The Straits Times
Published on Dec 24, 2012

Why property brokers deserve their commissions


A REAL estate salesman does not merely assist clients to "fill in forms and submit them" ("Pay property agents a fee, not commission" by Mr N. Nagesh; Dec 16).

He would not have undergone the mandatory Real Estate Salesperson course and entry examination to perform a mere clerical function.

As a registered salesman, he ought to possess the necessary competence to assist his client in the sale, purchase or lease of a property. In this regard, he would have to, among other things:

>>Obtain information of the property or requirements in relation to sourcing for a property from the client;

>>Market or source for the property with reasonable diligence in accordance with the client's reasonable instructions. Unless otherwise agreed to in writing, such marketing or sourcing activities shall be at his cost;

>>Arrange for property viewings;

>>Provide reasonable assistance and advice to the client throughout the process of sale, purchase or lease;

>>Represent the client in negotiations with any prospective interested parties in accordance with his instructions;

>>Promptly forward to the client all offers, proposals or expressions of interest from interested parties or their agents;

>>Advance the client's interest, unaffected by any interest of the Estate Agent, Salesperson or any other person;

>>Assist the client to enter into a binding agreement and reasonably explain to the client all relevant forms and documents; and

>>Comply with all reasonable instructions and requests of the client in relation to the transaction.

In addition, for HDB properties, the real estate salesman shall also:

>>Advise the client on the eligibility to sell or purchase a HDB flat;

>>Explain and go through the resale checklist with the client of the HDB flat and check on whether the renovations made were duly authorised; and

>>Assist the client as may be required by HDB to process the application for sale or purchase.

In fact, the expected duties of the real estate salesman have been clearly spelt out in the regulator's prescribed estate agency agreements.

He is professionally accountable to his client for the discharge of his duties, failing which he would be held responsible.

As such, the real estate salesman's remuneration should not be construed as an administrative fee.

The consumer has the absolute liberty to decide if he requires the services of a real estate salesman. Should he choose to appoint one, it is only right for him to arrive at an agreed commission with the salesman.

Tan Tee Khoon (Dr)