Singapore: Realtors imprisoned for 23 weeks and fined S $ 11,000 on Thursday (June 9) for tricking both buyers and sellers of Housing and Development Board (HDB) apartments into receiving double fees. I was told.
Earlier this month, Toh Yew Hock, 52, pleaded guilty to one charge of a dual agent under the Real Estate Agent (Real Estate Agent Business) Regulations, counting one trust breach and one fraudulent activity each. I did.
He was a salesperson registered with PropNex Realty at the time of the crime. A prosecutor at the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) told the court that his registration would expire at the end of the year.
The prosecution said the crime was “totally coincidental” because Mr. Toh was late for inspection of the apartment and was able to talk face-to-face with the buyer and seller.
In April 2018, a couple who owned a flat engaged Toh to represent them in the sale of the flat. It was advertised online for S $ 820,000.
The following month, an interested buyer came across an ad and contacted Toh to arrange viewing.
On May 21, 2018, Toh told him that after the owner received an offer of S $ 810,000, he suspended all subsequent viewing. This was not true.
To ensure viewing, the interested buyer matched the offer of S $ 810,000 and offered to pay Toh a 3% agency fee, including a 1% buyer fee and a 2% seller fee.
The buyer got the impression that Toh represented him in the sale as he hired him to do so. They later signed a real estate agency agreement on June 15, 2018.
He saw the flat on May 24, 2018, after which Toh advised him to increase the offer, saying the seller had previously rejected a similar offer.
The buyer raised his offer to S $ 820,000, but this time he did not offer to pay the seller’s commission. He also issued a crosscheck of S $ 1,000 to cover the option fee and handed it to Toe and handed it to the seller.
The seller has accepted the S $ 820,000 offer and issued an option to buy the next day.
Toh informed the buyer that his offer was accepted, but lied that the seller had added it provided that the seller paid half of the seller’s fees. In fact, there was no such situation.
The buyer was reluctant and negotiated with Toh to pay a fee of S $ 15,000 instead. It consisted of a 1% commission for the buyer and half the 2% commission for the seller minus S $ 1,400 as a discount.
Cash over evaluation
According to the June 11, 2018 assessment report, the value of the flat is S $ 760,000, which is about S $ 60,000 lower than the accepted offer. Therefore, the buyer must pay cash in excess of the valuation of S $ 60,000.
The buyer forwarded the report to Toe, informing the agent that he was not upset or worried about the rating. He had nothing to show that he couldn’t afford the additional S $ 60,000.
But about two weeks later, Toh called the seller and lied that the buyer was having a hard time securing a bank loan because of Flat’s poor reputation.
He also said that the buyer could only pay S $ 20,000 in cash above the valuation. This wasn’t true either.
Toe said he would try to solve the situation. The next day he called his seller and offered to sell the flat for S $ 790,000 instead. This is S $ 30,000 cheaper than the accepted offer.
The seller had already paid the option fee for the new property and had to generously agree to this arrangement and sell the apartment immediately to fund the new purchase.
On June 15, 2018, Toh and Buyers met to complete the sale.
Toh lied that the seller urgently needed cash, so the remaining S $ 4,000 of the option exercise fee should be paid by cash check. The buyer deposited the check in Toe, but he abused it.
Toe then met the seller and lied that he had negotiated with the buyer to buy the flat for S $ 797,800.
This estimated price was below the S $ 820,000 price listed in the purchase options, so Toh suggested to the seller how to account for the S $ 22,200 difference.
He lied that the buyer requested an S $ 4,000 exemption and an S $ 10,000 “refund”. He also lied that the buyer asked the seller to pay a buyer’s fee of S $ 8,200.
The overall effect of this was to allow Toe to hold a cash check for S $ 4,000 for himself while enjoying twice the share of the buyer’s fees, said Deputy Prosecutor Joshua. Bread said.
The seller was worried and asked Toe if he could modify or reissue the purchase option to reflect the new lower selling price. But Mr Toh said this could delay the selling process and prevent buyers from exercising options to buy before they expire.
According to court documents, the seller did not want the sale to fail, so he agreed with Toe.
Toe kept a cash check for S $ 4,000 for himself. He gave the buyer a “refund” of S $ 10,000, and the seller was sick of Flat’s low rating and insisted he wanted to compensate him.
After that, Toe received a commission of S $ 15,000 from the buyer.
The crime was discovered on August 18, 2018 during a flat inspection. Toe was supposed to be there, but he was late.
In his absence, the buyer and seller began discussing the sale and found that they both paid Toe the buyer’s commission.
When Toh arrived, they confronted him about this. The buyer also found that the seller did not receive a check for S $ 4,000.
Mr. Toh admitted that he maintained S $ 4,000, but “he deserved it because he worked hard and met the expectations of the parties by closing the deal at the agreed price,” a court document said. rice field.
Buyers and sellers have reported these events to CEA and PropNex.
Toh paid the buyer S $ 15,000 and the seller S $ 4,000 in full compensation via PropNex. The agency has also exempted the agent’s fees payable in the transaction.
Mr. Pan said Toe’s crime was deliberate and “calculated carefully to exploit the asymmetry of information between the victims of his buyers and sellers in order to maximize his personal interests. It was done. “
After the case was heard, CEA reminded consumers that agents cannot collect fees on behalf of both buyers and sellers, or both tenants and landlords, in the same real estate transaction.
The council said, “Since it is impossible for an agent to act in the best interests of both parties, a double representative creates a conflict of interests.”
However, the agent with the consent of the client can help the other party’s paperwork. The CEA needs to make it clear to everyone involved that the agent is not acting on behalf of the other party.
He added that the fee should be paid to the real estate agent, not the agent, after the transaction is completed.
Neither realtors nor agents are allowed to process transaction fees, including option fees that consumers themselves have to process.