Despite more landlords using the Do-It-Yourself (“DIY”) services offered by various portals in recent years, the absolute number of real estate agents in Singapore has actually increased slightly from 28,397 agents in 2016 to 28,571 agents in 2017. Although this may be partly attributed to a pick-up in property sentiment, it also shows that agents still have an important role to play in the property transaction eco-system.
We do not see the real estate agents being completely replaced by the DIY portals because the real estate agents still have the following important skills to offer:
- Experience: DIY portals cannot replace the valuable advice that comes with agents who have transacted many deals over the years. Such advice may relate to the location, condition and aspect of a property.
- Negotiation: Good agents will be able to negotiate better prices for their clients and iron out non-standard clauses in contracts between tenants and landlords
- Marketing: Using online DIY portals, landlords will only be able to get offers from other online users and may miss out on opportunities from an agent’s network. If the online pricing is understated or overstated due to reasons unique to the property, the landlord may not know how to adjust his prices to get a better outcome.
- Viewings: Many landlords will still be unable to handle the numerous viewing requests before a property in leased out and prefer to pay an agent to handle the logistics.
For the agents who want to survive and thrive against the DIY portals, it is important that they make their workflows and data storage as systematic and efficient as possible so that they can focus on the value-added services mentioned above like negotiation and marketing.
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