Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Estate agent may have breached ethical code if…

I REFER to Mr Roger Tan’s Forum Online letter yesterday, ‘Agents trustworthy? Take it with a pinch of salt’.

We thank Mr Tan for sharing his encounter with a property agent. We agree that the agent should have explained to Mr Tan clearly why he was not given the Option to Purchase. The service lapse or misunderstanding could have been avoided.

It would appear from Mr Tan’s version of the incident that it was the seller’s appointed agent he negotiated with. While Mr Tan might have confirmed the sale price he was prepared to pay with the agent, he had not given the 1 per cent option money yet and no contract had been entered upon.

One likelihood is that the seller’s agent might still have been trying to obtain the best possible sale price for his client by showing other prospective buyers before consolidating all offers for his client’s consideration. There were at the same time instances when, unlike Mr Tan, buyers did not turn up to pay the 1 per cent option money as agreed and other potential buyers were turned away in the interim at the expense of sellers. It is also the seller’s prerogative to decide finally on the sale.

The agent would have breached the ethical code if he had explicitly stated that Mr Tan’s offer to his client would be presented only upon the latter’s agreement to pay him a commission. Should this have arisen, he could be acting in dual representation and in conflict of interest with his seller-client. Or if the agent had concealed any offers to his client, he would also be acting unethically.

For alleged misconduct, Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies is prepared to probe and initiate disciplinary proceedings if the agent is accredited or the agency he works with is accredited, and the seller-client comes forward to lodge a complaint with Mr Tan.

Dr Tan Tee Khoon
Chief Executive Officer
Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies

Source: Straits Times, 9 Mar 2010

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