To best meet the needs of our users while accommodating the wide variety of laws governing the sale of real estate across the globe, eBay offers advertisements of real estate in a variety of formats. These Real Estate Rules explain these format offerings, clarify eBay's limited role as a publisher of advertising and venue provider, and outline certain limitations on eBay's obligations and liabilities. Your use of the eBay Real Estate Pages confirms your agreement to these rules.
eBay Real Estate Inc.
Real estate advertising services on eBay are offered by eBay Real Estate Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of eBay Inc. On eBay's site and in these Rules, this company is referred to as "eBay Real Estate".
Due to the wide variety of laws governing the sale of real estate, eBay Real Estate auction-style advertisements of real property do not involve legally binding offers to buy and sell. Instead, eBay Real Estate's listings are simply a way for sellers to advertise their real estate and meet potential buyers. eBay is commonly referred to as an online auction Web site. However, eBay Real Estate is not a traditional "auctioneer". eBay Real Estate is not involved in the actual transaction between buyers and sellers and, as a result, has no control over the quality, safety or legality of the properties advertised, the truth or accuracy of the postings, the ability of sellers to sell items or the ability of buyers to buy items. eBay cannot ensure that a buyer or seller will actually complete a transaction.
The applicable Singapore law depends on the type of property being bought or sold. For example, the sale of commercial properties is regulated by the Sale of Commercial Properties Act (Cap 281) - opens in new window or tab, whilst the sale of Housing Development Board (HDB) flats or executive condominiums are under the purview of the HDB - opens in new window or tab. The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) - opens in new window or tab is the main governmental body in charge of land registration in Singapore. It provides the public with access to the Land Register containing particulars of registered property transactions for private lands in Singapore.
Members should note that there are restrictions on foreign ownership of private residential property in Singapore. This is governed by the Residential Property Act (Cap 274) - opens in new window or tab which is administered by the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit. In particular, foreign persons (including natural persons, companies and societies) are restricted from purchasing:
- vacant residential land;
- landed property [i.e., detached house, semi-detached house, terrace house (including linked house or townhouse)]; and
- landed property in strata developments which are not approved condominium developments under the Planning Act (Cap 232).
Approval will have to be obtained from the Minister for Law to purchase a restricted residential property.
eBay Real Estate offers two auction formats for real estate advertisements, "Non-Binding" and "Binding", each involving different procedures and expectations on the part of both seller and buyer.
Non-Binding Auction Formats
"Non-binding" auctions of real estate do not involve binding commitments by users to buy and sell property. Instead, these "auctions" are simply a way for sellers to advertise their real estate within the auction-style environment familiar to eBay's user community. At the close of the auction, the seller is expected to contact the winning bidder to discuss entering into a contract for the real estate property. Neither party is obligated to complete the transaction. Non-binding auctions are used in cases where the "binding" auction format (discussed below) is unavailable due to legal or other restrictions.
Binding Auction Formats
"Binding" auctions of real estate are designed to more directly result in the sale of the property to the highest bidder. In this format, users are asked not to bid unless they intend to complete the purchase of the listed property, subject to customary diligence and contingencies. While eBay Real Estate cannot guarantee consummation of the sale to either the seller or a potential buyer, eBay’s rules require the seller and the final selected buyer to follow through in good faith. Hence, these auctions are "binding" strictly insofar as this good faith requirement, like the eBay User Agreement more generally, is binding on each eBay user, and insofar as a user's disregard of the required good faith intent can result in negative feedback. "Binding" auctions are not universally available. Each seller selecting the auction format for the advertisement will be informed whether the property to be posted qualifies for binding auction.
Classified Ad Listings
eBay Real Estate also offers sellers the option of advertising their property in a Classified Ad format rather than an auction format. The Real Estate Classified Ad format has the following features:
- You can list your asking price. No bidding takes place.
- Interested buyers fill out a contact form and their information is sent to you.
- You can advertise your property for 30 days or 90 days.
- You may revise your item at any time in the advertisement duration.
