The recent ease of the Singapore property cooling measure has made property transactions less costly for prospective buyers and sellers, and some companies are trying to further reduce that cost by cutting out one of the biggest transaction expenses – the agent’s commission.
I’ve written in the past on companies such as DirectHomes and OhMyHome, and since last month, there’s a new kid on the block – Stacked Homes. Like the former two, Stacked Homes is a property portal that helps connect home buyers and sellers directly, nixing the agent and the agent’s commissions. “Popular property portals like PropertyGuru and 99.co give agents all the power,” said Stacked Homes co-founder Druce Teo. Yet performing the transaction yourself – the viewings, the paperwork – is not all that difficult. But in Singapore, the FSBO (for-sale-by-owner) scene isn’t as developed as elsewhere, such as the US.
What is the Difference Between the 3 FSBO Property Portals?
OhMyHome is a FSBO portal only for HDB flats. As a freemium model, it’s free to list and use the portal, but if you require some assistance or even a full-service agent, you are charged a flat fee. DirectHome includes both HDB and private property, but their strength is really in rental transactions. It’s only $80 to list your property for rent ($800 for listing to sell), and you don’t pay until your transaction is complete. Stacked Homes includes sales listings for both HDB flats and private property (no rentals), and the portal is beautifully designed and easy to navigate. They pride themselves with providing professional-looking photos and 360° virtual 3D tours where you can view the property layout and get a real sense of what it’s like to walk-through the property and live in it.
Why you might Consider Using Stacked Homes?
As a Seller: For a limited time, the listing is completely free. And in my opinion, their listings are top-notch. The free listing includes professional photography and their virtual tour. There’s a pricing assistant that helps you value your home based on recent sales transactions. It’s also easy to directly converse with potential buyers using their portal.
As a Buyer: Stacked Homes has a step-by-step guide for both parties that is very comprehensive and easy to understand. It’s also easy to navigate their site and you can tell they put a lot of thought into user experience. You can trust the info on their listings as they are verified through SLA. You also might be able to negotiate a better deal, knowing that the seller has saved money from not having to pay commission.
The Best of Both Worlds?
If you’re thinking of selling your property, and are not sure whether you should engage an agent or seek a lower-cost alternative, you can possibly do both. You can still list your home with any of these FSBO portals so long as you are not in an exclusive agreement with an agent. If you or one of these portals, say Stacked Homes, procures a buyer (and you are in a non-exclusive agent agreement), then you won’t have to pay commission to the non-exclusive agent. And if you are listing your home on Stacked Homes, I would also recommend you list it in other alternative sites such as Craigslist, Gumtree, and Carousell (why not, they’re free too).
As someone who has performed my own property transactions (in the US), I am comfortable with doing my own research, reading the contract, and taking some personal risk to save money buying and selling property. But, many prospective home buyers and sellers may still want or have a need for a property agent given the high stakes involved and the complexity of the transaction. These platforms and services give buyers and sellers additional options, and put pressure on property agents to deliver more value to their clients. Agents often say to prospective buyers, “caveat emptor”, but agents who can’t deliver value like Stacked Homes will have to say this to themselves.