8 Reasons Why Foreign Buyers Need a Real Estate Agent in Singapore
Published on March 23, 2018

A rising GDP, a stable economy, and a lucrative return-on-capital investment. The Lion City is indeed a real-estate investor’s paradise. No wonder then, despite 2018 being called a seller’s market, Singapore continues to reign as the property investor’s mecca in Asia. Even today, property enthusiast from across the world come to Singapore to satiate their thirst for a perfect piece of investment. Are you one of them? Congratulations! You’ve made the right decision. If done rightly with the help of a highly experienced real estate agent in Singapore, you could end up with a lucrative piece of investment in one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies.

The catch is here ‘If’ and you don’t want to base one of the biggest investment decisions of your life on an ‘if’.

We’re saying this because as is the case with most foreign laws, things might take a different route for you than a normal Singaporean citizen so you might want to save yourself some precious time and hire a real estate agent with expertise in helping foreigners buy and invest property in Singapore instead of hammering your head around a complex set of expat property laws.

Still not convinced? We give you eight reasons a foreign buyer can benefit from a experienced real estate agent in Singapore.

1. Picking the Right Piece of Property

The sheer number of property classifications in Singapore can overwhelm anyone. Acquisition laws vary according to the area you’re looking for and the kind of property you are looking at. Do you prefer a younger piece and wish to live in a sparsely populated region? Or are you willing to adjust to the more mature constructions set in the heart of the city? There are so many options that it might take several months for you just to narrow down on your perfect apartment. Moreover, if you’re looking to rake in rental income from the property, it is especially prudent that you take several factors such as locality and area into consideration.

A real estate agent in Singapore will serve exactly what you want on the table.

2. Real Estate Agent in Singapore Will Provide Precious Insider Information

Much like in any profession, real estate agents in Singapore who’ve been in the business for quite some time now have all the local tricks of the trade up their sleeves. They know about the property cycles. They’re abreast with the nation’s changing real estate policies. Let’s say you cannot take your eyes off a property. A real estate agent will ask you to wait because he knows the prices will be coming down soon. Or you’ve landed in a shiny 5-bedroom apartment and are looking around. A real estate agent in Singapore will know about the right kind of questions to ask the seller. These will be especially helpful to look through any loopholes that the seller might be trying to pass by you. Which brings us to…

3. Showing Properties Around

Property inspection is a vital part of any real estate deal. If you’re a foreign buyer, there are high chances that you might not be able to attend all inspections in-person. A reliable property agent  in Singapore is the best person to carry it out on your behalf.

When buying from a developer, if a defect is noticed in the property during the inspection, the cost might be able to factor into the offered price. This is one good reason for foreign buyers to hire an experienced property agent. Such agents can not only report these defects to the developer and get it repaired, they can also coordinate with your interior designer to carry out basic renovations such as installing new curtains or new light fixtures, getting your newly purchased property ready for rental.

In specific cases such as acquiring a resale property, no one but an experienced property agent will tell you that once you’ve put down the one percent option fee on a private property, you cannot request repairs from the seller for any existing conditions on the same.

No matter what kind of property you’re buying, you will need someone to narrow down to the properties you’ll be visiting. Because let’s face it, you have limited time on your hands and too many properties to explore.

4. Offering Genuine Advice

Property investment can be a tricky business because you’re putting in a lot of money and looking to reap substantial benefits from it in the long run. Needless to say, you’ll be putting in some serious thought to seal some major financial decisions at this time. A real estate agent in Singapore who has been with you through everything will offer you genuine advice. Coming from an experienced party, such precious advice could prove to be invaluable.

For instance, real estate agents in Singapore can advise buyers on what banks to seek loans from, which plans to choose from, eligibility for certain tax deductions, and so on and so forth. A Singaporean property advisor will also caution you on not seeking any sort of loan to make up the down payment if you’re taking up a mortgage loan (not more than 80% of the total property value) with a bank or financial institution in Singapore. Moreover, property acquisition involves a lot of arduous yet critical legal paperwork and real estate agents can walk you through the entire legal process of acquiring a property, step-by-step.

