China-US Trade War

Trade War

The trade war between China and the USA is having an impact on the health of global trade and since the economy of Singapore depends to a great extend on global trading; it is expected to get affected too.

Trade War
Trade War – Economic health of Singapore

As per Analysts, though this trade friction had limited impact on the Singapore’s economy till date, but its negative impact could become more noticeable in the latter part of this year and beyond.

The government has already announced that Singapore’s exports have fallen by 2.6% in last November as a result of fall of demand in China. Though many of the tariffs directly do not affect Singapore, but still they have a spill over effect on the country as Singapore plays a big role in global supply chains.

As per the Central Bank, The backbone of Singapore’s manufacturing sector i.e. the electronics segment is expected to suffer because of its links with China in the global supply chain.

Singapore’s largest export is Oil. Naturally, Oil Industry is also expected to suffer as a result of this trade conflict.

Also it is worthy of mention, that Singapore has one of the world’s busiest ports and hence transportation industry which connects the west with Asia is bound to feel the negative impacts too.

Singapore’s property market is also most likely to slow down in 2019. Since the property price is already high in Singapore, foreign investors are taking a back seat. To deal with this current situation, our Government is taking measures to keep the property prices down as well. Moreover, the resale value of HDB flats is expected to decline in 2019 too. The market trend shows that buyers are less interested in the HDB flats at the moment and hence resale of property has been slowing down.

Singapore's property market
Singapore’s property market – most likely to slow down in 2019.

Saying all these, there are also some silver linings to this ongoing Trade war.

  • Singapore Government has already tightened its monetary policy in accordance with this war so that the losses are negligible as far as it can be.
  • As an outcome of this Trade war, even if the factories of the corresponding companies relocates to nearby countries, Singapore still would benefit indirectly if the companies’ head offices are set up here in Singapore too.
  • Ministry of Manpower highlighted, that the labor market is still doing well under this trade war pressure. Total employment is expected to improve further this year and Wages are also rising.
  • Economists have pointed out that, since Singapore trades in diversified sectors and have a strong trading network, it will help the companies to acquire new opportunities, alternative suppliers and demand markets.

Hence, saying all this, It is quite obvious that a prolonged Trade War will surely have a severe impact on Global Economy. At this point we can only hope that this Trade war will come to an end with the best economic decisions between China and US and global economic interests will be safeguarded.

Trade War.
Economists hope that this Trade war will come to an end with the best economic decisions between China and US.

Should we invest on a Condominium or an HDB?

Property Agent

When it comes to buying a property, Singapore is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Nevertheless, everyone desires to be the owner of a property. In this regard, there is another concern of the residents of Singapore. People here are always in the dilemma between buying an HDB (Public Housing Apartments) and a Condominium.

Various factors controls our decision whether to choose an HDB or a Condo. These factors include our eligibility, our lifestyle, legal matters etc.

The following are some of the reasons to choose a Condominium over an HDB.

  • Better facilities – A condo is well planned for its resident’s comfort. It comes not only with comfortable latest design interiors but pool, gym, barbeque, play stations for children, badminton courts, community halls etc. All these facilities help us to decide on taking a condo. The convenience of having all these facilities at our doorstep is a big advantage for sure.
Condominium
A Condominium with facilities for comfortable living.
  • Condominiums are open to all types of buyers including the foreigners –There are no restrictions on foreign ownership when it comes to buying a condominium.
  • No restrictions on ownership of other properties – When we own a condominium, we can still go ahead and purchase other properties at the same time.
  • Condominiums give us privacy – Singapore is a high-density city. If you are a person who prefers privacy then living in a condo is all what you would want. Privacy that comes along with a condo is something you do not get in an HDB.
  • If we go for a condominium, then we can opt for a progressive payment scheme as well.
  • Condominiums are more pet-friendly- In HDBs, usually certain breeds of dogs and cats are restricted from ownership. However, this is not the case in a condo.

