6. As a purchaser, must I sign an estate agency agreement when I ask an agent to show me a flat?
With reference to section 45 of the Estate Agents Ordinance, you and your agent must sign an agency agreement before you purchase (or inspect) a residential property. Otherwise, the agent cannot serve you.
The Estate Agency Agreement for Purchase of Residential Properties in Hong Kong (Form 4) is designed for Purchasers . This agreement is provided by the Estate Agents Authority in accordance with the Estate Agents Ordinance. It must be duly signed by you and your agent. The items contained in this agency agreement include: the duties of the agent, the commission payable by the purchaser and the validity period of that agreement, etc.
You can download "Form 4" at Estate Agents Authority's webpage. You should read this agreement carefully before you sign it. If you do not understand any part of it, ask the agent or your solicitor. You should ask your agent to give you a copy of the agreement you have signed. You should also keep the agreement in a safe place for future reference if needed.
The estate agency agreement aims to provide protection to purchasers of residential properties who are mostly persons without much legal knowledge about property transactions. If you wish to purchase a non-residential property (such as commercial or industrial property) through an agent without signing an estate agency agreement, you still have protection from the statute laws of Hong Kong (e.g. the Estate Agents Ordinance), the regulations imposed by the Estate Agents Authority (e.g. the Code of Ethics), and Common Law. Nevertheless, your agent may ask you to sign an estate agency agreement. Since the Estate Agents Authority does not provide any recommended agreement form for non-residential property, you should read the agreement carefully before you sign it. If you have any questions, ask the agent or your solicitor.