Commission Rebates are Threatening Quality of Services

買樓回佣問題多 服務到位不可少

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買樓回佣問題多 服務到位不可少

Ever since the government introduced a series of cooling measures, sales in the primary housing market have been continuously taking up more market shares. New developments hold huge appeal for buyers partly because they can get a mortgage directly from the developers with a significantly reduced payment; meanwhile, zero commission from the buyer's end is another strong selling point.

However, commission rebate has become a popular market trend in recent years. While welcomed by buyers, it's understandably resented by real estate agents, who see it as an exploitation of their hard work. Full disclosure: I work in a real estate agency, and we make our living through commissions, so of course agencies are against rebates. That said, I don't think we should avoid discussing this issue.

Many people are mistaken in thinking that commission rebate is illegal. In actual fact, it is not against law for an agency to offer buyers a rebate for primary market sales. However, giving rebates to a third party may violate the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, unless it is with the knowledge and approval of the buyer. For example, if someone deliberately arranges for their company to purchase a property through a specific agency, and subsequently receives a rebate from said agency as reward, it constitutes as an illegal act. Consequently, although it is technically legal to do so, some developers do have rules against agencies offering commission rebates, and agents are reluctant to give legal rebates in a very public manner.

Commission rebates can lead to unpleasant experiences for real estate agents. A typical scenario would be that of an agent spending months hunting down different developments with a client, and the client losing the lucky draw multiple times despite the agent's time and effort. In the end, the agent suggests the client select from the leftover homes of a new development, so that they can own a home without having to go through the lucky draw. The client follows this piece of advice, but, lured by promises of commission rebate, goes to another agent when buying the home. One can only imagine what it would feel like to be the agent who put in the work but got abandoned at the last minute.

Every home buyer should understand that a reliable, professional and ethical real estate agent is crucial to finding a dream home. If the rebate trend continues, good agents will be slowly driven out of the business as their unethical competitors dominate the market, which, ultimately does not bode well for clients either. It's also very possible for deceptive agents to lure in clients with commission rebates (that can sometimes be even higher the developer's commission) then refuse to deliver on their big promises after closing the deal using various excuses. This is a vicious cycle that can potentially drive the industry to ruin.

I believe that most home buyers out there are reasonable clients willing to reward good service, instead of only caring about saving money through commission rebates. On the other hand, real estate agents should ask themselves whether the quality of their services are deserving of the commissions they charge. It is only through mutual understanding and respect that the industry can grow.

自從政府不斷推出辣招,一手住宅市場的成交份額不斷上升,影響力越來越大,一手新盤對買家的吸引點,除了可以直接找發展商貸款,令首期大減之外,買家免佣,也是其賣點之一。

不過,市場有一種買家回佣風氣,越來越普遍,地產代理從業員對此恨之入骨,感覺被剝削,實人之常情。首先要利益申報,筆者也是業界一份子,公司也靠佣金營運,當然不會歡迎回佣的出現。不過,筆者也覺得大家不應該迴避去討論這個問題。

首先,不少人誤解回佣必定是違法行為,在一手物業買賣的背景下,如果代理回佣給買家,並不違法,但若果回佣給第三者,除非買家知悉及同意,否則就有可能違反「防止賄賂條例」。舉個例子,收受回佣者是買家公司的職員,故意安排買家經某代理購入物業,從中收取回佣,就是違法。另一方面,直接回佣給買家,雖然並不違法,也可能觸犯某些發展商對代理不可回佣的規定,所以代理也不願意高調進行合法的回佣。

市場上確實也有一些不幸的事件,首先客戶跟某代理視察過不同樓盤,曆時數個月,雖然代理花了不少時間及心機,但經過多次入票,都未必成功抽中,於是建議客人購買貨尾盤,就不用抽籤,最後客人因其他代理提供回佣,跟其他代理買了貨尾盤,被遺棄的代理,心理又如何平衡。

每位客戶都應該明白,一個有信用、專業及服務到位的代理,對客人購買一個合適的單位很重要,若這種回佣風氣持續下去,「劣幣驅逐良幣」,市場上只會充斥著不良手法的代理,這對客戶也不是好事。不良手法的代理,往往利用回佣吸引客人,爭奪生意,甚至回佣金額比發展商佣金還要高,但待成交後,代理就用各種藉口拒絕履行之前的承諾,這種惡性循環,只會令行業沉淪。

筆者相信大部份買家都是合情合理的人,代理提供服務,如果服務到位,客戶會體諒代理的工作,不會只靠回佣多少作標準。代理也應該反省自己的服務,又是否能夠讓客戶體驗到你的價值,才能共建雙贏,行業才會進步。

Eric Lee 李峻銘 Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Century 21 Goodwin Property Consultants主席及行政總裁 - 世紀21奇豐物業顧問行

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