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We Tried To Eliminate Property Agents In Singapore: Why We Failed & The Challenges New Platforms Face

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Ryan J

A seasoned content strategist with over 17 years in the real estate and financial journalism sectors, Ryan has built a reputation for transforming complex industry jargon into accessible knowledge. With a track record of writing and editing for leading financial platforms and publications, Ryan’s expertise has been recognised across various media outlets. His role as a former content editor for 99.co and a co-host for CNA 938’s Open House programme underscores his commitment to providing valuable insights into the property market.

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William
William
9 months ago

Appreciate the honest evaluation of the market and your platform. That said, how do buyers deal with the inherent conflict of interest with their agents? (ie. their agent’s commission is on transacted value but a buyer would want to pay as low a price as possible)

Stacked Homes
Admin
9 months ago
Reply to  William

Great question. The biggest problem is really how do you ensure that the agent is incentivised to find you the right property and not one that they are paid the highest commission on. I’m less inclined to think that the commission on the transacted value is an issue, as it’s a factor that is hard to control (in the presence of many other interested buyers and higher bids).

Tzl
Tzl
9 months ago

Yes, I often feel we are just being manipulated into closing a deal as soon as possible. Also, quality of listings on propertyguru are just terrible.

Stacked Homes
Admin
9 months ago
Reply to  Tzl

Admittedly, that is a problem that’s hard to fix. It’s worth highlighting again that a lot of what we’ve said is based on finding a good agent that you can trust, the advice and experience is something that is hard to quantify.

Also yes! the listings are terrible. It’s also a matter in the past few years that seller agents didn’t have to work as hard to sell properties. Buyers would come irrespective of how shitty the listing is. At the end of the day, it’s always a cycle and the time will come soon where there would be more sellers than buyers, and more effort will have to be put in to attract buyers – better listings, better photos, more video, etc.

Bobby
Bobby
9 months ago

Agreed that because property transactions are high-value transactions that happen only once or twice in someone’s life, these transactions demand a high level of trust and personal touch that isn’t simply replaceable by machines. 

This naturally leads us to a vital question. How do we find good and trustworthy agents if there is a lack of information on agents and every agent’s profile seems to be roughly similar? 

Not sure if this is useful but BetterAgents SG is a property agent review platform where people can share their personal experiences with their property agent. Hopefully, with more people sharing their interactions with agents, this can introduce some transparency for other Singaporeans looking to engage property agents. 

Stacked Homes
Admin
9 months ago
Reply to  Bobby

It’ll be great to have such a platform! But it seems like something that will be hard to grow. Naturally agents that don’t have good reviews will not want to be on such a platform, and it looks like there will be a lot of moderation involved to ensure that reviews are not faked, or disputes over a bad review from an agent that may not be real. And if there’s no monetisation strategy in place at the moment, who would be doing this work?

Ultimately too, if there aren’t enough buyers coming on to use it there’s little incentive for agents to push such a platform if they aren’t getting enough referrals from it too.

Rick
Rick
9 months ago

Used the site before.
One key reason imo was it was not user-friendly and technologically outdated and slow.

Stacked Homes
Admin
8 months ago
Reply to  Rick

That’s fair criticism! We aren’t sure when you last used it, but we wanted to first prove that there was a market for this that could grow, before trying to improve the other aspects of the process.

Yoda
Yoda
9 months ago

Great article and good insights. Thanks for sharing. Most and if not all of the challenges you raised can be solved with technology, create a win-win-win situation for sellers-buyers-agents, and these platforms should work. Airbnb works. and http://www.zillow.com works.

Stacked Homes
Admin
8 months ago
Reply to  Yoda

Thanks for the kind words! Well, these platforms also work because they have a much larger audience, and there’s greater incentive to put in the money to make it work. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Singapore!

Jenson Chan
Jenson Chan
8 months ago

Stacked didn’t manage to eliminate property agents, but you have successfully pivoted to provide the best property analysis and insights (importantly impartial) for readers. Cheers!

Stacked Homes
Admin
8 months ago
Reply to  Jenson Chan

Really appreciate the kind words! Yeah, it was apparent after going into content that there was a real need for buyers to have access to good analysis and insights – it’s been a really interesting journey so far!

james
james
8 months ago
Reply to  Stacked Homes

glad you moved into property content – the precious insights are what me and my wife love to read and unbiased content like this is truly hard to find!

Yasser Khan
Yasser Khan
6 months ago

Absolutely on point. I agree that realtors are not going to be replaced anytime soon as most people have a real fear even though they complain a lot about agents.

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