The following are some of the reasons to choose an HDB (Public Housing Apartments) over a Condominium.  

  • It’s safe – Though HDBs are public housings, but it is quite safe for the residents even at late night. People do not encounter any problems.
  • Prices of HDBs are made affordable for the public – Keeping commoners in mind, prices of HDBs have been made quite affordable and decent which helps us to decide to buy HDBs.
HDB in Singapore
Affordable HDBs for all.
  • HDBs have good resale value – When we think of re sale, HDBs have good re-sale value.
  • HDB conservancy fees are lesser than even condo maintenance fees. 

However whether it is a Condominium or an HDB, we always need a property agent to help us find the perfect house. In this context it is also worthy of mention that sometimes it gets a bit difficult and tiring to get a good agent.

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Property Agent
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Landlord vs. Tenant Responsibilities and Maintenance

Property agents - solution to issues between landlords and tenants

In case of house renting, both the parties the Landlord and the Tenant are always in question that who is responsible for what work. That is why, a well done rental agreement with the help of a property agent is very important so that there can be proper understanding of each one’s contractual obligation to maintain the property.

Landlord and Tenant facing issues regarding maintenance of the property.
Landlord and Tenant arguing over contractual obligations

The following are some of the Tenant’s Maintenance Responsibilities – 

  • Tenants in general are expected to keep the property clean and avoid any damages to the property deliberately.
  • As per contract, the Tenants might need to replace batteries of smoke detectors and fire alarms in order to make sure they are working properly.
  • Disposing the trash is a very important daily work of the Tenants.
  • When it comes to Pest control, it is tenant’s responsibility to properly maintain the sanitation of the house so that there are no insecticides or infestation. If the tenant does not keep a clean home, the landlord may deduct some amount from the tenant’s security deposit as per the lease.
  • Waste management is a very important matter for good hygiene. It definitely falls under tenant’s responsibility to properly dispose of any garbage which otherwise could contribute to pest infestations and diseases.
  • When it comes to plumbing or air conditioning, it is Tenant’s responsibility to use these fixtures properly. He should keep the pipes clear and replace the air filters too. He should report any issues to the landlord quickly to prevent further damages without any delay so that the landlord can take care of the issue accordingly.
  • At the time of the signing of contract, if Landscaping maintenance is already mentioned as a clause, then the tenant has to take care of it accordingly as otherwise, he can be fined for violating the contract.
  • Tenant should return the property in the same condition as it was at the time of the lease term. If there are any damages then the tenant needs to fix it before the handover or the landlord has the right to deduct the expenses from the tenant’s security deposit.
Rental Agreement
Rental agreement between the Landlord and the Tenant – for proper understanding of each one’s contractual obligation to maintain the property.

The following are some of the Landlord’s Maintenance Responsibilities – 

  • When it comes to plumbing or air conditioning, it is the landlord’s responsibility to keep these systems in working condition and fixing any kind of problems with regards to these.
  • It is owner’s responsibility to do the pest control if there is an infestation.
  • The common areas like the elevators and other common-use areas also fall under landlord’s responsibility to keep them properly safe and clean.
  • It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep the premises of the house in a reasonable state and in compliance with the safety laws.
  • All the mentioned appliances, in the contract should be kept in working order by the landlord.
  • The landlord is responsible for most of the repairs of the home like the interior and exterior of the house, doors and windows, stairs, roof, electrical wiring, chimneys, pipes and drains, gas appliances etc

Intervention of the Property Agents – 

Throughout the period of the tenancy, either parties of the contract, i.e. the landlord and tenant might face some issues that are difficult to resolve alone all by themselves. In such cases, both the parties look for a third party to mediate and resolve the problem. Here comes in the role of one of the property agents who handled the rental transaction. In many cases the respective agent steps into the matter and tries to bring a solution to the problem.

