Singapore

New guide to standardise property agent ratings across the industry

Online ratings of property agents will now be standardised across the real estate industry following the launch of a new guide yesterday by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA).

Previously, real estate agencies determined the standards for consumer ratings, but the guide aims to introduce consistent standards, such as the key attributes on which agents should be rated.

The ratings will now reflect whether an agent provided services above and beyond the client's expectations, such as by using digital calculators, and if the agent was open, honest and reliable, and had the necessary skills to facilitate a favourable deal for his client.

Yesterday, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of National Development (MND) Tan Kiat How said the standardisation is a necessary step to help consumers find agents who suit them when conducting their searches online.

"With these key categories in place and a standard way of assessing, collecting and displaying these attributes, we can make sure that comparisons are fair, credible and consistent across the board," he said.

He was speaking at CEA's virtual celebration of its 10th anniversary.

The guide also includes recommended safeguards to verify the authenticity of a transaction and the client's identity to prevent false ratings, said Mr Tan.

This initiative is part of the real estate industry transformation map launched by MND and CEA in 2018.

It is developed by the Ratings of Property Agents Workgroup in partnership with key players from the real estate agency industry, consumer association and property portal industry.

Three property agencies - ERA Realty Network, OrangeTee & Tie and Huttons Asia - along with the Singapore Estate Agents Association and property portal PropertyGuru have committed to adopting the guide. They cover around 80 per cent of agents in the industry.

There are about 1,200 property agencies and 30,000 agents in Singapore.

Since the CEA was established as a statutory board under the MND in October 2010, the number of complaints against property agencies and agents has declined from 1,170 cases in 2011 to 777 last year.

Property