5 Sneaky Property Agents’ Tactics to Watch For (in Singapore)

So you think property agents are all cheats, do you? You think every last one is just out for your money. Well that’s not fair, because I’ll have you know you’re only 97% right! But seriously, I exagerrate. Few property agents outright lie or cheat in squeaky clean Singapore. I mean, their mind games are already so good, they don’t even require outright lies:

 

“And we agents think it should be replaced with something simpler. Like nodding your head. Once.”

 

Do Property Agents Cheat?

For the most part, no.

Think about it this way: If a store sets up a display that tempts you into buying, is that cheating? No? Well that’s the level property agents (and any other good salesperson) works on. It’s like a pro-Poker game. They may play dirty, but they never cheat.

So as long as the agent’s properly licensed*, worry less about his bio or tattoos. Focus on his manipulative efforts instead, like:

  • The Contrast Principle
  • Sense of Urgency
  • Fishing
  • The Reciprocity Principle
  • Inflated Interior Design Costs

*Property agents are licensed by the CEA (Council for Estate Agencies). They are required to tell you their license numbers.

 

1. The Contrast Principle

 

Run down house

“And it’s vermin free. The rats left when they got a rash from staying in there. Or we can look at this OTHER unit…”

 

What we’re willing to pay isn’t determined by fixed measurements. Rather, it’s defined by comparisons. Here’s how a property agent would use that:

The agent starts by showing you a house that’s cheap and bad. This is usually a run down mess, or a unit with trendy interior design. Trendy in 1973, that is.

You’ll hang around for maybe 10 minutes, before deciding puke-yellow isn’t an ideal living room colour. Then the agent will whisk you off to another apartment…the one he actually wants to sell. Since your brain’s easily fooled by comparisons, this next place will feel like the Versailles Palace.

Not only will it be easier to sell to you, there’s a chance you’ll offer more.

Solution: Establish a fixed frame for comparisons. Bring some pictures of your ideal house, then compare every unit to that. Not to the previous unit you saw.

 

2. Sense of Urgency

 

“And the negotiation was like a chess game. That is, I wasted his time till he gave up.”

 

This happens all the time in showrooms. Agents will tell you people are already sending in cheques. That all units are selling fast. That prices could go up 10% by the time you’re back from that bathroom break, so you better sign now.

Okay, the agent may not be lying. Sometimes, sales really are brisk; but the wonder of it is you’ll never know. As such, agents will use the “selling fast” speech by default. Even if the launch reception consists of three people, two of whom just want to sit under the air-conditioner, the agent will swear that units are going fast.

Solution: Panic is a leading cause of stupidity. Calm down and ask yourself: Would I want the place if it wasn’t selling out And would you buy at the same price?

 

3. Fishing

 

Fishing boat

Fishing pole? Nah I’m a property agent. I just talk at the water till the fish choose to climb on.

 

This is when fake property listings are used to hook buyers.

The agent puts up a great property listing. Something like “Two storey landed property, only $1 million, comes with Jaguar in driveway”.

After you screw your eyeballs back in their sockets, you call the agent. He verifies it’s not a trick. He takes you to view the property, you love it, and he’ll “call you about your offer this Monday”.

Come Monday, you indeed get a call….to tell you the property’s already sold. He’s so sorry, etc. But hey, he’s got a whole bunch of alternatives to show you.

Obviously, the listed property was never up for sale, at least not at that price. It was just dangled as bait, so you’d get within range of the agent’s deadliest weapon (his mouth). It’s an underhanded way to meet you, dig out your details, and find out what sort of house you’re shopping for.

Congratulations, you just became a lead.

Solution: This isn’t a positive reflection on the agent. If you do go and see his other properties, remember not to be too trusting.

 

4. The Reciprocity Principle

 

“You’re a property agent and I wanted to be practical. So enjoy the ski mask and fake passport.”

 

Reciprocity is the unofficial system of “favour payments”, which we like to call civilization. The problem is, reciprocity doesn’t mix well with finance.

