100G Pasir Panjang Rd #07-14, Lobby 2, Interlocal Centre, Singapore 118523

How to Get the Best Real Estate Agents in Singapore

If you're on the hunt for a rental property, you know how stressful it can be. But don't fret! With the help of a top-notch real estate agent, you can make the search a breeze. That's why we've put together this guide - to help you find the perfect fit and save time and money in the long run. Whether you're a seasoned tenant or a newbie landlord, we've got you covered with actionable tips and a beginner's guide. So sit back, relax, and let's get started!

2 men shaking hands

Getting started

Look, we've all been there - scouring the internet for hours on end, trying to find the perfect apartment or house to rent. It's a daunting task, and sometimes it feels like you'll never find the right place. That's where a good real estate agent comes in. Finding the right real estate agent can save you a ton of time and money in the long run. A good agent knows the market inside and out, and can help you find the best deals that you might not have found on your own. Plus, they can help you navigate the often-confusing rental process, from negotiating terms to signing the lease. So, how do you find the right real estate agent for you? It's all about doing your research. Look for agents with good reviews and a track record of success. Don't be afraid to ask for references or to interview several agents before making a decision. And remember, a good agent is someone you can trust - they're on your side and want to help you find the perfect place to call home.

A lady reading papers

First, list down what you need

Understanding your personal real estate goals and services you need from a real estate agent

Looking to rent a new home can be a daunting task, but by asking yourself the right questions, you can narrow down your search and find the perfect place to call your own. Start by thinking about what features are must-haves for you, such as the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, location, or amenities. Then, consider what you're willing to compromise on, such as proximity to public transportation or outdoor space. Don't forget to also factor in your budget and timeline for moving. By taking the time to reflect on these key points, you'll be better equipped to communicate your needs to a potential real estate agent and ultimately find the home that's right for you. If you are looking to rent a place, here are some top questions to ask yourself in order to identify your needs and preferences for your future home:

  1. What is my budget for rent and utilities?
  2. What is the ideal location for me, in terms of proximity to work, transportation, amenities, and community?
  3. What is the size of the home or apartment I need? How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
  4. What are my must-have features or amenities, such as a dishwasher, laundry facilities, parking, or outdoor space?
  5. What is my preferred lease length?
  6. What are my deal-breakers, such as a noisy location or lack of natural light?

By answering these questions, you can narrow down your search and have a better idea of what to look for in a rental property. This will also help you communicate your needs more effectively to a potential real estate agent or landlord.

Now that you have a better understanding of your needs, it’s time to find the perfect real estate agent that will help you find your new home.

Choosing an agent with the right specialty

As you might know, real estate agents can specialise in different areas of the industry, such as residential, commercial, industrial, and luxury real estate. Within those areas, agents may also have further specialisations, such as working specifically with buyers, sellers, or renters. Some agents may also have expertise in a particular type of property, such as apartments, single-family homes, or townhouses. Additionally, some agents may focus on specific neighbourhoods or geographic areas. Choosing an agent with the right specialty can help ensure that they have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you achieve your specific real estate goals. There are a few things to consider when identifying the right real estate agent based on their specialty:

  1. Look for an agent who has experience working with tenants or landlords in your desired location.
  2. Check if the agent specialises in the type of property you are interested in, such as apartments, houses, or commercial properties.
  3. Consider an agent's expertise in handling specific rental situations, such as negotiating lease terms or dealing with difficult landlords or tenants.
  4. Ask for references or testimonials from past clients to gauge the agent's success rate in finding suitable properties for their clients.

It's important to find an agent who has experience in the specific rental market you're interested in and who understands your needs as a tenant or landlord. By taking the time to research and vet potential agents, you can ensure that you find the best fit for your unique situation.

Similarities and differences to choose the right speciality agent for tenants and landlords

While there are some similarities in choosing the right real estate agent for both tenants and landlords, there are also some differences based on their respective needs and priorities. Some similarities include the importance of evaluating an agent's experience and expertise, checking their licensing and credentials, and looking for agents who know the local market. Additionally, both tenants and landlords should consider an agent's availability and communication style to ensure a good working relationship. However, there are also some differences in what tenants and landlords may prioritise when choosing a real estate agent. Tenants may place more emphasis on an agent's ability to find them suitable properties that fit their needs and budget, while landlords may prioritise an agent's ability to find reliable and responsible tenants who will take good care of their property and pay rent on time. Tenants may also place importance on an agent's ability to negotiate lease terms, while landlords may prioritise an agent's ability to maximise rental income and minimise vacancies.

