Regulatory reforms in the property industry are long overdue and it’s time that the government addresses the concerns of real estate buyers and sellers.

Two years ago, my relative hired a property agent to sell her flat, but she eventually noticed that every time a prospective buyer visits the property, she was always accompanied by her agent. Apparently, the agent wanted to take every opportunity to get commissions.

I thought that holding an open house event was a good idea, but we were disappointed by the agent’s violent response to my proposal. Eventually, I phoned the agent and pretended to be a property agent. As expected, this agent declined to co-broke and even claimed that the property was on hold. It’s quite apparent that co-brokering will decrease the chance of agents getting commission, which in turn forces them to compromise the interest of their clients.

My second experience with unethical brokers also involved conflicts of interest. I got a broker to help me find a property; at the same time I was checking print ads for attractive offers. When I asked my broker to inquire about these advertisements, the sellers’ agents always said that the property was on hold or not sold through co-brokers. However, when I called these agents myself, they were more than willing to arrange property visits at any time I wanted.

The lack of sales ethics in real estate brokering warrants serious attention. I propose that the government create a commission or agency responsible for hearing complaints against unethical brokers. Moreover, brokers who deliberately discourage co-brokering to protect their commercial interests at the expense of sellers or buyers should be fined or deprived of license.