Friday, July 17, 2009

Plans underway to ensure property agents have proper accreditation by year-end

Plans are underway to ensure that all property agents in Singapore have proper accreditation by the end of this year.

According to the Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies (SAEA), it is working with the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to equip more agents with a formal certification.

Out of 30,000 property agents in Singapore, only about 6,000 have sat for exams.

The SAEA plans to introduce an entry-level certification for property agents called the Common Examination for Salespersons.

Under the plan, WDA will subsidise 80 to 90 percent of the course fee until the end of the year.
According to the SAEA, the move is in response to the increasing number of consumer complaints against property agents.

Tan Tee Khoon, CEO, Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies, said: “It calls for the industry to re-look the accreditation of agents. At one time maybe they felt that there was no need for it, because the public is well informed, they know what they are doing and therefore they can fend for themselves.

“But in reality, if we look at the number of scams that have taken place, the consumers need some form of protection. They need to be aware and they need to know that there is an accreditation body that they can deal with. And they also need to know that dealing with accredited agents gives them a sense of security.”

But Dr Tan admitted that without laws in place, the body does not have the power to penalise agents if they still do not want to get accredited.

He said that SAEA is pushing for such laws to be implemented, following the government’s decision earlier this year to undertake a review of the real estate industry, including agent qualifications and training standards.

For agents who want to go further than getting basic accreditation, SAEA has teamed up with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to offer a diploma course in Real Estate Marketing.

The course will begin in the fourth quarter of the year and SAEA is seeking funding support from the government to subsidise the fees.

Consumers can now file complaints against property agents via email, and once their complaint is received, they will be assigned a duty officer, who will take charge of the case and whom they can contact for queries and updates.

The SAEA is a body representing the major property agencies in Singapore.

Source: Channel News Asia, 17 July 2009

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