Someone searching property agents on a laptop

Researching potential agents

Ask for referrals from friends and family

Start by reaching out to friends and family members who have recently rented or purchased a property. Ask them about their experience with their agent and if they would recommend them. It's important to get a first-hand account of the agent's communication style, expertise, and overall satisfaction before making a decision. Don't forget to ask about any potential drawbacks or things to watch out for.

Where to find potential agents in Singapore

Some popular platforms in Singapore for finding real estate agents include PropertyGuru, 99.co and SRX,. It's always a good idea to read reviews and ratings of the agents on these platforms before making a decision. Additionally, many real estate agencies have their own websites and you can also find agents through a simple Google search or on social media platforms such as LinkedIn.

Generally, you can follow these steps to look for agents on these platforms:

  1. Go to the website of your choice and look for the "Find Agent" or "Agent Directory" button.
  2. You can then filter the search results by location, property type, agent speciality, and language.
  3. Once you've found a few potential agents, take the time to read their profiles, which will highlight their experience, education, and areas of expertise.
  4. Look for reviews and recommendations from past clients on their profiles or on external review websites such as Google Reviews or Facebook.
  5. You can categorise them based on their experience, knowledge of the local market, communication skills, and overall professionalism.
  6. When evaluating agents, consider their licensing and credentials, as well as their commitment to ethical practices in the real estate industry.

Check the agent's licensing and credentials

In Singapore, real estate agents are licensed and regulated by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA). To be licensed, an agent must complete the required education and training, pass the CEA's Real Estate Salesperson (RES) examination, and meet other criteria such as being of good character and not having any prior convictions for certain offences. Once licensed, agents must also comply with the CEA's Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care, and participate in continuing professional development to maintain their licence. It is important to ensure that the agent that you are liaising with is licensed and regulated. CEA provides the public to cross check against the registered mobile number of the agent or via their registration no. We have attached the link here for ease of verification.

Tips for reading reviews and recommendations

When looking for real estate agent public reviews, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Look for patterns: Read through multiple reviews and look for patterns in the comments. Are there any common themes that come up consistently? This can give you an idea of the agent's strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Pay attention to details: Look for specific examples of things that the agent did well or could have done better. This can give you a more nuanced understanding of their performance.
  3. Consider the source: Reviews can come from a variety of sources, including past clients, colleagues, and even competitors. Consider the source of the review and whether they have any biases or conflicts of interest.
  4. Read both positive and negative reviews: Don't just focus on the positive or negative reviews. Reading both can give you a more balanced perspective on the agent's performance.
  5. Use reviews as one of many factors: While reviews can be helpful, they should not be the only factor you consider when choosing a real estate agent. Use reviews in conjunction with other information, such as their experience, credentials, and references, to make an informed decision.

Once you've narrowed down your choices, schedule a meeting or phone call with the agent to get a sense of their communication style and whether they are a good fit for your needs.

Consider the agent's availability and communication style

To consider a real estate agent's availability and communication style, you may want to consider the following:

  1. Responsiveness: Does the agent respond promptly to your inquiries and requests? Do they make themselves available for meetings and property viewings at times that work for you?
  2. Communication style: Does the agent communicate clearly and effectively, and in a manner that works for you? Do they listen attentively to your needs and preferences, and offer helpful advice and suggestions?
  3. Technology: Does the agent use technology to make the communication process smoother and more efficient? Do they use tools like email, messaging, video conferencing, and virtual tours to keep you informed and engaged throughout the process?
  4. Flexibility: Does the agent have the flexibility to accommodate your schedule and preferences, even if they differ from their own? Are they willing to adjust their communication style and methods to suit your needs?
  5. References: Do the agent's references or past clients indicate that they are easy to work with and have good communication skills?

Interviewing potential agents

Before you commit to working with a real estate agent, it's important to sit down and have a conversation with them. Think of it like a job interview - you want to make sure that they're the right fit for you and that they have the skills and expertise necessary to help you find the perfect property. By asking questions about their experience, availability, and communication style, you can get a sense of whether or not they're the right person for the job. Remember, finding the right real estate agent can make all the difference when it comes to having a successful and stress-free rental experience.

