How to rent and not use an agent? And how to Negotiate?

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Pennywhistle
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How to rent and not use an agent? And how to Negotiate?

Post by Pennywhistle » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 1:15 pm

I hope this makes sense, please forgive me if it doesn't! I have read many posts on how you don't need to engage an agent to find a rental property so as not to pay the 'finders' fee as such, and that it's best to rent via the landlords agent.

I guess what I want to know is, are the properties listed on 'major Singapore real estate sites' listed by the landlords themselves or agents employed by the landlords. And how do I tell the difference between the two?

Second, would you advise to rent directly through a landlord? I am very interested in a 3 bed condo located near Haw Par MRT and can't figure out who to deal with!

Finally, rent negotiation. The whole process of haggling / negotiating is really foreign to me and something I feel uncomfortable doing. But it seems to be an expected process and one that I would be silly not to engage in. Just as an example. If a property is listed for $7000 rental, what could I reasonably assume I could rent it for. Any help greatly appreciated.

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Post by AngMoG » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 5:30 pm

There are other posts on this, so using the search function would be recommended.

In general, the ads in the major property sites are put there by owner's agents. That of course means they represent the owner's interests and not yours, and it is the owner who has to pay them; they are not allowed to get paid by both sides under the current rules.

Many agents are generally useless, but since most properties are listed by agents, you will probably not have much of a choice. In my experience, the room for negotiation is not very big, but I would assume that the more expensive a property is, the more wiggle room you have. Take note though that many owners would rather leave a place empty than have it rented below their rental expectations.

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Post by Pal » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 5:37 pm

There are ads posted by owners at our property Section:
http://property.singaporeexpats.com/
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Pennywhistle
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Post by Pennywhistle » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 6:39 pm

Thanks for the link! Will have a look.

Thanks for the advice Angmok. I am a SUPER novice at navigating forums and when I do search I seem to get lots of answers that aren't quite fitting my question. I might just be doing it wrong! Yes, I had read about the landlords agent and not having to pay a fee (which of course is ideal!). But I also read that sometimes the online property websites advertise a property but it isn't actually available and only tell you when they meet you on site and then want to take you around and show you other rentals. It's all so confusing and little bit daunting. I might only be picking the worst of the worst case scenarios, and I don't want to go into the rental process not trusting anyone but on the other hand I am terrified to get burnt when we are talking fairly large sums of money. It also amazes me that landlords would rather a vacant home (i'm assuming they have a mortgage to pay!) and not move in what they are asking to wait for the right amount.

The stress involved in trying to locate a place that will be family friendly (8 month old daughter), somewhere that is accessible to my husbands work via MRT, and somewhere that I won't go stir crazy and can still feel like an active and contributing member of the community are compounded by the awful things I have read on here about Estate Agents.**Sigh**

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 8:21 pm

Don't look at any property that is listed on a property agents site. All of those will be handled by an agent looking for a client (you). You should be looking a portals (like this one) and individual advertisements (most will usually say offered by owner). If you call them up and they say they will try to get an appointment to view, forget it, they are agents looking for a client as well. Usually the owner will identify themselves if they are, in fact owner offered.
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 livingontheedge » Sat, 07 Sep 2013 1:17 am

Whether the adv was listed by an agent or landlord doesn't really matter much. Your concern is that you want to avoid the agent fees, or as you put it, the finders fee. Generally those advs posted by landlords or agents would state "NO AGENT FEES" or "DIRECT FROM LANDLORD/OWNER". So you would know these are the accomodations you could rent without having to pay the agent fees.

Rent negotation - in Singapore, for those "good" units, there is no rent negotation by the prospective tenant. It's up to offer by the landlord and they will hardly ever need to or would negotiate down their offer. It's either they offer you a rental lower than that advertised or not, but it definitely won't be up to you and your negotiation skills wouldn't matter, considering the influx of foreigners into Singapore and the quick turnover of rental units.

