Following the announcement of a new guide yesterday by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), online reviews of property agents can now be standardised throughout the real estate industry in Singapore.
Previously, the criteria for customer reviews were established by real estate companies, although the guide seeks to implement standardized standards, such as the main qualities for which agents can be assessed.
The ratings would now represent whether an agent offered services beyond and above the standards of the customer, such as utilizing digital calculators, and whether the agent was transparent , fair and trustworthy, and had the expertise required to promote his client’s beneficial offer.
Yesterday, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister and the Tan Kiat How, Ministry of National Development (MND) said standardization is a crucial move to help customers locate appropriate agents as they check online.
“We will ensure the comparisons are realistic, credible and compatible around the board with certain main categories in place and a standard method of measuring, gathering and presenting these qualities,” he said.
In order to avoid fake scores, the guide also provides suggested protections to check the validity of a contract and the identity of the customer, said Mr Tan.
This project is part of the transition chart of the real estate sector that MND and CEA introduced in 2018.
It is produced by the Workgroup Ratings of Property Agents in collaboration with key players in the real estate agency, customer association and property platform industries.
Along with the Singapore Estate Agents Association and property platform PropertyGuru, three property agencies Huttons Asia, ERA Realty Network, OrangeTee & Tie and-have committed to embracing the guide.
Around 80 per cent of property agents in the sector are covered by them.
Mr Tan said yesterday that the buying of property is always the greatest financial undertaking for many Singaporeans and that agents can remind buyers before agreeing to sales to determine their financial circumstances.
While the industry is finding innovative avenues to sell properties and meet buyers digitally, we must continue to pay careful attention to ensuring that the guidance given is correct, calculated and takes the overall economic outlook into account, “said Mr Tan.”
The number of lawsuits against property agencies and agents has decreased from 1,170 cases in 2011 to 777 last year after the CEA was formed as a regulatory board under the MND in October 2010.
This is an outstanding chance for the sector to be more progressive and resilient, and CEA would be more willing to work with property agencies and industry groups to further change the industry, “said CEA Executive Director Lim Chee Hwee.”
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