However, it is true that it is not a mandatory responsibility of the Agent to resolve such issues but some agents does step in to help and solve landlord-tenant problems simply out of goodwill. Again in some cases, the parties formally engage their agent to manage their property.

Property Agents are professionals with adequate knowledge in their field and hence can easily resolve difficult issues. Hence it is always better to bring in our Agents so that the solution can be surfaced at ease.

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Property agents - solution to issues between landlords and tenants
A good property agent can work up a sound lease agreement!
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Why do we need a Property Agent to buy or rent or sale a house

Property agents validates documentations on the client's behalf.

The entire process of house hunting, renting or selling can be quite tedious and confusing. Dealing with decisions related to real estate is never easy. When making a decision on a real estate sale, purchase or rent advice from an expert is very useful. Here comes the role of an experienced and trustworthy property agent. He is the best person to look up to in such situations.

There are broadly the following types of Property Agents –

  • Landlord’s Property Agent or the Seller’s Agent

This agent is appointed by the landlord. The interest of the landlord is their interest too. This agent advises the landlord on how to promote their property. If the owner wants to rent it out, then the agent works out the best rental price for them. On the other hand, if the landlord is looking at selling a property, then the property agent arranges for possible buyers, arranges for viewing and works out a deal in favor of the landlord.

  • Tenant’s Agent or the Buyer’s Agent

The Tenant’s property agent is appointed by the tenant or the buyer. He works on behalf of the tenant and helps him to search his home. He arranges for viewings, helps his client to negotiate and closes a deal for the Tenant. In short, the Agent protects the interests of the tenant

Property agents are the best person to rely on while we plan to buy rent or sale a house.
A property agent works on behalf of the client and helps the later to close a deal at their benefit as much a as possible.

 

Some of the many reasons of why we need a property agent are as follows –

  • Our Agent works on our behalf – Understand our criteria, research and identify the available properties accordingly, schedule viewings, advises the tenants or the buyer on rental rates or purchase price respectively, negotiates with the landlord and/or landlord’s agent and thus finally helps his client to close a deal at their benefit as much a as possible.
  • Validates documentations – The paper works and documentations when it comes to property dealings are very important and needs to be thoroughly validated. Our property agent is the life savor in this regard. He assists us with all the necessary paper works, deals with different types of payments at different levels of the process like Stamp Duty etc.
Property agents validates documentations on the client's behalf.
Property agent helping their clients through the complicated procedure of documentation.
  • In case we want an above-market rate then, an exclusive agreement does help – If the seller or the owner of the property wants to get a price that is more than the current market rate, then, it needs an exclusive type of pitching and selling. This requires much higher level of selling skills. He needs to do higher level of research, take more pictures of the house and post more frequent listings. It is to be noted that, mostly the non-exclusive agents do not spend the same time and required amount of effort for this. Hence going for an exclusive agreement in such cases is by far the better option in the long run.
  • A property agent’s negotiation skills works at our benefit – Whether he is an agent of the buyer or the seller, in each case his negotiation power adds to the party’s advantage. Often there is a drop in property price which means it is possible to negotiate for a fair price for the property. However we being unaware of the current market trends might end up paying more. The role of a property agent here is that, with his specialized skills and knowledge, he can help us to get the best possible value of the house.
  • Our property agent helps us a lot during home inspection – The house might have defects but invisible to the untrained eyes i.e. our lame eyes might fail to catch it when we go for viewing of the house. The property agent here can play an important role. He has the experienced eye to inspect and calculate the cost of rectification. Later, if the buyer wants to go ahead with the house, then, the agent can help the former to negotiate for a price of the house that would reflect the cost of the rectification.
Property agents helps us to negotiate for a price that reflects the cost of the rectification of the property if there are any.
Property agent during property viewing with his clients or home inspection.

Hence from the above discussion, it is quite evident that a reputable and professional property agent can help to save our time and money. Thus it is always safer to hire a property agent or real estate agent who knows the market well, has good list of properties to offer and understands our requirements and all criteria well. He is the best person to rely on for the purpose.

