Thursday, October 29, 2009

Barring same-agent property brokerage not practical

I REFER to last Saturday’s editorial, ‘The problem in same-agent property brokerage’.

While I welcome and support the Ministry of National Development’s draft plan to regulate real estate brokerage, including a radical suggestion to prohibit an agent from acting for both seller and buyer in HDB resale transactions, I doubt its effectiveness in practice.

It may delay resale transactions and result in lost opportunities. Besides, there is no guarantee that co-broking or unethical practice will be completely wiped out.

The trade rigidity will inconvenience both parties – the genuine sellers and buyers – as both sides will have to wait for suitable buyers and sellers to seal a transaction.

However, if win-win solutions can be found to expedite genuine transactions, there is no dispute that the public will favour a separation of agent functions.

The underlying or radical problem emerges from the greed and dishonesty of some agents who think only of securing maximum commission. Hence, if trade accreditation can be set up speedily to enforce stricter rules of licensing and censure, as well as ensuring that all agents pass the standardised examination and accreditation, then the image of the industry will improve. This will definitely boost public confidence and trust in the profession.

Most important, the industry’s accreditation board must set high ethical standards in its code of conduct and practice for the profession.

Teo Kueh Liang

Source: Straits Times, 29 Oct 2009

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