5. Negotiating Property Prices

Speaking of financial advice, your real estate agent in Singapore will have some idea of your financial capacity. He/she can use this knowledge to your advantage while bidding for a property you desire. Is the price too much or are you negotiating in unchartered waters? Real estate negotiating is a different ball game and real estate agents are its long-term players. These guys will tell you when it is exactly right to seal the deal now or look further for better prospects.

6. There Is No Fee On You as a Buyer

Are you already biting your nails at the property prices in Singapore? Maybe that’s why it is the property agent in Singapore where you’re looking at cutting your expenditure. Let me tell you, this is not required.

Given the labyrinth of rules for foreign buyers acquiring property in Singapore, condominium and commercial properties are the safest and the most convenient property investment for them.  And there is no commission on you as a buyer of a new launch condo from developer, resale condominium or commercial property in Singapore. Your agent will be compensated by the seller’s agent or developers.

So you get someone to show you around, negotiate, and prepare your precious documentation work, at zero cost to you!

7. Letting Out Your Investment Property

Many foreign buyers invest in Singaporean property with the sole intent of earning long-term capital gains. Similar to buying a property in Singapore, letting out your property can be a tricky ball game. There a plethora of rules for letting out property in Singapore responsibly or else you can face serious consequences from the law.

The minimum renting period in Singapore is 6 months so legally, you cannot list your place out on Airbnb to rent it out on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Moreover, you cannot create internal partitions in your property. The maximum number of allowed occupants has been brought down to 6 from 8 very recently. An entirely different set of rules ply if you’re looking to let out your property to families. If you’re found to be a violator, you could end up paying 6000$ as fine or face up to 24 months of imprisonment. Worried already? Don’t be. A letting property agent in Singapore comes to your rescue here.

A real estate agent in Singapore will not only fetches you potential tenants but will also do the needful on your behalf. Checking the tenant’s work permit/employee pass and passport, matching their particulars, running a background check. All this can be quite time-consuming and tedious. All of it is best left to your real estate agents in Singapore who do the dirty work for you while you rake in the capital gains.

8. Managing Tenant Complaints

Like most business transactions, the benefits of subletting a piece of property you own comes with its own set of risks. An ideal tenant exists in heaven, the same place from where a real estate agent has been sent down to your rescue. We’ve lost count of the number of times someone complained of continuous late payments form the tenant. Refusing to pay for damaged property after contract termination are common problems faced by property owners across Singapore. Usually, such breaches require you to look up the agreed-upon terms and conditions in the contract and approach the law. But should you knock the court’s doors yet? How many late payments should you let go? And what are some feasible tenant complaints you can manage on your end? Your real estate agent in Singapore knows the best.

After all, they’ve been doing this for quite some time now. A real estate agent in Singapore helps you plan the best course of action to resolve tenant complaints in the easiest and the least time consuming way possible. With a property agent in Singapore by your side, tenant complaints cease to be boorish nightmares.

Bonus Tip: “I’m all up to hand over my buying responsibilities to a real estate agent in Singapore. But how do I distinguish a fraudster from a genuine person that can offer me all the above services?”

The Singaporean Government has your back even here.

All legit Singapore property agents are registered with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA). This is a nationally accredited body and you can verify your agent’s practicing license with them.

This should be a reason enough for you to seek help from a real estate agent for your property buying needs in Singapore. After all, if everything goes right, you will be looking at a precious investment in one of the most prosperous nations of the world in the years to come.

At Century 21, we are one of the few Singapore estate agencies offering exceptional real estate services that are personalized and customized to meet the diverse needs of international high net-worth individuals. We provide international HNWI a one-stop service for property investment and acquiring Singapore luxury real estate. Check out our Global HNWI Services now!

Author: Nic Ee

Nic is the Executive Director and Key Executive Officer (KEO) of CENTURY 21 Property Agent Singapore Pte Ltd. Nic starts his real estate career in 1995. He focuses in providing real estate services specifically to international high net-worth individuals and corporate clients. His expertise includes luxury home finding, property investment planning & acquisition, managing buy to let property, expat home finding and tenant representation for office space.