Buying or renting your new home is an exciting time. While you might be focusing on the location, design of the house, and monthly maintenance costs, don’t forget about the commission fees that you will have to pay to the agency.

In Singapore, the average commission cost is between zero and two percent, depending on the type of apartment and whether you rent or buy.

For example, HDB homes could charge buyers a percent commission, while private homes may not have any additional commission fees.

While these fees seem small, they could run into thousands of dollars. Below are a few things to keep in mind so that you can pay the lowest amount of commission when buying or renting real estate.

1. Know the fees you may have to pay

While there is no standard commission rate, there are rules that should be followed in accepting a fair price. For example, if your monthly rent is less than $ 3,500 and you are only there for a year, expect to pay around half of your monthly rent as commission on the purchase of the apartment.

If your rent is $ 3,500 or less and you rent the home for two years, you may have to pay a monthly rent. If you don’t have an agent in either case, you might not have to pay a commission. The landlord is responsible for paying the agency commission fees.

Buyers may also have to pay a brokerage fee. In Singapore, the commission for buying an HDB resale apartment is typically one percent. Alternatively, if you’re buying a private property that either hasn’t landed (i.e. condominium) or landed, you likely won’t have to pay a commission.

2. Compare the agencies to get the best price

One way to reduce the amount you have to pay is to compare agency fees. If you can’t find anything online, ask some vendors about their commission rates for an apartment in your budget range. Each percentage increase in fees makes a huge difference.

For example, if you buy an apartment for $ 250,000 and one agency charges two percent and the other charges four percent, the agency charges you an additional $ 5,000 commission for higher costs. If their services aren’t worth $ 5,000, your best bet is to go with the cheaper agency.

In addition, knowing the agency’s competition rates can even be used as a lever if you decide to negotiate with an agency.

ALSO READ: 3 Common Lies Real Estate Agents Tell You

3. Negotiate fees

Another way to lower your commission costs is to negotiate the fees. As mentioned earlier, once you’ve found other agencies that offer similar services at lower tariffs, you can use these as leverage to keep track of which agency you prefer.

In addition, if you are selling your property to buy a new one, you can use it as leverage to get a lower commission fee for each service. If you are a little more shy about negotiating the price, try using a mediator to aid in the process.

Other fees to consider

You should also inquire about Goods and Services Tax (GST) as it may or may not be included in your negotiated commission fee. Note, however, that only GST-registered agents are allowed to calculate GST.

4. Consider being your own agent

Finally, if you can only find agencies that charge fees that are beyond your budget, you can consider being your own agent. Of course, this should only be done if you have any legal knowledge or experience of renting or buying property in Singapore.

This is because fixing paperwork errors can be an extra hassle that you don’t want to be stressed about when moving.

However, if you’re your own agent, you can save anywhere from 1 percent to 5 percent on commission fees, depending on how much an agency charges for the service. While this could mean thousands more in your pocket, be careful before you skip out on a real estate agent.

If you cut your costs, you can save in the long run

Whether you are renting for the foreseeable future or getting a mortgage to buy a house, implementing smart money management will help you in the long run.

For example, comparing agencies, negotiating commission fees, and potentially becoming your own real estate agent can give you the experience to get the most out of your housing costs.

This article was first published in ValueChampion.