Purchase Notes and Mortgage Notes
Within eBay's "Other Real Estate" pages, eBay sellers are permitted to advertise for sale certain purchase money notes and mortgages (referred to in these rules as "mortgage notes"). These mortgage notes are created when, in a real estate transaction preceding the offer of the mortgage note on the eBay site, a purchaser of certain real estate obtains financing for all or a portion of a property from the seller, and executes a note in favour of the seller secured by a mortgage on the real property being purchased. A mortgage note created in this manner may be advertised for sale on eBay (in the auction format or Classified Ad format) if the following requirements are satisfied:
- the mortgage note must have arisen in connection with a bona fide real estate transaction;
- the interest offered constitutes the entire indebtedness under the note;
- the purchaser will receive the mortgage note by unconditional endorsement, without recourse, together with a full assignment of the mortgage securing the note, both of which the purchaser will hold until satisfaction of the note;
- the mortgage note is offered without any interposed services or other enhancements to be provided by the seller; and,
- the sale of the mortgage note complies with all applicable law.
Privacy of Information
eBay Real Estate's Role as a Venue Provider / Brokerage Relationship (Agency) Disclosure
The role of eBay Real Estate in the sale of properties is limited to publishing advertising provided by sellers and providing a venue for communications about a property. eBay Real Estate is not responsible for, and does not engage in, brokering, selling, purchasing, exchanging, or leasing posted properties or providing a "multiple listing service" as that term is traditionally used. eBay Real Estate does not counsel sellers or buyers, show properties, negotiate sales contracts, or hold a position of trust and confidence, whether or not in connection with the eBay Web site. Accordingly, no brokerage relationship or any agency or fiduciary relationship is intended to be or shall be deemed to have been created between eBay Real Estate and any seller or buyer of real estate. eBay Real Estate makes no representations about properties advertised on eBay, about the sellers of such properties, about the accuracy of information provided by such sellers, or about the financial capabilities of prospective buyers. Prospective buyers are advised to perform all due diligence before entering into a contract to purchase property, and, as emphasised above, all parties are encouraged to seek the help of a licensed real estate professional and real estate attorney. eBay Real Estate does not purport to broker transactions.
The purchase and sale of real estate is a complicated matter that is governed by laws, practices and customs that vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Sellers are advised that many jurisdictions require that you provide a disclosure statement to all prospective buyers regarding the condition of your property. Members are strongly advised to seek the help of a licensed real estate professional and/or a real estate/conveyancing lawyer to help in the negotiation and sale of any real estate.
Members may wish to visit the Web site of the Institute of Estate Agents (IEA), which offers a consolidated database of all the estate agents and agencies in Singapore. Members may also obtain a list of accredited housing and real estate agents from the HDB or Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies (SAEA) Web sites. All members of the IEA are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct and Ethics which sets forth certain principles (e.g., disclosure and non-discrimination requirements).
Real Estate and Housing Agent Licences
Under the Appraisers and House Agents Act (Cap 16) - opens in new window or tab, all housing agents are required to obtain a licence from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) - opens in new window or tab. Sellers who are licensed as an agent, broker, or other licensed real estate professional must ensure that their item description conforms to all laws and regulations applicable to online advertising of properties by such licensees. These requirements may include, among other things, disclosure of the licensee's name and address, any firm with which the licensee is affiliated, location of principal place of business, and the jurisdiction(s) where the licensee is licensed.
Why does eBay have this policy?
eBay wants to ensure its sellers and buyers comply with all governmental laws and regulations. Since the sale of real estate is regulated, or may cause harm to eBay or its members, the sale of real estate on eBay is restricted.
Activity on eBay is required to:
- Follow all applicable laws
- Respect the rights of third parties
- Follow the eBay User Agreement
- Follow this eBay policy
If activity doesn’t meet these requirements, eBay may take action consistent with applicable laws and the eBay User Agreement, and may even be legally required to do so. Such actions may include, as an example only: administratively ending listings or cancelling transactions, hiding or lowering the placement of listings in search results, lowering seller rating, restricting buying or selling, forfeiture of fees, loss of buyer or seller protections, restricting access to member communication and rating tools, removing feedback, and account suspension.