While it is possible to buy and sell your own home in Ho Chi Minh City and the rest of Vietnam, there is a possibility you will be on the losing end of negotiations; as a buyer you might be buying at a higher price and as a seller you might be selling at a lower price compared to the market price average.
When it comes to deciding if you need a real estate agent in Ho Chi Minh City, consider whether you are willing to take the extra time and effort to researching prices and advertise your home yourself, as well as figuring out the process and paperwork required for closing a property, even putting the effort to pick up the necessary skills and knowledge required to negotiating a deal. If these scope of works does not excite you, chances you will want to appoint a Ho Cho Minh City real estate agent to work for you.
Unlike searching for a house or apartment, where you have clear preferences in the quality and characteristics of your ideal home, qualities to identify (or more importantly to avoid) in a real estate agent may not be as straight-forward. Choosing the right real estate agent for you is equally important as choosing the right property; it is often the difference between a stress-free or worrisome process of transacting a property and determining how much income you earn, save or lose. After all, buying or selling your house or apartment in Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most substantial financial transaction of your life.

This article looks at the most important qualities to avoid in a real estate agent. If you are scouting prospective agents for your next transaction, be sure to avoid the understated types of real estate agents in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam in general.

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▸ 1. The dishonest real estate agent 

You are most likely handling the biggest monetary transaction of your lifetime when you buy or sell a home, so it is of utmost importance that your real estate agent is honest with you as your financial well-being is at stake here. Unfortunately, some dishonest people character wise may become real estate agents in Ho Chi Minh City as the industry is not regulated in Vietnam. The dishonest agent usually thinks that the profession will provide them with easy money and they blatantly lie and scheme to manoeuver into an advantageous position for themselves; they usually do so to hide problems with the property, or earn a difference on top of the agreed commission by marking-up selling prices or marking-down a buyer’s offer. These leads to financial losses to both buyers and sellers who will be paying more or earning less respectively.

You can quickly find out if a real estate agent is honest with a little questioning work; usually, dishonest real estate agents are habitual liars. The warning signs are all over and you can easily assess whether agents lie by identifying if they give you a false picture of their knowledge, portfolio and backgrounds. 

▸ 2. The self-serving real estate agent

While real estate agents in Vietnam have the right to look out for their basic self-interest because they have little to no basic salary compared to their peers in other fields of work, an obsession with self-serving is not healthy. As a customer you have the right to having an agent that places your property transaction (buying or selling) goals over the agent’s personal interests for closing the deal. If an agent is so aggressive that they will sell you anything regardless of your needs, then they are not looking out for your interest as the customer. only focused on landing the sale may not be good for a long-term relationship and creating value for the customer.

Choosing real estate agents who do not uphold their fiduciary duties of advocating on your behalf to find the most suitable property or secure the best possible price offer will only mean that your interest is of lesser priority to that of the real estate agent, and this will only be putting you at a great disadvantage as a home buyer or seller.

▸ 3. The hit-and-run real estate agent

Such real estate agents in Ho Chi Minh City are transactional in nature in that they put transactions above customer-agent relationships. Constantly bringing value to customers is how agents build long-term relationships and repeat business with their closest customers. Unfortunately, there are real estate agents that do not have this intention; they focus largely on closing the deal at hand and spare no thoughts about the agent’s relationship with the customer after the deal is done.

As a customer, you will want to avoid such real estate agents, as they will not be concerned with delivering the best value to you because of their carefree attitude as to what comes after; after the deal if you are not happy with their service or result, they are more than willing to burn bridges with you. Agents with such mentality might not have the decency of responsibility and fiducial duty to you as the home buyer or seller.  

▸ 4. The part-time real estate agent

In Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam in general, the residential real estate industry has evolved significantly into a more sustainable market as compared to years before. The housing market is enjoying a boom, and therefore many people have decided to try their luck as a real estate agent during these good times. These agents treat the real estate business as a hobby and do not take it seriously, their mentality is that of a job internship; if it works out good if not no loss. Some agents even maintain multiple jobs at the same time, which ever is more lucrative gets more focus.

As Ho Chi Minh City’s real estate industry is still developing and yet to mature, there are a lot of new real estate agents with less than 5-years of experience. At the first signs of trouble with the real estate market, they are the first to jump-ship and look for other opportunities in other industries such as insurance or their study major. 

Buying or selling a home is a life-changing decision and you do not want to give time for a real estate agent who is going to treat your transaction as a hobby. This kind of attitude can lead to unresponsiveness, lack of knowledge and poor negotiation in the transaction.