Tips to maximise your profit while buying a Real Estate or Housing

Property Agent closing deal

It is very common and natural to worry or feel anxious when we decide to buy a house or property. The fear related to this is never-ending – whether to go for a loan, will we have enough cash for the down payment, are the papers of the property all legal, what if there is sudden decline in the property value after our purchase. Since a lot of cash goes at stake, of course we want to make sure that we get the best deal. Hence it is always safer to hire a property agent or real estate agent who knows the market well, has good list of properties to offer and understands our requirements and all criteria well.

However following are some of the very basic tips that we should consider when we plan to buy a property –  

  • We need to thoroughly understand how much exactly we can borrow – It is very important to know how much we can actually afford on home. A pre-approval letter from the banker is always a pre-requisite for house hunting. In fact, most of the property agents or real estate agents need a pre-approval letter before showing the property to their clients. Moreover, knowing our budget also helps to save time on house hunting.
First know the amount you can borrow to buy your house
Important to know how much we can actually afford on a house.
  • Either be the first or the last – It’s a trick! If we are serious and understand that it is a great deal, then one trick is to quickly make an offer to the owner or to the agent who would pass it to the seller of the property. This way we can win a good deal.

On the other hand, another situation where the owner is tired of holding on to a particular property or he wants to sell it off for personal reasons on great discounts, then the trick is to make an offer for it. In most of such cases, the seller will entertain almost any offer made.

  • We should buy property when it is a buyer’s market and avoid during seller’s market – A buyer’s market is one in which, there is a decline in the home prices due to reduction in demand. On the contrary, in seller’s market, the property price is very high due to increasing demand for homes. So here the tip is to invest when the price is low i.e. during buyer’s market to benefit ourselves.
  • We should always remember the amount we need for the down payment when we purchase a house – Usually, the national average for down payments is 11%. So we must check the hands on availability of this amount the moment we to plan to buy the property.
  • It is worthy to note that a pre-approval for a mortgage indicates that we are a serious buyer – Both our real estate agent and the seller of the house or property feels more focused seeing that we are serious about the deal.
Mortgage pre-approval form
A pre- approval for a mortgage makes the seller understand that the buyer is a serious one.
  • For the buyers of their second home, it remains a question whether or not to sell their current home before buying a new one – To answer this, it totally varies from case to case. If the current home’s built-up equity will be applied on to the down payment on the new home, for sure, the previous house has to be sold prior to the new purchase. In other cases, if the client decides to rent out their current home as an investment, then the house does not need to be sold. However whatever the situation is, it is the loan advisor who does the preliminary examination and evaluates the risk of our profile. He checks the credit history too in order to determine whether taking a loan for the new home is feasible while retaining the title to the old home at the same time and accordingly will guide the buyer.
  • It is advisable that to view at least some number of houses physically even in today’s’ online convenience before buying our new property – Today online we can search, see pictures and even see a 360degree view of the house/rooms. However, when we are going for a lifetime investment, visiting at least a few houses to actually see how it looks and feels is worthwhile.
  • If the buyer’s offer is not accepted by the seller but another counteroffer is proposed by the seller, then it is better to look at it if we are really keen for that particular property – The current owner of the house might flat-out accept or reject an initial offer or he might also initiate a counteroffer. If this be the case, then all we need to do is with our property agent, we need to review it and determine whether the counteroffer is acceptable or not. Let’s say, it looks all good then without any delay we should go ahead to close the deal.

Saying all these, it still remains quite a hectic procedure and many stay in dilemma in this respect. Hence the best way to go ahead with such dealings is to have our own property agent or real estate agent to help and guide us in the process. He is the person who will understand the whole picture, send email alerts to notifying us of any new property listings and close our deal in a lesser complicated way.

Property Agent closing deal
Property Agents have the solution to our house hunting!