Prepare a list of questions to ask a potential agent

Here are some potential interview questions to ask a real estate agent when looking for a rental property:

  1. Can you tell me about your experience helping tenants find rental properties in this area?
  2. How familiar are you with the neighbourhood I am interested in?
  3. Can you provide some examples of rental properties that you have helped clients secure in the past?
  4. Can you explain your process for helping tenants find and secure rental properties?
  5. How do you typically communicate with clients throughout the rental property search process?
  6. Can you walk me through the fees and costs associated with working with you as a tenant?
  7. How will you work with me to ensure that my specific needs and preferences are taken into account during the search process?
  8. Can you provide references from past clients who were looking to rent a property?

Remember to tailor your questions to your specific situation and preferences, and don't be afraid to ask follow-up questions or ask for clarification on anything that isn't clear.

What to look for in their responses

When interviewing real estate agents, it's important to listen closely to their responses to your questions. Look for agents who listen carefully to your needs and concerns, and who can provide thoughtful and detailed answers to your questions. The best agents will be able to offer clear and honest advice, based on their extensive experience in the real estate market. Pay attention to their communication style, and make sure you feel comfortable and confident that they have your best interests in mind. Finally, be sure to ask for references from past clients, and take the time to follow up on them to get a sense of the agent's track record and reputation.

Here are some things you can look for in a real estate agent's answers to your interview questions:

  • Knowledge: Does the agent have a good understanding of the rental market and the neighbourhoods you're interested in? Do they know the local laws and regulations related to renting?
  • Experience: How long has the agent been in the real estate industry, and how many successful rental transactions have they completed? Can they provide references from previous clients?
  • Communication: Does the agent's communication style match your preferences? Do they respond promptly to your questions and concerns? Are they easy to reach by phone, email, or text?
  • Flexibility: Is the agent willing to work around your schedule and accommodate your specific needs and preferences? Are they willing to show you properties outside of regular business hours if needed?
  • Problem-solving: How does the agent handle challenges and conflicts that may arise during the rental process? Do they have a proactive approach to resolving issues, or do they wait for you to bring up problems?
  • Professionalism: Is the agent punctual, organised, and attentive to details? Do they dress professionally and conduct themselves in a respectful manner?

By assessing these factors in the real estate agent's answers, you can make a more informed decision on whether or not they are a good fit for your needs.

A lady reading paper contracts

Understanding agent fees and contracts

Types of agent fees and commissions

In Singapore, real estate agents typically charge a commission fee of 0.5- 1 month's rent for a 1-year lease and a prorated amount for leases shorter or longer than 1 year. However, the commission fee is negotiable and can vary depending on the type of property, location, and the level of services provided by the agent. It's important to discuss and agree on the commission fee upfront with your agent before engaging their services. Additionally, some agents may charge administrative or marketing fees, so it's important to clarify all fees upfront before hiring an agent.

Paying agent fees

As a tenant, it is important to clarify with your agent if you are liable to pay for their service, and to ensure that they are not dual representing. (Note: agents are not allowed to dual represent;. collecting commission from two parties i.e. landlord & tenant. This to prevent any potential conflict of interest) . By committing to pay the agent fees, an agency relationship is created between you and the agent. The agent shall bylaw owe you a fiduciary duty to protect your interest. It is also important to note that some agents do offer additional value-added services or assistance in exchange for a higher commission, so it may be worth discussing these options as well. Ultimately, it is important to communicate openly with the agent and try to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Reviewing and understanding the agent contract

When you work with a real estate agent, you'll sign a standardised contract prescribed by CEA outlining the terms of your working relationship. It's important to review this contract carefully to make sure you understand the scope of the agent's services, the fees you'll be expected to pay, and any other important terms like the duration of the contract. By taking the time to review and understand the contract, you can ensure that you and your agent are on the same page and that there are no surprises down the line. It's always better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to ask any questions you may have and don't sign anything until you're confident you understand the terms.

A man looking at his watch over a laptop

Red flags to watch out for

Signs of unprofessionalism or lack of experience

When you're searching for a real estate agent, it's important to be aware of signs of unprofessionalism or lack of experience. For example, if the agent seems disorganised or unresponsive, this could be a red flag. Similarly, if they don't seem knowledgeable about the local market or the rental process, you may want to consider other options. Other signs of unprofessionalism could include not having a clear contract or fee structure, or not following through on promises or commitments. By being aware of these warning signs, you can help ensure that you find a qualified and trustworthy agent to help you with your rental search.