Most of the time, we significantly overpay social favours. How many times have you bought a $5 lunch for a colleague, because he got you an 80 cent cup of coffee?

Yeah. Like any good salesmen, property agents see this as leverage. Sending you all the way home might cost them $40 in petrol, but who cares when it could results in a $50,000 commission? Which is why some property agents pull out all the stops: They’ll take you to nice cafes, send you little presents, etc.

The more favours they do for you, the more guilty you’ll feel if you buy from someone else.

Solution: If your conscience is getting the better of you, refuse all favours. Ensure your decisions are financially sound, not guilt driven.

Incidentally, some property agents will offer to help you get a home loan. Before you take them up, always verify that the loan package is the cheapest (this isn’t their field of expertise.) You can do this for free, on sites like SmartLoans.sg.

(And in case you’re wondering, yes, property agents can get referral fees from banks).

 

5. Inflated Interior Design Costs

 

Cutting steel

“And these toilet pipe fittings were stolen from an advanced alien race.”

 

Resale flat buyers, watch out for this one.

Some property agents will tack inflated values on renovations. They’ll claim it was done by a famous designer, that the marble’s all Italian, and that the new kitchen counters were smelted from the original Holy Grail. They’ll use this to justify added costs, particularly to cash over valuation (COV).

Solution: Take some pictures, and show it to a few design firms. Ask them how much they’d charge for something like that. There are some complex looking renovations that can be quite cheap.

It’s even better if you can get a contractor in, to verify the quality of materials used. And if you still need more on renovation related matters, follow us on Facebook.
Image Credits:
WordRidden, williamcho, Luigi Crespo Photography, Lima Andruska, Hades2k, Charles & Hudson

Run into any property agent scams before? Comment and let us know!

Get more Personal Finance tips and tricks on www.MoneySmart.sg

Click to Compare Singapore Home Loans, Car Insurance and Credit Cards on our other sites.



More From MoneySmart

--

Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.
Loading...
  • Stocks gain after U.S. presidential debate; oil drops
    Stocks gain after U.S. presidential debate; oil drops Reuters - 8 minutes ago

    By Richard Leong NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock prices across major markets rose on Tuesday, led by U.S. technology and consumer sectors following the presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald ... … More »

  • US stocks lifted by consumer data, Clinton debate boost AFP - 9 minutes ago

    US stocks jumped Tuesday following surprisingly good consumer confidence data and a strong performance by Democrat Hillary Clinton in the first US presidential debate. Consumer confidence spiked to 104.1 ... … More »

  • Oil down 3 percent as Saudi, Iran dash hopes for an Algiers deal
    Oil down 3 percent as Saudi, Iran dash hopes for an Algiers deal Reuters - 12 minutes ago

    Oil fell about 3 percent on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia and Iran dashed market hopes that the two major OPEC producers would find a compromise this week at meeting in Algiers to help ease a global glut of crude. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih … More »

  • The top 10 books on Apple's iBooks-US Associated Press - 18 minutes ago

    iBook charts for week ending September 25, 2016 (Rank, Book Title by Author Name, ISBN, Publisher ): iBooks US Bestseller List - Paid Books 1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - 9780698185395 - (Penguin ... … More »

  • Iraq mediating between Saudis and Iran to support oil prices Reuters - 19 minutes ago

    Iraq is carrying out a mediation between Saudi Arabia and Iran to bring about an agreement that would lift crude prices, at a meeting of crude-producing nations in Algiers, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi said on Tuesday. Iran on Tuesday … More »

  • Landec tops Street 1Q forecasts Associated Press - 27 minutes ago

    On a per-share basis, the Menlo Park, California-based company said it had profit of 12 cents. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment ... … More »

  • World Bank unanimously reappoints President Jim Yong Kim
    World Bank unanimously reappoints President Jim Yong Kim AFP News - 29 minutes ago

    The board of the World Bank has unanimously agreed to name Jim Yong Kim to a second term as president, the global lender announced Tuesday. Kim had been the only candidate in a process criticized by World Bank staff and campaigners as lacking in … More »

