Useful answers to questions about property transactions and estate agents’ services frequently asked by consumers.
The EAA encourages consumers to sign the estate agency agreement with the estate agent as the agreement will state clearly key terms of the appointment such as the validity period of the agreement, the agency relationship and the amount of the commission. Doing so will enhance the transparency of the transaction and help protect the interests of both parties.
The EAA would like to remind consumers that the validity period is an important term in an agreement. Therefore, they should not put down “until further notice” as the expiry date of the validity period. Instead, the commencement and expiry dates of the agreement should be clearly stated.
Regarding whether the validity period can be shortened, an estate agency agreement is a legally binding document, so if you wish to amend any clauses in the agreement (e.g. the validity period), you must obtain the consent of the other party: that is, the estate agency.
If the estate agency disagrees with cutting short the validity period, you are advised to seek legal advice for a solution. You should not, without seeking legal advice, purchase the property through another estate agency when the agreement is still valid, as you may have to pay commission to both estate agencies as a result.
If the estate agency does not agree to cancel the exclusive agreement, you should seek legal advice on the way forward. You should not sell your property through another estate agency prior to the expiry of the agreement and without seeking legal advice, as you may have to pay commission to both estate agencies as a result.
In other words, even if you purchase the property direct from the landlord, as long as the purchase is made during the validity period of the agreement, you are legally obliged to pay commission to your appointed estate agent.
However, if you sell the property to the purchaser direct instead of your exclusive agency or another estate agency, you do not need to pay commission to your exclusive agency.
Information listed in the Property Information Form includes ownership, subsisting encumbrances (if any), the floor area, year of completion and user restrictions of the property.
The EAA also encourages consumers to obtain from the agent a copy of all the documents they have signed.
Video of the EAA’s online seminar on “Be vigilant to the risks before purchasing off-plan properties outside Hong Kong” (in Cantonese only)