Red flags to watch out for when working with a real estate agent in Singapore

Here are some red flags to watch out for when engaging with a real estate agent:

  1. Lack of communication or responsiveness: If an agent doesn't respond to your calls, emails or messages in a timely manner, it could be a sign that they are not taking your needs seriously.
  2. Poor negotiation skills: Negotiation is a critical part of the real estate process, so if your agent seems to lack negotiation skills or is unwilling to negotiate on your behalf, it could lead to a less than optimal outcome for you.
  3. Limited availability or schedule conflicts: If your agent has limited availability or schedule conflicts that make it difficult to schedule showings or appointments, it could be a sign that they are not fully committed to helping you find a home.
  4. Lack of market knowledge: Your agent should have a deep understanding of the local real estate market, including market trends, property values and neighbourhood features. If your agent seems to lack this knowledge, it could hinder your ability to find the right property at the right price.
  5. Pressure to make quick decisions: If your agent is pressuring you to make quick decisions without fully understanding your needs or preferences, it could be a sign that they are more concerned with making a sale than finding the right property for you.

Understanding common tactics used by unethical agents

Unethical real estate agents may use various tactics to deceive or manipulate their clients. Some common tactics include:

  • Misrepresenting the value or condition of a property
  • Concealing information about a property or transaction
  • Pressuring clients to make decisions quickly or without due diligence
  • Offering kickbacks or incentives to push a particular property or service
  • Engaging in discriminatory practices based on race, gender, religion, or other factors
  • Failing to disclose conflicts of interest or relationships with other parties involved in the transaction
  • Overcharging for services or fees beyond what is reasonable or customary.

It's important to be aware of these tactics and to work with a trustworthy and professional real estate agent who is committed to acting in your best interests.

Knowing when to walk away from a bad fit

When it comes to working with a real estate agent, it's important to remember that you're the one in control. If you're not comfortable with the agent's approach or if you sense that they're not acting ethically, it's okay to walk away. Trust your gut and don't be afraid to speak up or ask questions. Remember that you're the one paying for the service, so it's important to find an agent who you feel has your best interests in mind. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable or unhappy with the agent, it's best to cut ties and find someone who you feel more comfortable working with. Ultimately, finding the right real estate agent can make all the difference in your rental property search, so don't settle for anything less than what you deserve.

In short, if a real estate agent is displaying unethical behaviour, such as pressuring you into making decisions, not being transparent about fees, or not following through on their promises, it's a clear indication that you should walk away. Trust your instincts and don't be afraid to say no if something doesn't feel right.

A lady and a man shaking hands over a laptop

Evaluating your options and making your final decision

Weighing the pros and cons of each potential agent

To weigh the pros and cons for each real estate agent you interviewed, you can start by making a list of the key factors that are important to you. This may include things like the agent's experience, communication style, availability, knowledge of the local market, and commission rates.

For each agent, consider how well they performed in each of these areas during the interview process. Did they seem knowledgeable and professional? Were they easy to communicate with? Did they seem to understand your needs and preferences? You can also consider any additional factors, such as their online reviews or recommendations from friends or family members. Once you have evaluated each agent based on these factors, you can compare them to determine which one seems like the best fit for your needs. It may also be helpful to trust your gut instinct and choose the agent who you feel the most comfortable working with.

A few factors you should consider and add to your pros and cons list:

  • Compatibility
  • Experience and expertise
  • Communication skills
  • Commission and fees
  • Referrals and reviews
  • Compare and contrast the agents you've interviewed
  • Consider their negotiation skills and success rate
  • Evaluate their marketing strategies

Finalise the agreement

Congratulations on finding a real estate agent that you feel confident working with! Before you start your search for a rental property, it's important to finalise the agreement with your agent. This includes signing a written agreement that outlines the terms of your working relationship, setting expectations for communication and availability, and establishing protocols for viewing properties and submitting offers.

Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the commission fees and any other costs associated with working with the agent. Discuss any concerns or questions you may have, and don't be afraid to negotiate terms that are fair for both parties.

To ensure a successful partnership, it's essential to communicate effectively and collaborate with your agent. Keep them updated on any changes in your search criteria or availability, and be honest about your preferences and priorities. Remember, they are there to help you find the best rental property for your needs.

Lastly, be respectful of your agent's time and expertise. Avoid working with multiple agents simultaneously, as this can lead to confusion and unproductive competition. Trust in your agent's knowledge of the market and trust that they have your best interests in mind. By finalising the agreement and working collaboratively with your agent, you'll be on your way to finding the perfect rental property in no time!