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For Home Sellers and Landlords: DIY or Engage Property Agent

Buying, selling, renting, and leasing a home can be tricky, but it hasn’t stopped many transactors from doing it themselves. Indeed, living in the digital age has rendered the property transaction process as easy as swiping right on a dating site to find a match. It’s no wonder DIY property transactions are gaining popularity. But other than cutting the cost of agents’ commission, is it wise for the regular property transactor to DIY? Or does engaging a property agent still hold merit in this technologically-advanced time? 

An overview of the benefits of DIY property transactions

A property portal such as the one Ohmyhome offers has made buying, selling, and renting a property foolproof; a series of clicks can bring you closer to your dream home. 

For example, their ‘ShoutOut’ feature allows buyers, sellers, tenants, and landlords to cut out the middleman and communicate with each other directly. Buyers and tenants only need to input their needs, such as budget, location, home size, into the system to be matched with a selection of listings that match their requirements. Meanwhile, sellers and landlords can view the ShoutOuts and suggest their listing and begin a conversation; to make a sale or lease out their property. Of course, home seekers can browse posted listings on the app and site, and contact the owner when they find a property in which they’re interested. Another great thing about Ohmyhome, in this case, is you won’t have to pay a subscription or registration fee to list your property. You don’t even have to be a registered real estate salesperson, a condition you have to meet to use a portal such as PropertyGuru or 99.co.

Apart from the self-help home search online through property portals, market trend reports, home valuations and other data are now much more accessible as the government and other sources provide it for free. This makes pricing extremely transparent and credible. 

However, the cost-saving aspect of a DIY transaction might be the primary reason why sellers and landlords do not engage property agents. Saving on 2% of an agent’s commission could mean you can maximise your gains as a seller or landlord. 

But is buying, selling, or renting a home really that easy?

If transacting a property was that easy, why are real estate agencies filled to the brim with salespersons closing multiple deals every month? Their success in transacting properties is testament to the persisting need of property transactors needing the help and guidance of real estate agents—professionals who had to earn their credentials to practice property advisory. In Singapore, the Real Estate Salesperson (RES) examinations are long and difficult, so much so that passing it—and receiving their license, as a result—is akin to receiving a miracle from God. 

Buying, selling, or renting a home is not a simple property transaction. They require financial and investment savvy to reap the benefits of such a high-stakes life decision. Before you decide to DIY your property transaction:

  • A property agent has in-depth knowledge of properties 
  • They are experienced sales professionals
  • Personalised home recommendations

1. A property agent has in-depth knowledge of properties 

To become a licensed and practising property agent in Singapore, one would need to dedicate a significant amount of time to studying the ins and outs of real estate. More importantly, one would need to pass the numerous and difficult rounds of real estate salesperson exams. This long and arduous process assures you that the agent facilitating the sale of your home (which will probably be one of the most valuable and expensive assets you own) is reliable and capable of doing so.

Though you can research the rental rates and prices in your neighbourhood, agents have the skills and wherewithal to know critical factors about property owners and their houses. They can also inform you on details such as how long a unit has been on the market and other, newly-available units that may not be listed online yet. 

Property agents will also have access to platforms you might not have as a DIY transactor, which could seriously limit your listing exposure and visibility. In turn, the potential offers you could receive. For example, property portals such as PropertyGuru and 99.co only allow registered real estate salespersons to post a listing on their website and app, and they require a subscription fee. Only Ohmyhome allows all users to use their website and app for free. With an agent, you can maximise their marketing channels to reach more potential home seekers. 

You can also expect your agents to go through your home’s estimated valuation, providing you with an unbiased assessment of your selling price and analysis of the market trend that could help with negotiations later on. Even if you can get a home valuation report online, you still need to analyse it, which might not be easy for first-timers.

Not to mention, agents can also help you with the necessary financial calculations: Do you have outstanding loans? Would you need to pay any stamp duties? How much can you loan from the bank or the HDB? What are your expected cash proceeds? They’ll ensure that you cover all the bases, so you don’t make an expensive mistake. 

They can also help you with timeline planning, such as when you should start moving, when buyers or tenants can move in, etc. 

2. Personalised home recommendations

If you’re looking to buy or rent a home, one of the main services a property agent can provide you with is to find a place that matches your requirements. Through personal conversations with you, they can understand your needs and goals, and pick out the ideal home for you regarding your budget, preference of location and house size, etc. 

If you already have a specific unit in mind, your agents can expertly speed up the documentation process. Doing paperwork can be a tad bothersome, especially when you have to take care of your family and children, or finish work. Having an agent to help you in that regard might be worth paying the agent’s commission if it can bring you closer to getting the home that you love while staying stress-free. 

Plus, they will also have their own database of buyers and tenants or tap on his fellow agents’ database to help you find the right match. 

3. They are experienced sales professionals

When selling or leasing out a home, staging it for photographs is an influential factor. Presenting your home as beautifully as possible can help you score the right buyer or tenant. As such, your real estate agent can expertly guide you on which rooms to declutter; there’s definitely more behind Fittings, Furnishing & Equipment (FF&E), but property agents will at least learn the basic rules. 

More importantly, they can help you with price negotiations as you might be too shy to negotiate prices and conditions, but you can trust that your agent won’t be. As agents are trained and experienced in navigating hard and awkward discussions about money, they can ensure you’re not getting lowballed or mistreated in any way or at any point of your transaction journey. 

Engaging a property agent is still the safer option when it comes to handling an asset such as real estate, but it is still your decision to make at the end of the day. Just remember to remember the three factors before you fully move forward with your property transaction.

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