In the bid to clean up under-table dealings and coercing sellers or buyers to buy a property, it is now illegal to offer any form of gifts, cash back to clients to entice them into a real estate transaction.I think any form of referral fee that we receive from banks or renovation company for recommending them should be reported to the client. If I were the buyer or seller I would feel that the property agent is earning additional income from the referral and it is actually coming out from my pocket. So from their perspective it isn’t such a great feeling.
Gifting is not allowed by Property agents, but Property developers and their sales staff may do so. There is a double standard. As consumers may not be aware of such ruling, I hope my post will help in raising awareness of this. Below is the notice received just today on this matter.
The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) has observed that there is a rising trend of estate agents and salespersons offering free gifts (eg. electronic devices or furniture) or cash vouchers to induce consumers to make use of their services. This matter was referred to in para 2(d) of the Licensing Circular LC 9-12 dated 1 August 2012.
2. Using free gifts or cash vouchers to induce consumers to engage an estate agent and/or salesperson’s service is an undesirable practice, and is a form of cash-back. The practice is also not in line with CEA’s goal of raising the professionalism of the estate agency industry. Hence, please be informed that with immediate effect, estate agents and salespersons are not to advertise or offer any free gifts, including cash or cash vouchers, to consumers or clients.