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Singapore - Property Search
Most property agents in Singapore property will charge a commission of 1-2% to the seller of a private property, and 1% to the buyer and 1-2% to the seller for HDB flat transactions. There are around 1,700 agencies in Singapore and as many as 25,000 property agents. The biggest agencies are Dennis Wee, Propnex, HSR, ERA, DTZ, and Knight Frank. In 2010, the government created the Estate Agent Act and a new statutory board called the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA). This regulates the property agencies and requires certain criteria and even a mandatory exam that the agents must follow and pass.
Your real estate agent should be able to point you to the properties that are most suited to you. However, there are other places that you can search for properties as well. Expat forums can not only offer you support during your home-buying adventures, but can also act as leads in your property search. There are also several expat websites that offer property search engines that can help you find properties that can both give you an idea of prices to expect as well as offer you leads that you might be able to send to your property agent if you are interested in viewing them.
One website that has an easy-to-use search engine and can show you some of the available properties in Singapore is iproperty: http://www.iproperty.com.sg/property-for-sale/
Knowing the area that you are interested in living in, as well as the type of housing that you want, is important in the beginning of your search. For some expats, it’s not the type of property that is important, but rather the location since most people like to live within close proximity to their business or school.
Even though real estate agents get a commission there really is no market price for those commissions and it isn’t fixed. As a result, you can often negotiate that amount with your agent. While the Institute of Estate Agents (IEA) once had guidelines recommending that a Housing Board flat seller pays a minimum two per cent of the price as commission, while the buyer pays one per cent, the Competition Commission of Singapore ruled that these IEA guidelines were uncompetitive and they were removed in 2008.
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