Tag Archives: Real estate

Property industry must raise standards

Singapore’s real estate industry should ascend to greater heights, particularly in terms of quality — the quality of construction supervision, finishing touches, and attention to detail, said Ku Swee Yong, CEO of Century 21 Singapore.

He noted that while Singapore has witnessed improvements in the quality of a few of the largest residential developments during the past 10 years, overall standards have not really improved by much. “Today, we see more and more residential properties completed with shoddy workmanship, even within prestigious developments in the luxury districts,” he said.

“Some defects are not obvious at the handover and may remain hidden for more than a year. For example, sloppy waterproofing will lead to seepage or sewerage issues, and poor installation of dry partition walls will reveal cracks after more than a year.”

Poor workmanship has been spotted not only in private residential developments, but increasingly, also in public housing, with residents complaining of cracked walls, narrow corridors, leaks, uneven flooring and overflowing toilets, among others.

Although Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee explained that the majority of the defects raised by residents were surface imperfections which do not affect the structural integrity of the building, Ku believes that Singapore’s real estate industry “should have advanced well beyond the basic assumption that buildings here have solid structural integrity”.

“Uneven flooring and badly laid tiles do not affect the safety of buildings, but they do not provide comfort for home users, and may lead to future expenses and other burdens. If developers and construction companies take pride in the quality of their work and build solid homes that last for generations, surface defects may not even exist.”

With this, Ku proposed that the real estate industry set modest aims. “Instead of thinking about what we might achieve in the next 50 years, let us aim to improve the quality of our new buildings over the next decade. As for completed buildings, we should up the ante; spend more energy and money to maintain our condominiums,” he said.

“From the external environment — such as security, waste management, facilities, parking and landscaping — to interior spaces within each apartment and house, we need to embed design elements that allow homes to be constructed and finished with high quality. We should carefully consider material specifications for new homes with low-maintenance requirements.”

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Things you should know about property agents

For many of us, our homes is the single most expensive investment we will ever make in our lives. In fact, since we already have or will be spending a huge fortunate on housing, you would expect a certain level of knowledge or wisdom in this matter. Most of us choose the easiest way out and entrust our property agents to do all the work for us.

Though most property agents are professional and skilled in their trade, as smart property seekers and owners, we need to be able to separate fact from the fiction. Hence, we have gathered common beliefs regarding property agents, and like a good detective, we are on a mission to find out the truths behind these common beliefs.

Common belief #1: It is compulsory to have an agent to represent me in buying or selling properties in the open market

False…but depends on the time and effort you are willing to put in

In Singapore, you are absolutely free to decide whether you want to handle the buying or selling of property on your own, or to engage the services of a property agent.

That being said, unless you are confident and savvy with the paperwork required for property transactions, you will probably be much better off paying the agents to do it for you, saving you the hassle and precious time.

Furthermore, if you are a seller, the whole process of marketing your property and finding prospects to view your house might seem a little daunting. Hence, by engaging a professional, not only will you be spared with the many sales calls made by agents trying to represent you, you could also enjoy the peace of mind knowing that all the paperwork is being done up nicely and in accordance with the ever-changing government regulations.

Common belief #2: An agent recommended by a family member or friend is definitely more trustworthy.
Depends

We all love a good recommendation as it saves us the trouble of searching high and low for one on our own. However, in determining whether a recommended agent is trustworthy, you will have to find out why the agent is being recommended in the first place. Is he being recommended because he is a close friend of your relatives/friends or has he been representing your relatives/friends in their last purchase?

Do not simply take for granted that since the agent is a good friend of your relatives/friends, he will be the best agent for you. Find out more on the agent’s credentials, track records and how long he has been in the industry before jumping to any conclusion.

Most importantly, remember to check that your agent is registered with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) via the CEA Public Register or CEA@SG mobile app. This will ensure that he has the necessary knowledge to provide you with professional services and to adhere to ethical practices.

Article contributed by Praise Poh