Tech tools behind increase in people willing to hire property agent

According to the latest survey by the Council for Estate Agencies, 72 per cent of the public say they plan to engage one for future transactions. This is up from 60 per cent in the last such survey in 2015.
According to the latest survey by the Council for Estate Agencies, 72 per cent of the public say they plan to engage one for future transactions. This is up from 60 per cent in the last such survey in 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Property agents are back in fashion, according to the latest survey by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), with 72 per cent of the public saying they plan to engage one for future transactions.

This is up from 60 per cent in the last such survey in 2015 and and 66 per cent in the previous one in 2012.

Minister of State for National Development Zaqy Mohamad pointed to technology and other productivity pushes - ramped up over the last year under the Real Estate Industry Transformation Map (ITM) - as one reason for increased customer satisfaction.

He noted that customers whose agents used three or more tech tools, such as apps with pricing calculators and electronic forms, were more likely to be satisfied.

Also, the proportion of consumers who found their agent online has increased from less than 20 per cent, to about a quarter.

"Consumers have spoken - they want the convenience provided by technological tools, and the ability to search for their agents online. This trend is likely to continue and we will all need to adjust accordingly to meet the expectations of consumers," he said.

Mr Zaqy was speaking at the CEA's inaugural real estate agency industry conference on Tuesday (March 26), which was attended by 500 key executive officers and team leaders from the property sector.

 
 

The CEA conducted its third public perception survey between May and July last year, interviewing 1,529 customers and potential customers - meaning those who have not engaged the services of property agents before.

Mr Zaqy also shared how the authorities are facilitating technological adoption, training agents and enhancing consumer trust as part of the ITM.

One change is to the Continuing Professional Development framework, which helps agents to stay relevant.

Currently, agents must take six courses a year to renew their licences, of which three must be professional courses, such as those related to real estate laws and regulations.

From October 1, this will increase to four professional courses, and two courses to improve softer skills like creative thinking and communication.

Another change in the pipelines is a standard contract template for the resale of private residential properties, after a successful run with a template for renting homes, said Mr Zaqy.

" Consumers, whether tenant or landlord, buyer or seller, who use these templates can be assured that their interests are protected," he said. "Agents using these templates will also benefit from spending less time negotiating contractual terms and conditions."