While there is no barrier to start work as a real estate agent in Vietnam’s real estate industry, it is definitely difficult to survive and thrive as an agent in Ho Chi Minh City. It takes commitment and consistent performance to stay on top of market trends and sustain in the face of market changes. While everybody knows someone who is an agent, and it is tempting to go with them, only a full-time professional real estate agent in Ho Chi Minh City can properly assist you.

▸ 5. The yes-man real estate agent

There are real estate agents that only tell property buyers and sellers what they want to hear in order to be appointed; they say yes to everything you want, although this might not be of benefit to you. Agents need to tell the truth, even when that truth is difficult for the property buyer and seller to hear. Failure to do so is not representing you the customer with the highest level of integrity.

These real estate agents in Ho Chi Minh City may be lacking in leadership, and will not be able to guide and point you in the correct direction. They will not ask meaningful questions to help you consolidate your ideas as they fear disagreeing with you. This will in no way build trust in a customer-agent relationship. What you need is an agent that takes a consultative approach to your needs, be able to give you insights from another angle and facilitate you to make the right decision.

▸ 6. The non-expert real estate agent 

In order to wheel and deal in residential properties in Ho Chi Minh City’s very competitive real estate market, agents need to have relevant knowledge or expertise. Just because the real estate agents are introduced by a friend or they are a relative does not mean you should be obligated to use them. As good practice, always work with a true real estate expert; it is not personal, just business. In Ho Chi Minh City’s housing market, the real estate agent’s reputation (exposure) and expertise win you good offers.

▸ 7. The unavailable real estate agent 

It is important that your real estate agent follows through if you are a serious buyer or seller of real estate in Ho Chi Minh City. Clear communication is key to a smooth real estate transaction in today’s market; it is mandatory for the agent to respond quickly and communication updates often. Agents need to be on standby to take action starting with answering phone calls and emails promptly. Agents who are constantly unavailable for whatever reasons; be it to show homes regularly, respond to questions promptly and communicate poorly with other co-broking agents will not win you bids.

You will do well to avoid the real estate agent who is always in a hurry and does not have time to focus on your needs; after all the “best” agent in Ho Chi Minh City’s housing market may not be right fit for you. Find a real estate agent who is aggressive and fast-paced, willing to go that extra mile, that will give you due attention and effort transacting in the real estate market requires.

▸ 8. The braggart real estate agent 

A real estate transaction is about the customer (buyer or seller) and should not be about the real estate agent themselves. Appointing an agent that is practical, accessible and professional, helps make the process comfortable for buyers and sellers of Ho Chi Minh City real estate. That last thing you need is an agent that remarks to every of your sentence with the “been there done that”; interrupting you before you finish to brag about their experience and accomplishments and why you should engage their services.

Real estate agents should not talk more than they listen to what you have to say; the ability to listen attentively and ask meaningful questions is what builds trust in a customer-agent relationship. When agents always make it about “me” – talking (bragging) too much about themselves and their accomplishments; they tend to develop a self-serving complex that was identified as another type of agent that should be avoided. Delusions of being a top agent, arrogance, short-temperedness, and crazy claims are characteristics often seen in real estate agents that constantly brag, that more often than not conceal incompetence and a lack of actual talent.

▸ 9. The pushy real estate agent 

If a real estate agent is so aggressive that they will do anything to sell you any Ho Chi Minh City property regardless of your needs, this is a warning sign to you. Real estate agents are entrusted with the responsibility of guiding their customers to navigate one of the most significant financial transactions of the customers’ lives. The last thing you need is an agent who is not acting as a fiduciary but instead pressuring their customers into making a Ho Chi Minh City property purchase or sale just to earn the commission.

While experience is always going to be important in any real estate transaction, personal chemistry is critical to a successful and sustaining professional customer-agent relationship. You will want a real estate agent you trust and feel comfortable working with; avoid agents that make you uncomfortable and is not attentive to both your financial and emotional needs. When a pushy real estate agent develops a self-serving complex, they tend to get emotional and angry, often adopting a one-sided view when things do not go their way. 


Putting ourselves in the shoes of a property buyer or seller, we too would want to avoid working with the above-mentioned types of real estate agents in Ho Chi Minh City. As such, our agency takes great care in selecting our agents based on their characteristic traits and personal motivations. We hold all our agents accountable on professional ethics, responsibility and fiduciary duty.