PHOTO: PEXELS/ANDREA PIACQUADIO
Whilst it’s common practice to engage a licensed agent for your property-related transactions, it’s technically not a must-do in Singapore. In fact, there’s a growing number of savvy homeowners or landlords who have gone down the less-trodden DIY route, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Is a property agent really necessary, then? Well, it depends. Whilst buying, selling or renting a property may sound straightforward enough, there are plenty of things that go on behind the scenes to make a transaction successful. So consider these five things before you take the plunge to DIY or enlist the services of an experienced property agent with the necessary knowledge and experience.
From doing your own research to listing your own property and arranging for viewings, the entire process can be terribly time-consuming, and we haven’t even gotten to the mind-boggling amount of paperwork involved. So if you’re thinking of skipping the agent, do factor in the time and amount of liaising and coordination required for the entire process - it will take close to half a year to complete at the very least.
2. Understanding the market
Beyond saying “I Do” to the right price or home is a whole lot of market research. How well do you understand the market prices and sentiment today, and especially for the area or project you are keen on? Whilst you can browse online property portals and search online for information, it’s definitely not an easy task to make sense of everything. A competent property agent, on the other hand, will be able to help paint a clearer picture, clear any doubts and help you make an informed decision by drawing on historical data, trends and more. And if you are a buyer, you may even gain privy to insider information from your agent on upcoming developments that’s not known to the general public yet.
3. Timeline planning
For most homeowners, it’s common to let go of their current property before or after purchasing a new one. However, planning out the timeline is not as simple as it looks, especially if the other party has requested for extensions or if loans have not been approved in time for the transaction to go through. And should things mess up, you may very well end up in limbo without a place to stay for weeks or even months. For independent buyers or sellers, this is a tightrope you’ll have to strike a careful balance on.
Needless to say, there’s plenty of paperwork involved, from the Option to Purchase to conveyancing fees and more. If you’re planning to DIY, you’ll want to be familiar with the specialised laws and regulations, as well as what should and should not be included in the relevant contracts and agreements. Many tenants, for example, often get the short end of the stick because they weren’t aware of what they should look out for in their contract with the landlord. Should you engage a property agent, on the other hand, he or she will be able to guide you through the entire process and explain the clauses in each document thoroughly. After all, you’ll want to understand what you’re signing on the dotted line for.
Have you thought about how you will be financing your upcoming purchase? For example, will you be taking a HDB or bank loan, or using funds from your Central Provident Funds (CPF) account? Or would you need an In-Principle Approval from banks before going ahead with your purchase? If you’ve figured it all out, good for you. Otherwise, an agent will be able to point you in the right direction and assist you with financial planning - especially for cases that are less straightforward. For instance, should you fully flush out the funds from your CPF account to reduce the loan amount? Or if you’ve taken a HDB loan, would it make financial sense to take another?