Points to note when buying a resale flat

The time has come for us to move out of my parent's place. Little girl is growing faster than we had imagined and she needs more space for her growing toys and room to explore as she learns to walk.

We have been going round viewing flats around our ideal home location and have met at least 6 different property agents from various companies. Most we contacted via Propertyguru.com after seeing their listings of houses. The house viewing process is rather fun and some houses left deep (smelly) impressions while some were like a war zone in my opinion. Cannot imagine how they can live in a house like that. I'm glad I'm brought up learning to keep myself and my environment clean. After viewing at least 15 houses, we short listed 5 and offered price to 3, sadly all 3 sellers are still waiting for someone to offer at their ideal price, which is beyond our budget.

Only after viewing 14 houses, then we learned about points which we should take note of when meeting an agent. Thanks to the nice lady from HSR who enlightened us.

If you have been browsing property websites, you would have noticed some units having more than one listings and by different agents. This is technically not possible as all agents, or the proper ones, will require the seller to sign an exclusivity agreement to entrust the house to be sold by that agent, so the agent knows his time, effort and money put into marketing the house will not go to waste as he is the only one doing the selling. Our doubts were clarified when the HSR lady told us some listings are actually posted by agents who are trying to find buyers so they can represent them.

That means, these agents do not represent the seller of the house and do not get any commission from the seller. Instead they will wait to be contacted and then bring interested buyers to view the house. If the buyer were to purchase the house, this agent will then claim the 1% agent fee from the buyer. Wait! The buyer spent time sourcing for the house but have to pay for an agent to close the deal? No way! Unless the agent help source for houses for the buyer's viewing and bring the buyer around to different houses and help negotiate price, then yes he has provided his service and should be paid. But if the buyer did all the work, then the buyer should save the agent fee and represent himself instead.

As first time resale flat buyers, we were unaware of such rules. Good thing we met an agent who shared this with us. Now when we contact an agent, the first we ask is whether he is representing the seller. So far, the three we contacted all didn't reply when we asked if he is representing the seller. Looks like there may be many agents who aren't quite following the books.