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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Tay

Should you engage an agent for your property transactions or DIY?

Updated: May 4, 2020

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on why it makes more sense to engage an exclusive real estate agent instead of multiple agents to market your property. This article will discuss whether you should hire an agent at all for your property transactions or perhaps, DIY?

While it's possible to sell or buy a home without representation, it is helpful to note that property transaction is essentially a legal matter. A property is also one of the most valuable asset a person owns hence the whole property transaction is an important process to most individuals.

As a home-owner who probably have a full time job, trying to handle your own property transaction without an agent can be a time consuming and tedious process.

Isn't engaging a real estate agent to sell your house at the highest price in the shortest possible time a better idea?

If you opt to buy or sell your own house, understand that it is a process with many stakes involved and the process is more complicated than you think it is!

Below are some reasons why hiring an experienced and professional realtor may be a wiser option:

1). Professionalism

Real estate agents are professionals. Buying and selling properties on a regular basis is what they are trained to do for a living. Engaging one would enable you to get access to all that experience!

It might be much easier to hire a professional to handle the purchase or sale of your property rather than doing it yourself!

In Singapore, property agents are required to comply with the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care (CEPCC) which was established by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) on 15 Nov 2010.

This Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care is very specific and actually stipulates how agents are required to maintain a high level of professionalism while performing their estate agency work. They are expected to be familiar with laws that may be applicable and also be equipped with knowledge pertaining to their transactions.

Therefore, you can rest assure that your agent should handle your transaction with utmost professionalism!

2). Knowledge of Market Conditions

An experienced real estate agent needs to be aware of market conditions and happenings that could affect the price of a property. The price of a property is usually dictated by market happenings.

It is the agent's job to update and inform the seller of these happenings. Information about other houses in the market, their selling prices and recent real time transactions will help the seller decide on the next course of action.

It is extremely difficult for you as a seller or buyer to follow up on this on your own as you might not have the time or resources to do so.

Analytics on Private Residential Sales Price  Source: Orange Tee and Tie
Analytics on Private Residential Sales Price Source: Orange Tee and Tie

There are also many calculations involved during a property transaction. Data such as the average-per-square foot cost, average house sale prices, asking prices of the various houses for sale and how long a house stays on the market are all things that ultimately decide how soon you are able to sell your house.

Analytics on Private Residential Sales Volume  Source: Orange Tee and Tie
Analytics on Private Residential Sales Volume

Agents also have access to useful data such as the analytic suite from Orange Tee and Tie which shows informative data such as the sales volume of different types of properties over a period of time.

Instead of taking all the strain yourself, hire an agent to do the job for you. Having an agent break down the various terms and processes will ultimately make the selling and buying a smoother and more transparent experience.

You'll end up saving both time and money!

3). Access to Database

Real estate agents have access to databases. Most agents have existing database of their clients that they have worked with over the years. These existing clients may be looking to sell their home, searching for a new home or even an investment property.

access to database
access to database

Your agent can access their personal databases and shortlist potential buyers which may have an interest in your home. With greater access to buyers, you can sell your house fast rather than waiting and even lowering the price if there are not many interested buyers.

Hiring an agent could seem costly initially, but it may save you more time and trouble in the long run.

4). Negotiation Skills

Years of experience has equipped real estate agents with strong negotiation skills. Handling buyers, co-broke agents and legal representatives on a day to day basis, a proficient agent will know exactly what each stakeholder wants.

With the availability of timely and accurate market information derived from database like SRX, a competent and proficient agent should negotiate prices well and secure a great price for your property.

One of the biggest disadvantage of DIY is the lack of timely market information and that may turn out to be costly in the negotiation of your transaction!

5). Advertising

The CEPCC from CEA has a strict set of rules governing the advertising of properties for various purposes. All real estate agents have to adhere to it. Any advertisements that are inaccurate, misleading or false will not be condoned.

Therefore, you can rest assure that your agent will market and advertise your property professionally and ethically, in accordance with the CEA regulations.


In the past, agents rely mainly on the newspaper classified advertisements to market their clients' properties.

These days, there are so many portals that agents use to gain exposure to a wider group of potential buyers.

Most agents have at least 2 such portals for eg. Propertyguru, SRX, Edge-prop and Soreal prop etc. which they subscribe to.

SRX is a popular source for real time transactions
SRX is a popular source for real time transactions

Agents even have up-to-date comprehensive information concerning the recent transactions, comparable listings and price trending analysis.

This could also prove useful when it involves tweaking a marketing strategy on an on-going basis to enhance results, something which a seller intending to DIY

may find it difficult to accomplish.

6. Buying And Selling Process

The buying and selling process can be quite complex and daunting for somebody who wants to DIY. Buying and selling are all a part of a contract and they are legally binding. Engaging an agent to prepare the paperwork properly for you will save you a lot of headache.


One of the most tedious and crucial part when buying or selling a property is having to handle the necessary paperwork. Real estate agents will be able to help you analyse the contract and to highlight all the important areas as they have handled many option to purchases and tenancy agreements throughout the course of their work.

Sometimes, things do not end after you sign the paperwork. Problems can arise after that. They can be related to many issues such as taxes, invoices etc. Having an agent will help to straighten out the confusions!

7). Network of colleagues and co-broke agents

Real estate agents can always rely on their internal network system when marketing your property. Big agencies like ERA, Orange Tee and Tie and Propnex have thousands of agents each and by using their internal network, there is always a ready pool of cobroke agents with clients that will facilitate quick selling, buying and referrals.

different real estate agencies in Singapore
different real estate agencies in Singapore

There are also cobroke agents from other agencies which agents can tap on to market your property.

Having a real estate agent can also be helpful after you buy or sell your home. The agent can redirect you towards other professionals that provide useful services such as lawyers, contractors and interior designers.

By providing you a list of references of professionals they have worked with in the past, you have more choices when selecting one that suits your needs and also have the knowledge that these professionals are reliable and tested.

8). Fiduciary duty, Privacy, Confidentiality

Whether you are a buyer or seller, your real estate agent have what's referred to as a "fiduciary" responsibility to their clients. They are legally obligated to place their clients' best interests first.

This duty imparts a really high standard for confidentiality. Let us look at the case if you are a buyer. As a buyer, if you do not have an agent, you will have to divulge your personal financial details to a FSBO seller who's under no legal obligation to keep your details confidential.

If the seller has an agent, you will have to hand over your confidential information over to the seller's agent, who has no fiduciary responsibility to you. His fiduciary duty is to the seller.

That said, you do have recourse if you are the buyer and if the seller's agent has lied to you, misled you or disclosed confidential information. You can report the agent to CEA for not exercising duty of care to you. However if it is a FSBO seller, there is not much you can do.

Having your own agent to handle the deal for you allows you to enjoy a peace of mind knowing that your agent will have your best interest and is expected to keep all your information confidential, by law.

Buying and selling a home is a major decision, hiring an agent will help minimise the difficulty of paperwork, taxing complications and fraudulent schemes while keeping all your confidential information private.


After evaluating the above points, whether you are selling or buying, it may be a better option to engage an agent. An interesting point to note is that many real estate agents actually engage their colleagues to sell or rent their property.

Agent asking colleague for help to market their home
Agent asking colleague for help to market their home

This is because a third party who is more neutral and have no emotional attachment to the property will probably be more decisive and rational in making the best decision with regards to the property!

If you are thinking of engaging a professional real estate agent for your property transaction and would like to find out more, please feel free to contact me for a non obligatory 90 min free consultation at 96658596

Having a keen interest and passion in real estate led Caroline to join the real estate industry. An investor herself since 2006, Caroline is constantly learning and upgrading herself through courses and seminars so that she is able to provide meaningful insights to her clients and to help them successfully manage and restructure their portfolios in the ever- changing market conditions.

Caroline strives to be honest, transparent and professional in all her real estate dealings with her clients. She understands that clients need to work with someone they trust, as they will be entrusting their valuable assets to that person. She is known to be trustworthy and reliable and will ensure that her clients’ interests are protected always.

With a strong commitment to client satisfaction and with the support of her teammates from Navis Living Group (Orange Tee and Tie) , she is confident that she will be able to share her experiences and knowledge to assist her clients in making the best decisions for their real estate needs so that they can achieve their desired real estate goals.

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