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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One major question that always lingers in our mind is how we safely invest our hard earned money. Be it any type of investment – Stocks, Real estate, Bonds, Gold, Cash equivalent, Mutual funds the question remains the same.
To answer this, we must take into account the following pointers before we step into making any kind of investment-
We must Identify and review our needs and goals – At first place, we should understand what exactly we are looking at from our investments and how much risk we can take.
We must make an investment plan – We must make a plan starting with low risk investments and then move to medium-risk investments. Higher risk investments are better to avoid in the initial phase.
Decide on how long we can invest – Different investments have different goals, time frames and also varied type of risks. So before we even consider investing our hard-earned money into something, we should go for a reality check.
Do not run after any hot tips – Many people around us, are always suggesting or coming up with different tips regarding where and what to invest on which mostly sounds very lucrative. However we should never fall a prey to such hot tips as we never know the risks involved or it might turn out to be totally fraud.
Our focus should be to diversify – The idea is to spread our money across different investments. It does not have to have same direction of movement of prices. This is known as diversifying.
We should always maintain an emergency fund – It is always smarter to have cash on hand to cover out-of-pocket expenses. We should have enough money in a savings product in case of any emergency.
We must avoid high- risk products at first place – Only consider higher risk products once you’ve built up money in low and medium-risk investments. Investments which are much more risky than we were told it would be or investments that are sold without a good explanation of the risks associated with it or the ones which does not provide any compensation.
Many investment plans have hidden charges – We should thoroughly read between the lines and also do our own research properly before we jump into any big decisions on any type of investments.
Saying all these we should look forward to a safe investment product that benefits our life to a great extend. We should therefore hire an investment consultant or financial advisor or savings planner to help us choose the right plan. Savings and investment consultant will do the needed research, understand and follow changes in the investment market, update on economic news and accordingly guide us with the best choices.
How easy it is to find a house to rent or buy in Singapore?
If you are trying to find a house to rent or buy in Singapore, you will most probably start with searching on the internet, then short-listing the Ads and calling on the listed phone number. Most likely you will end up with property agents picking up your calls. The property agents will then set up meetings with you to show you around several houses in Singapore. When I moved to Singapore in 2011, I had to visit 24 different houses with 11 different property agents before I could get to the one of my choice. This was a whole month activity and off course tiring. In Singapore, generally you will have to go via a property agent to do all the legal work for you.
The property advertisements on the internet do not have complete information or details that answers your needs. For example, I was looking for a house with bigger living room with a balcony and a space to setup my own gym. A typical Ad is very generic that says how big the house is, the number of rooms and bathrooms with some pictures. Most of the time, we go by the price and if the pictures are impressive we call the advertiser or rather the property agent. If you are not lucky, you will most likely be disappointed when you visit the house for one or more reasons. For example, there could be parking for only one car while you needed a second one for your wife’s car. This story could be similar with the rest of the Ads you have short-listed to view with a property agent. In the end, after a long vested time you find your ideal house. When you think about it, all you needed was someone who could understand all your criteria and show you a house that exactly met them rather than showing you 20 different houses that does not meet your needs.
What is the solution?
StringsSG provides a platform where you can post your housing needs with a few clicks and set your own criteria like budget, location, urgency, house or room sizes or anything you want in your house, there are no limitations. Your request will most likely get multiple responses from multiple property agents. To keep it simple and easy for you, StringsSG has the algorithm and artificial intelligence to sort the responses based on the match percentage of how much a property agent can meet your criteria. You also get to view the ratings and review of the property agent on his profile. Previous success stories of the property agent may also be listed on his or her profile. In the end, you choose the property agent you like the most.
To conclude, if you wish to save time on your house hunting, your only action is to:
Submit your request on StringsSG with the list of all your criteria.
View responses of the property agents with higher match percentage to your criteria.
You may choose to initiate conversation with multiple property agents using the integrated chat system.
Before finalizing on the agent, make sure to view his or her profile ratings and reviews. We also helps you with other services like insurance and savings plan, handyman services, beauty and massage services, maid services, aircon services, interior designing, personal fitness trainer, food catering services, wedding and other event planning services.
StringsSG is dedicated to serve the people of Singapore.