Meeting diverse demands

Recently, I posted a blog on CEA’s first year of operation.  In response, many Singaporeans offered valuable feedback and suggestions.  I thank you all.

Not surprisingly, there were differing views on some subjects:

  •  Some wanted to prohibit real estate agents from handling HDB resale transactions;
  • Others demanded the opposite: a stop to DIY resale transactions;
  • Some called for greater protection of consumers from estate agents;
  • Others appealed for protection of estate agents from consumers who do not discharge their commitments.

But there were many common calls:

  • To improve on dispute resolution mechanism;
  • To improve the quality of Continuing Professional Development courses;
  • To raise the minimum education qualification of salespersons;
  • To enhance public education for consumers.

We will study the ideas and see what are practical.

My bias will be towards the consumers, but to do so in a fair manner.

For instance, I don’t think it is appropriate to prohibit agents from handling HDB resale transactions.  Neither is it necessary to mandate that all resale HDB transactions should be via agents.

Indeed, HDB does not mandate owners to go through an agent to close a deal.  Last year, one in ten conducted their resale transactions the DIY way.

HDB provides a useful DIY checklist to help short cut the process.  In its ongoing consumer education efforts, CEA will help owners better understand their rights and responsibilities if they decide to go DIY.

Should owners decide to engage a salesperson to help them, the amount of commission is something that can be determined between the owner and the salesperson.   However, CEA does encourage the use of the Estate Agency Agreement form to put on record the amount of commission agreed by both parties from the start.  This will avoid future disputes.

Where there is a dispute arising from the Estate Agency Agreement, parties can make use of CEA’s dispute resolution schemes.  Some have suggested shortening the time frame for dispute resolution.  CEA will look into this.

The industry itself can and should do more.  CEA will encourage salespersons caught in disputes to turn to their companies and KEOs for guidance in the first instance.  But if there is evidence of an infringement of CEA’s regulations and policies, CEA will promptly investigate and take appropriate actions against the errant salespersons.

Meanwhile, CEA will introduce more courses for its 30,000 registered salespersons to meet their diverse learning needs and the dynamic nature of the market.

At one year old, CEA is still growing in capability and capacity.  There is more work ahead, and if done well, CEA can make a positive difference.

We are united on one common aim, and that is to continue to raise the professionalism of the industry.  That will be win-win all round.


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