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How will HDB's self-listing portal impact the need for real estate agents?

Sellers just need a valid Intent to sell to list their flats independently.

Through HDB's Resale Flat Listing (RFL) service, sellers can list their flats independently. However, experts believe many will continue to engage real estate agents despite this new option.

"In an evolving property market, real estate salespersons can provide customised property market insights, highlight suitable opportunities, vet interested parties, go through the sums with clients, and inform them of any potential pitfalls, based on their wealth of experience in transacting properties," PropNex said.

"Additionally, property agents are also equipped with a wide range of digital tools to help clients assess sales and price trends, as well as to market properties more efficiently," PropNex added.

OrangeTee shared a similar sentiment, saying the older generation unfamiliar with technology or consumers who lack knowledge in managing property sales may still prefer having a sales agent or broker to advise them on selling.

"Buying and selling a property is not merely an administrative process, especially since it involves a significant amount of money," OrangeTee said.

"Along with using a reliable platform, buyers and sellers must understand other sales aspects to ensure a successful transaction, which includes sales negotiation, awareness of buying and selling regulations, avoiding sales pitfalls, and arranging viewings," OrangeTee added.

OrangeTee added that not all sellers want to deal with sales matters.

"Some may also require assistance in the paperwork and documentation. Moreover, some individuals may prefer to maintain their anonymity and keep their contact information private, preferring to have agents to act as intermediaries in such cases," OrangeTee added.

Whilst the service has its drawbacks, it also offers many advantages.

According to Huttons, the flat listing portal will boost transparency in the market.

"Using SingPass to log in, the owners' details are verified. Buyers can be assured that they are dealing with the owner. Owners are assured that the buyers have a valid HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) before viewing the flat. As there can be only one listing for each flat, there will not be duplicate listings, saving buyers and salespersons time," Huttons said.

OrangeTee said having sellers submit a valid intent to sell and buyers having an HFE letter ensures "that the platform filters out buyers and sellers who have no real intention to transact, providing a more efficient and trustworthy service for all parties involved."

"It is expected to enhance market transparency as all listings will be closely monitored," OrangeTee added.

Huttons and OrangeTee also believe that the portal will streamline the buying and selling process, allowing for a faster transaction period.,

"By incorporating machine learning, the need for manual labour and paperwork can be reduced, making it easier and faster to close deals. This approach also supports environmental sustainability by minimizing the need for excessive manpower," OrangeTee commented.

Lastly, OrangeTee believes the platform may stabilise market and price dynamics.

"The new listing platform may prevent price manipulation and manage price hikes. The new system allows each seller to post only one flat listing. In contrast, other online platforms may display multiple listings of the same unit with varying prices or marketed by different agents," OrangeTee said.

"This can create a false perception that the area is in high demand and many units are up for sale in the same location, leading to inflated prices if buyers believe they have chosen the lowest-priced unit among several listings," OrangeTee said.

The system's feature, notifying sellers if their listing price exceeds the highest transacted price of nearby units of the same flat type by 10% or more in the past six months, will also help reduce sudden price spikes in specific locations.

"The careful monitoring and flagging of unrealistic pricing can ensure that asking prices align more closely to price trends or valuations in the vicinity," OrangeTee commented.

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