Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Other Dirty Tricks Some Agents Play

Source : The Sunday Times, Feb 8, 2009


Co-broking is when more than one agent is involved in a property transaction - for example, if one agent introduces a buyer to another agent.

Because the commission from a co-brokered sale will have to be shared, some agents may refuse to meet or follow up on clients from other agents, to avoid splitting up their commission.

'This prevents a client's property from getting maximum exposure and is not in his best interests.

'To see if this is the case, clients can call their agent from an unknown number, pretend to be another agent, and see what they say,' said Mr Mohamed Ismail, chief executive officer of PropNex.


'Some agents tell sellers they have a ready buyer for a very high price so that sellers will appoint them exclusively for a period of time,' said Ms Florence Choo, a real estate agent in her 50s.

'It may then turn out they did not actually have a ready buyer, and sellers may be forced to settle for a lower price as they cannot hold on to the property any longer.'


Agents should work for only one company, but some carry more than one name card - that is, they get to access more than one firm's client listings.

Because different agencies have different pay structures, such an agent may take a client under one agency's listing but close the deal under another agency which pays him better.

In such a situation, the client may not suffer a loss but the affected property firm gets the bum rap.


Hijacking refers to an agent going behind another agent's back and stealing his clients by promising them a better deal and urging the clients to sign with him instead.

'It's really not nice and unethical of some agents to approach the seller on their own without notifying the original agent and stealing their client,' said Ms Susan Lim, 28, a property agent.

This is an example of the cut-throat competition among property agents.

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