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Email from a Landlord:

Hi Judy,

I saw your informative and dynamic web site, and was really impressed. It is really good to find a website with good content as well.

I have a question for you. I want to rent out my condo, but want to do it on my own. So I am taking out ads in the news paper myself. Now if an agent contacts me and brings over someone to view the flat, do I have to pay brokerage to the agent. I feel that since I did not engage the agent myself, and the agent has been engaged by the client/tenant, the client should be paying whatever to the agent, and not me. Anyway, I am the one who is paying for the ads in the paper and doing things on my own.

Please advice what you think is correct. Thanks.


The Landlord must make it clear and tell the caller (the realtor) that NO commissions will be paid on success. Most likely the realtor will NOT bother to include the Landlord's listings in this case since there are many "fishes" in the sea as at March 2002.  This means that the Landlord loses out on a prospect of getting his apartment occupied early and generating revenue. 

In Singapore, many expatriates use the realtor to source out several apartments as service provided is free of charge. 

Most owners pay the standard commission and welcome agents. Therefore, it does not sound wise to save on that amount unless the property is so "hot" that expatriates call you directly and unless all owners or almost all owners adopt the same policy.

All agents should ask whether the Landlord pay the standard commission. There are Landlords who pay only half the commission or deduct the advertising fees and other expenses after the case is closed or after the expatriate shows interest. This is not ethical but then, it takes all sorts to make this world.

You invest in an investment condos. Don't forget that you must maximise returns on investment. Due to your policy of discouraging realtors from viewing the apartment, you have fewer prospects seeing your apartment. 

You are limited to direct calls and you may not like the choices of the prospective tenants. In the end, it is best just to pay the standard agent's commission and get the apartment rented out earlier to save you the time (time is money) of going up and down to show the unit and to get cash in your pocket.

Landlords should be aware that their agent may NOT be sharing the commission payable by you if the rental is less than $2,500. This has the same effect as you not paying the agent's commission to the Tenant's realtor.  You will have to resolve this problem if you want your investment condo to rent out faster.