How to find good real estate/property agents?

Why you should consider employing a real estate agent at all? What can he do for you that you may not be able to do yourself? First of all, if you select the right agent, he will be able to guide you from your initial goal setting phase through the selection, acquisition and management of your investment. His services may help make your venture an outstanding real estate investment, especially for the first time investor.

A knowledgeable property agent not only understands and practices the many different facets of real estate investing, but he also knows the market. When it comes to negotiating the purchase, he is a middleman, able to get a contract agreement more easily than when a buyer and seller meet face to face. When it comes to selling or renting a property, he is a salesperson, able to locate the right buyer/tenant for you.

However, there are many full-time real estate salespeople who have never been active or have never become knowledgeable in the filed of investment real estate. Since you are about to invest the largest sum of money or cash advance you have ever spent, you deserve the best.

The property agent you want should have the basic knowledge in real estate investing, taxation, depreciation, management and financing. He is experienced in the field because it is his only business.

How do you find this agent? Contact them through property listings/advertisements on local papers, Internet or referrers like your relatives and friends. Give them a call and ask them some questions about property investment to start the evaluation process.

When you are evaluating a property agent, watch out for agent with the following characteristics:
1. Cannot answer most of the questions you ask about a property and its prospect of investing, such as the age of the property, expected rents, rental demand, maintenance cost, etc – he may not be knowledgeable enough to assist you.

2. No reply at all after you have called them – he may be picky about his clients.

3. Respond to your enquiry slowly until you have to remind him – he may not be interested to serve you.

4. Prefer to SMS you instead of calling you, unless the SMS delivers details like numbers and addresses – he may be stingy and calculative (he may not even want to fork out money to advertise for clients).

Two simple rules of thumb of a good property agent:
1. Care to go for extra miles – able to provide more information and services than you wanted.

2. Fast response – time is the money.

Although normal custom seems to dictate that a property agent is employed by the seller of a property, there is nothing wrong with you, as a buyer, employing him to find you investment and you paying him professional fee. He should then represents you and is obligated to purchase the property you want at the lowest price and best terms.

In Johor Bahru, the market rate of agent’s professional fee or commission is seller pays 2% of the purchase price while buyer pays 1%. It seems to be a norm also in Johor Bahru that in most transactions there is only one property agent – a salespeople appointed by the seller.

It is always not advisable to just rely on seller’s agent in your purchase – there is conflict of interest because the agent tends to side the seller since their pay is proportional to the purchase price. In fact, according to the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia, a property/estate agent shall not accept fees from more than one client in any one transaction.

For example, if you are buying an auction property from a bank through a property agent assigned by the bank, the agent should only receive commission from the bank and you don’t need to pay the agent.

However, the services and investment guidance you can receive from a good property agent is well worth what you pay him. If you like his services, do pay him well and pay in time.


This article was published in 28th May 2015 issue of 1Klassifieds, New Straits Times.

About The Author


Coming from a humble little town named Tangkak in north Johor state of Malaysia, I am so lucky to have chances to learn and work both in Johor Bahru and Singapore - a conurbation with 6.49 million still fast growing population - since year 1996. Hope now I can have a chance to contribute back to the community by sharing what I see, what I know and what I learn in this wonderful place.

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