  • Markets Right Now: US stocks end higher Associated Press - 33 minutes ago

    The latest on developments in global financial markets (all times local): 4:00 p.m. U.S. stocks are closing higher, with many of the biggest gains coming in technology and consumer stocks. Solid quarterly ... … More »

  • Facebook to appeal German order on WhatsApp data
    Facebook to appeal German order on WhatsApp data Reuters - 40 minutes ago

    Facebook (FB.O) said it would appeal against an order by a German privacy regulator on Tuesday to stop collecting and storing data of German users of its messaging app WhatsApp and to delete all data that has already been forwarded to it. The … More »

  • StanChart tells authorities about corruption allegations at Indonesian firm
    StanChart tells authorities about corruption allegations at Indonesian firm Reuters - 41 minutes ago

    LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Standard Chartered (STAN.L) has told "appropriate authorities" about alleged corruption at an Indonesian power plant company majority-owned by its private equity arm, the bank said on Tuesday. The statement came in … More »

  • Grain higher, livestock lower Associated Press - 1 hour 2 minutes ago

    Grain futures were higher Tuesday on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for Dec. gained 8 cents at $4.04 a bushel; Dec. corn was up 2.75 cents to 3.3175 a bushel; Dec. oats rose 3.75 cents at $1.7325 a ... … More »

  • The newest trailer for ‘Battlefield 1’ is breathtaking
    The newest trailer for ‘Battlefield 1’ is breathtaking Business Insider - 1 hour 11 minutes ago

    A new trailer for “Battlefield 1” dropped today … Continued The post The newest trailer for ‘Battlefield 1’ is breathtaking appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

  • Stanford will pay you to attend its business school — but only if you agree to work in the Midwest
    Stanford will pay you to attend its business school — but only if you agree to work in the Midwest Business Insider - 1 hour 12 minutes ago

    Stanford Alumni/Facebook; Jereme Rauckman/Flickr; Melia Robinson/Business Insider A … Continued The post Stanford will pay you to attend its business school — but only if you agree to work in the Midwest appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

  • Microsoft teams with Bank of America on 'blockchain'
    Microsoft teams with Bank of America on 'blockchain' AFP News - 1 hour 33 minutes ago

    Microsoft and Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Tuesday announced they are working together to make financial transactions more efficient with blockchain technology -- the foundation of bitcoin digital currency. Microsoft planned to use its Azure … More »

  • Justice Dept. top national security official to leave post Associated Press - 1 hour 38 minutes ago

    The Justice Department's top national security official is leaving his position next month. John Carlin, who has led the department's national security division since 2014, will be leaving government on ... … More »

  • WHY IT MATTERS: Social Security
    WHY IT MATTERS: Social Security Associated Press - 1 hour 46 minutes ago

    THE ISSUE: More than 60 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children rely on monthly Social Security benefits. That's nearly one in five Americans. The trustees who oversee Social Security ... … More »

  • Wall Street rises in wake of first presidential face-off
    Wall Street rises in wake of first presidential face-off Reuters - 1 hour 46 minutes ago

    By Noel Randewich (Reuters) - Consumer and technology stocks including Amazon led gains on Wall Street on Tuesday as some investors deemed Democrat Hillary Clinton to have won a presidential debate against ... … More »

  • Uber quietly promoted an employee to be its new CFO in January
    Uber quietly promoted an employee to be its new CFO in January Business Insider - 1 hour 47 minutes ago

    REUTERS/Adnan Abidi Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Uber has secretly … Continued The post Uber quietly promoted an employee to be its new CFO in January appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

  • Global stocks bounce after U.S. debate; oil falls
    Global stocks bounce after U.S. debate; oil falls Reuters - 2 hours 9 minutes ago

    By Richard Leong NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock prices across major markets rose on Tuesday, led by gains in the U.S. technology and consumer sectors following the presidential debate between Hillary Clinton ... … More »

  • Colleges lavishing more financial aid on wealthy students
    Colleges lavishing more financial aid on wealthy students Associated Press - 2 hours 18 minutes ago

