My letterbox and housefront used to be flooded with flyers from property agents.
I’m sure you’ve seen these:
Well, most of the time they end up in the bin unless my parents are looking for a new place to stay.
But looking at the competitiveness of the industry, how do you know if the advertised Peter, John, Mary, Philip or Christine work? That’s why a new concept was born on 8 February on the real estate Industry Transformation Map.
What is it all about?
By the end of 2018, people looking for apartments can view a ‘report book’ – transactional records of property agents before deciding whether to engage their services.
In my opinion, this reminds me of Carousell. Users of Carousell would understand how difficult it is when starting out because there’s no validation of whether you’re an honest seller/buyer.
But as time goes by, after gathering enough good reviews and feedback via your transactions, you build up your profile, credibility, and trustworthiness.
This is exactly how the new concept is working for junior or senior property agents. But there’s always two sides to a coin.
Win-win situation for both
Some may see it as a win-win situation for both consumers and property agents.
In the case of consumers, everything is transparent and reviews speak a lot about the track record of the agent.
To Madam Ng, 39, this idea appeals to her because instead of going to family and friends for recommendations or “calling agents from their pamphlets”, she can turn to the “records and rating” instead.
IT professional Sim Han Xiang, 33, also agrees since he will be able to “filter out and use the responsible agents”.
On the other hand, some property agents welcome the idea as a means to build up branding which in turn helps them to secure more customers.
“The idea of a rating platform helps us evaluate our services. These are real customers and you can’t bluff about this,” said Norman Tan, 45, senior associate district director at OrangeTee & Tie.
Max Goh, 32, associate marketing director at Huttons Asia also said this new concept would help him build his marketing and branding. “It becomes a growing resume to secure more customers,” he adds.
Sitting on the fence
But there are also property agents who brought up the flaw in the system.
Ken Taguchi, an associate district director at Huttons Asia, said the concept would help “clean up our market a bit more” but adds that “it feels like a one-sided protection” because agents are not able to review their customers.
Since these reviews will be out in public, the process is irreversible after it’s published. Yeah, it’s not easy since this is their bread and butter after all.
Kind of like Facebook reviews. Which, if you’re been on the Internet, has led to several viral stories (you know, when the business fought back for bad reviews).
And Desmond Sim, who heads CBRE Research (Singapore and South East Asia) feedback that this is an ideal situation for consumers since they can now choose an agent who “historically gives good service” but also commented that the new system could pose “barriers” to new agents since they do not have track records just yet.
There’s also a fair share of property agents who are not happy with the soon-to-be implementation.
Goh Weng, 61, who has been in the industry for 5 years, commented that the new concept would not add value to the “already transparent enough” environment since everything is ‘Google-able’.
He believes that customers will still turn to personal referrals since they are more reliable.
What’s next for the real estate industry?
The whole new proposed system will be carried out in phases, starting with Housing Development Board (HDB) deals from the end of 2018, and private residential sales and rentals from the end of 2019.
At first glance, it seems like the consumers are the one benefiting because they get to pick from a list of property agents and suss out the dependable ones.
Junior property agents may suffer at the start but once the good reviews accumulate, things will take a turn.
We all have to start somewhere, no?
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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com
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