Property Transactions: Should You DIY or Engage A Property Agent?

With the prevalence of online portals dedicated to facilitating property transactions, it is now common to hear of a friend or a relative who have sold their property without engaging a property agent. The availability and transparency of data online regarding property prices, condition and accessibility make it all the more attractive to save on the costs of commission and manage the process of buying and selling of properties yourself. So, should you DIY or engage a property agent?

But what are the risks involved in doing so? Will there be legal repercussions that would cost you more than paying for a property agent’s commission or losing a potential deal due to a lack of information and experience?

Here are some considerations you should give some thought to before deciding:

Knowledge of Regulations and Transactional Processes

Under the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) guidelines, licensed property estate agents have to pass the Real Estate Agency (REA) examination as well as attend yearly courses in order to renew their licence. This makes them better equipped to ensure that your transaction falls within standard regulations and to protect you from legal ramifications.

That being said, it is possible for the average buyer/seller to familiarise themselves with such rules and regulations, albeit a little difficult and time-consuming. A simple google search will provide most of the resources needed as well as some insider’s tips-and-tricks to help you ensure that the process is streamlined and hassle-free. However, do take note that the paperwork involved may get overwhelming and little mistakes here and there may cost you a hefty sum to resolve. 

DIY or engage a property agent _2

Advertising and Listings

For those looking to DIY, online platforms such as, PropertyGuru and Ohmyhome are some ways to list your property and attract interested buyers. Such platforms are relatively straightforward and get tons of traffic each day. Some also offer complementary services ranging from financial advisory to home renovations that can enhance the experience of home-selling. 

For buyers, such platforms offer a wide variety of properties to choose from and selections can be narrowed down through filtering listings based on location, size and price. The abundance of choice on these platforms will guarantee that you can find listings within your liking. 

If you are to DIY or engage a property agent, where do estate agents play a role?

There are some platforms that non-licensed agents and DIY sellers do not have access to without paying a subscription fee. This limits your exposure and affects the potential offers you might receive. Furthermore, established estate agents will likely have his own database of trusted and screened sellers and buyers and can tap on fellow agents’ pool of connections if required. 

Screening and Coordination: Property Agent

A huge advantage of engaging a property agent is that coordination between buyers and sellers can be made more streamlined. If you are someone working a full-time job, it would be quite a disturbance for your phone and emails to be blowing up with people, potential buyers or not, inquiring about the property. With a property agent acting as a middle-man, enquiries can be dealt with and only those truly interested in the property would be allowed an open house. This will save you plenty of time and plenty of headaches. 

In the same frame, estate agents can help with screening of the parties involved in the transaction. As a seller, there is a need to ensure that the buyer you are keen on selling to is able to finance the property. This includes checking the buyer’s financial position, whether a loan from the bank has been secured and eligibility of the prospective buyer before turning down other potential buyers. A buyer, on the other hand, needs to check for caveats to the property, the seller’s financial position and the background and condition of the property. Such processes can add even more paperwork and applications to an already complex process.

Negotiation and Dispute Settlement

Negotiations regarding the sale price of the property and the contracts’ terms are something that can be DIY-ed, given that one has honed their negotiation skills elsewhere and has evidence backing their claims about the property. But for the majority of us who have never needed to negotiate in such a high-stake deal, it may be in our favour to seek professional help from property agents. 

For many, selling their property can become a very emotional process. Some buyers may try to low-ball you and pick out all the negative things in your property to justify their low offers. This can lead to instant rejection of their offers and cause you to lose out on an opportunity. Perhaps it would have been better to propose a counter-offer.

Still thinking whether to DIY or engage a property agent?

DIY or engage a property agent _3

Having an expert or a professional on your side who has no emotional attachment to the property and can deal at an arm’s length can help you secure a fairer deal or a better outcome agreeable by both parties. All parties can be spared from a possibly long and drawn-out negotiation that is unnecessarily taxing. 

Not every selling or buying motivation is the same and in some cases, it might be worthwhile to skip on the middleman. What we hope you can take away is that property transactions are a lot of work. Sometimes, even engaging property agents is a risk in itself; some agents that are not experienced enough or do not have your best interests in mind, which can lead to minor or major inconveniences. 

It is quintessential that you are either prepared to commit time and effort into selling your property yourself or do sufficient background research before engaging a property agent. 

Unsure about how to pick a suitable property agent? Here are some of our articles that can help you out!

Daniel Ong
Share this article

Receive FREE updates on changes in property prices & mortgage