11:48 am

katbh wrote:For a one year lease, it is usual that you pay the fee (not the landlord) and you negotiate this with your agent. It is usually 1 months rental. Sometimes a landlord will pay the fee but it is not usual.

I do not know where this comes from. One year and two-year lease is the same regarding agent's fees: if you engaged the agent to look for a flat for you, you pay him. If it is the owner's agent (e.g., because you replied directly to an ad of his on .), the owner pays him. I recently moved, for a 6 month lease, and the agent was the owner's agent, thus paid by the owner.

katbh
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu, 04 Oct 2007
Location: Singapore

Postby katbh » Mon, 13 May 2013 12:02 pm

For rentals below SGD 2500, the tenant pays half a month’s rent for a one year lease and one month’s rent for a two year lease.
For rentals above SGD 2500, the tenant pays half a month’s rent for a one year lease; however for a two year lease, the agent does not collect any fee from the tenant and recovers all of the commission from the landlord.
katbh

AngMoG
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed, 17 Apr 2013

Postby AngMoG » Mon, 13 May 2013 12:53 pm

katbh wrote:For rentals below SGD 2500, the tenant pays half a month’s rent for a one year lease and one month’s rent for a two year lease.
For rentals above SGD 2500, the tenant pays half a month’s rent for a one year lease; however for a two year lease, the agent does not collect any fee from the tenant and recovers all of the commission from the landlord.


If an agent collects commission from both the landlord and the tenant, he is in breach of the law, and should be reported to the CEA. If he clearly represents the owner, but tries to collect commission from the agent, the same thing applies, but is sadly not as easily proven.

What you mention used to be the case before the reform of 2010, when dual representation was finally outlawed. Now, no matter how high the rental or how long the lease is, whether it is sale or rental, room, condo or HDB, the rules are very clear:
- If the agent represents the owner, the owner pays him/her (usually the case for any ads online or in newspapers that you reply to)
- If you engage an agent to represent you as a tenant, you pay him/her

katbh
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu, 04 Oct 2007
Location: Singapore

Postby katbh » Mon, 13 May 2013 1:01 pm

Basically (in my 11 moves in Singapore experience), It is either / or. Never both

Either you the tenant pay the agent OR the landlord pays the agent. I have never been in a situation where both pay. That would be a bluff and should be discouraged.

It has always been the practice (unless you have a bluffing agent) that only one party pays - the tenant or the landlord. Who paid was a matter for negotiation, but basically a low rental or short tenancy - the tenant paid (not the landlord). For normal tenancy and rental landlord paid.
If there were two agents, they would split the fee.

But of course there is plenty of opportunity for landlords in the know to bluff new expats. Also there is a tendency to shrug it off saying the 'employer pays' so does not matter to the tenant. As an employer...I object to this and will only do the standard.
katbh

janiceliu88
Member
Member
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat, 11 May 2013

Postby janiceliu88 » Tue, 14 May 2013 12:16 am

AngMoG wrote:
janiceliu88 wrote:It's possible, but I'd only recommend it if you have quite a bit of time to look for a place. If you want to see viewings that aren't a waste of time getting an agent is the best way to do it, and while yes, a month's rent is significant, it also means that if you have any issues with the landlord later (re deposit, deductible claims that are lies, etc etc) the agent will settle it and you're less likely to end up screwed over. Also, you'll be able to find a place relatively quickly, which in my opinion is important.


You would have to get one of the handful of good/competent agents to make it worth your while to get an agent on your (the tenant's) side that you pay 1/2 to 1 month's rent to. Odds are against you.

I think dealing with the owner's agent, and educating yourself a bit, is a much better use of money and time... ;)


I've actually been really lucky in my housing search and agents, then! But I can say this - take pictures of everything in case your landlord tries to forfeit your deposit on account of "damages" or "bad condition of house" or whatever - there are absolutely no tenant rights here


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Staying, Living in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests