The Ministry of National Development released today its findings on public feedback for a more regulated property industry, and PropNex Realty, one of Singapore’s leading property agencies, supports most of the feedback given.
“Indeed, most of the Government’s findings were not surprising,” says PropNex CEO Mr Mohamed Ismail. “Given the many complaints raised by consumers and suggestions given by the public in the forum, it was clear from early on that the public is concerned about quality service provided by real estate practitioners.”
Mr Ismail feels that most of the measures proposed would be warmly welcomed by most industry players, PropNex included, especially those regarding educational qualifications, standardisation of the industry and professional indemnity insurance.
“A central registry would probably be implemented,” forecasts Mr Ismail, “because there is definitely a need for greater control and monitoring of rogue agents, who are now able to switch agencies and continue their shenanigans elsewhere with other consumers.”
Professional indemnity insurance, which PropNex Realty already mandates for all its agents, is another likely measure he feels will be effected, to further safeguard consumers’ interests. “The medical and legal professions already have this,” observes Mr Ismail, “so why shouldn’t the property industry, given the high investment values of the transactions?”
He also supports the Demerit Point System proposed by the public, as this would encourage greater responsibility on the part of the agents to conduct themselves ethically.
Another proposed regulation was Dual Commission and the enforcement of agents acting for only one party, i.e. not both the buyer and seller.
“PropNex has always supported this,” reveals Mr Ismail, “because this encourages co-broking and drives agents to discharge their fiduciary duties in obtaining the best price possible for their client. Co-broking removes any conflict of interest and can only result in more professional service.”
However, there are some suggestions which Mr Ismail feels would not be helpful. For instance, limiting the size of the agencies.
“Larger agencies are able to enjoy economies of scale,” he explains. “They are able to afford better training for their agents and other value-added services like legal counsel. Limiting the size of agencies would also hinder brand expansion within and outside of Singapore, restricting the entrepreneurial spirit and holding back the branding of Singapore in the real estate market.”
Disallowing agents to buy properties themselves would also be difficult to monitor, he says, counter-proposing that declaration by the agents would be more effectively introduced.
With regards to the Government’s recent property measures, such as the removal of IAS, Mr Ismail feels that those were meant mainly to curb speculation. The findings and implementation of public’s feedback would, he says, aim to support a higher level of professional service and increase investor confidence.
“And that can only be good for the industry as a whole,” he concludes. “While existing agents would have to now be tested to ensure knowledgeable professionalism, the improved image of the industry over time could lead to more professionals taking up careers as a real estate practitioner.”
For enquiries, please contact:
Mohamed Ismail (CEO) 9487 1414
Adam Tan (Corporate Communications Manager) 9006 8726