    Spencer Mulligan knew his family could pay for his college education, even without loans or grants. So when the University of Connecticut offered a merit award of $20,000 over four years, he saw it as ... … More »

  • Consumer companies lead indexes higher; energy drops
    Consumer companies lead indexes higher; energy drops Associated Press - 2 hours 23 minutes ago

    U.S. stocks are climbing Tuesday and consumer stocks are making some of the biggest gains. Solid quarterly results from cruise line operator Carnival are giving travel-related companies a boost. Technology ... … More »

  • Oil down 3 percent as Saudis say no chance for Algiers deal
    Oil down 3 percent as Saudis say no chance for Algiers deal Reuters - 2 hours 25 minutes ago

    By Barani Krishnan NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil fell 3 percent on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia said it did not expect to agree on output cuts at a meeting with other producers in the Algerian capital, although ... … More »

  • OPEC set for no deal as Iran rejects Saudi oil output offer
    OPEC set for no deal as Iran rejects Saudi oil output offer Reuters - 2 hours 28 minutes ago

    Iran rejected on Tuesday an offer from Saudi Arabia to limit its oil output in exchange for Riyadh cutting supply, dashing market hopes the two major OPEC producers would find a compromise this week to help ease a global glut of crude. "The gap (in … More »

  • Amazon has a secret plan to replace FedEx and UPS called ‘Consume the City’
    Amazon has a secret plan to replace FedEx and UPS called ‘Consume the City’ Business Insider - 2 hours 37 minutes ago

    AP Photo/Ted S. Warren Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos … Continued The post Amazon has a secret plan to replace FedEx and UPS called ‘Consume the City’ appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

  • Gusto CEO: We now have 40,000 customers, twice as many as Zenefits
    Gusto CEO: We now have 40,000 customers, twice as many as Zenefits Business Insider - 2 hours 45 minutes ago

    Gusto Gusto CEO Josh Reeves In the race to … Continued The post Gusto CEO: We now have 40,000 customers, twice as many as Zenefits appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

 
Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
 
Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.141+0.003+2.17%
    N21.SI
    3.99+0.03+0.76%
    Z74.SI
    0.155+0.003+1.97%
    AFC.SI
    0.740.000.00%
    BS6.SI
    0.275+0.010+3.77%
    5ME.SI
  • % Gainers
    % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.133+0.020+17.70%
    5PF.SI
    0.19+0.03+15.85%
    AWI.SI
    1.48+0.16+12.12%
    S91.SI
    0.198+0.020+11.24%
    M14.SI
    0.60+0.05+9.09%
    AZA.SI
  • % Losers
    % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.255-0.110-30.14%
    AZT.SI
    0.56-0.18-24.32%
    5VJ.SI
    0.395-0.070-15.05%
    K1Q.SI
    0.162-0.028-14.74%
    BGO.SI
    0.122-0.020-14.08%
    569.SI

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1.3594-0.0008-0.06%
    USDSGD=X
    1.5249-0.0054-0.35%
    EURSGD=X
    1.7691+0.0063+0.36%
    GBPSGD=X
    73.8100+0.086+0.12%
    SGDJPY=X
    5.7030+0.0037+0.06%
    SGDHKD=X
    3.0385+0.0043+0.14%
    SGDMYR=X
    9,526.9111-51.9111-0.54%
    SGDIDR=X
    4.9007-0.0011-0.02%
    SGDCNY=X
    1.0422+0.0036+0.35%
    AUDSGD=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1,331.10-13.00-0.97%
    GCZ16.CMX
    19.22-0.38-1.92%
    SIZ16.CMX
    92.98-1.47-1.55%
    ^XAU
    2.17-0.02-1.11%
    HGZ16.CMX
    43.85+0.41+0.94%
    CLV16.NYM
  • Bonds
    Bonds
    TreasuryYield (%)Yield Change
    1.11-0.02
    ^FVX
    1.56-0.03
    ^TNX
    2.28-0.05
    ^TYX