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Post by Mi Amigo » Sat, 07 Sep 2013 8:13 am

livingontheedge wrote:Whether the adv was listed by an agent or landlord doesn't really matter much. Your concern is that you want to avoid the agent fees, or as you put it, the finders fee. Generally those advs posted by landlords or agents would state "NO AGENT FEES" or "DIRECT FROM LANDLORD/OWNER". So you would know these are the accomodations you could rent without having to pay the agent fees.
Even for adverts posted by agents you should be able to avoid paying any fees, given that the agent is acting for the landlord, not the (prosepective) tenant. I state this as someone who has done that in the past.
livingontheedge wrote:Rent negotation - in Singapore, for those "good" units, there is no rent negotation by the prospective tenant. It's up to offer by the landlord and they will hardly ever need to or would negotiate down their offer. It's either they offer you a rental lower than that advertised or not, but it definitely won't be up to you and your negotiation skills wouldn't matter, considering the influx of foreigners into Singapore and the quick turnover of rental units.
I have to disagree fundamentally with the above statement. IMO (and in my experience) it is a gross misrepresentation of how the residential rental market works here. We have always negotiated on the rent, by offering a lower amount, and have never paid the rent at which a unit was advertised. There may still be an 'influx' of foreigners, but with the gahmen's repeated tightening of EP / PR conditions this is almost certainly at a lower rate than before. This plus the fact that foreigners are also leaving, and the many new rental units coming onto the market, makes it likely that rents will continue to soften and the scope for negotiation will increase.
Be careful what you wish for

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Post by Pennywhistle » Mon, 09 Sep 2013 7:58 am

Thank you all once again for your replies. I think I am getting the general gist of the process which is very helpful. I am starting to check out this webpage and craigslist and gumtree. (Feels kind of weird and unofficial! A bit like going to ebay to find a rental!)

Mi Amigo : You sound very experienced in terms of rental! Thanks for the reassurance that I should be negotiating (or try to). If you could offer any advice on previous experience and what is reasonable in terms of % for rental rate movement that would be great just as a basis to work from in the future and not look like a complete idiot or insult anybody, and also to make sure I do the best for us at the same time.

Thanks again.

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Post by Chasinsin » Fri, 13 Sep 2013 11:11 am

I just recently moved here and rented a condo. I found this forum very helpful.

You definitely can and should negotiate! You can negotiate the rent and the furnishings as well. For example, I negotiated 10% off the listed price and some new furniture for the place I rented. I got a sense from all the places I viewed, that they were quite motivated to rent to me and the turnover of rental units is not as strong some may have you believe.

I initially tried to find a unit myself, which is what I've always been used to doing elsewhere. I contacted six listings on one of the property sites. Two of them were with agents actually representing the owner and not looking for a commission from me and the rest appeared to be agents just trolling for clients. You can find places on your own without paying commission. You just need to be very clear about it and ask whether you need to pay commission before wasting your time going to a viewing which happened to me.

I did end up using an agent that a colleague recommended. I had the agent send me a list of the condos he will be showing me based on what I wanted. I researched on the property sites each condo to get an idea on other rentals and listed rents available in them. You can also see all the past rent transactions for every private condo on a government website which is helpful for negotiating. I did find using an agent convenient and less of a hassle. He drove me around, showed me condos in areas I didn't think to consider, did the negotiating with the owner, came to my office for all the signing of documents and payments and also switched all the utilities to me. I personally found value in using an agent.

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Post by Max Headroom » Fri, 13 Sep 2013 11:58 am

^ This.

Your post is the whole agent/no agent issue in a nutshell.

If you like the convenience of an agent, because you prefer to get stuck into your new job a-sap, rather than having to deal with the potentially protracted hassle of securing a suitable home for your waiting-in-the-wings family, and you have the budget for added value in the agent's know-how and skill, then use an agent.

If you've done this sort of relocating thing plenty of times on your own and you have lots of time, a more modest relocation budget and no wife and kids eager to settle in, then go it alone and save the "finder's" fee.

But in the second case, be prepared for a fair amount of hands-on stuff at all stages of your tenancy, including after the lease has expired.

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