The following are excerpts from the new book, Secrets of Singapore Property Gurus, which features the rich experiences of the 'gurus' in the market. The author's interview with Mohd Ismail, CEO of PropNex, threw up the following insights:

A GOOD real estate agent adds value to the investor’s assets through sound advice on property investment and reliably facilitating an investor’s property investments.

He/she should be able to understand the needs of the investor and match these needs to the most appropriate property for investment, thus helping them to achieve their (financial) objectives.

A professional agent can greatly aid you with his or her expertise and knowledge, and thus protect your interests. Besides arranging and coordinating the viewings, he would also negotiate the price with your best interest at heart.

Specifically, the things a good agent will do for you include:

• Marketing of properties, conducting open houses, publicising the property in the MLS (Multiple Listings Service) and traditional and online media

• Qualifying prospective customers to ensure that they are able and ready to transact the deal


• Doing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for your property

• Acting as an intermediary in negotiations between buyers and sellers

• Arrange for moving in, moving out, early renovation, and opening of utility accounts for tenants in rental deals

• Coordinating appointments with lawyers, bankers and HDB resale officers

• Preparing all the necessary documents such as Option To Purchase (OTP), resale application, inventory list, letter of intent, and tenancy agreement

• Facilitating the closing of the deal and witnessing the signing of documents

• Doing the financial calculation and computation of sale proceeds for sellers, and checking the financial requirements for the buyers

One way of finding such an agent would be through reliable company websites. But investors should also meet up with the agent and ask him/her to make a presentation to gauge his/her sincerity and knowledge, and to ascertain whether a working chemistry exists between the two before hiring him/her.

Some of the things you might ask him/her during the interview include: his/her years of experience, knowledge of the current market situation, understanding of policies, ability to work out the financial metrics for your investment, and his desire to serve.

An agent with only one year’s worth of experience but equipped with good knowledge and a lot of enthusiasm may do an even better job than a veteran with ten years of experience but who is too busy to personally serve you.

In Secrets of Singapore Property Gurus Mohamed Ismail also shares:

* Trends he’s seeing in the market

* Impact of the fourth round of measures and forecast for 2011

* The biggest mistakes property investors make

* Promising areas for property investors

* Should you buy an HDB flat or private property?

* Should you do an Addition & Alteration (A&A) or demolish and rebuild a landed property?

* Investing in commercial property

* His personal investment philosophy and track record

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