Singapore Real Estate – Of Buying and Renting

It is not easy sussing out a good landlord, tenant, seller or buyer. It takes time, a great deal of good timing and some amount of luck.

But whether you’re looking to rent a property or buy one, there are some common things to look out for.

Adana CondoPhoto: Adana Thomson

1. Reputation – If you are looking to buy a new property, the developer’s track record is one of the key factors. This even applies to resale properties for that matter. It is a reassurance of the current and future value of the property. They are familiar with the ins and outs of the industry and have quality control checks in place; plus they are often very transparent with the selling process. For tenants and landlords alike, background research and interviews are important. Employment track record, understanding each other’s background and culture are crucial and laying things out clearly on the table before anyone signs on the dotted line will help smoothen the tenancy out. In some cases, landlords may even request to check with a tenant’s previous landlords for references.

2. Price – There is no need to price below market price purely to secure a deal, landlords and home sellers should be realistic but also fair to themselves. They need to weigh the time and effort they are willing to sacrifice against the amount they are able to profit in the long run. Pricing too high may simply keep buyers and tenants at arms’ lengths and a vacant property will still require maintenance and utilities. It will always help to find out what similar properties in the vicinity are going for.

3. Finances – Before going on the hunt for a property, it’s always wise to first sort out your finances. Check with banks to see how much you are able to loan, how deep your pocket actually is, and what sort of financial liquidity you need and the sustainability of your current financial situation. Taking steps before committing to an often life-long commitment of buying a property will keep debt away. And remember not to be lead by opinions of others. They will not be paying your mortgage. Decide on what works best for you.

And after all that, if all else fails, a recommendation of a good real estate agent will often make all that property-hutning headache go away.

Rental follow in the footsteps of Home prices

Yes, that would make sense. But not necessarily for all districts. Properties in certain areas have not fared so well, in particular, Newton and Sentosa. Rents in these two areas only yielded at  2.2 per cent, compared to the 3.7 per cent everywhere else across the island.

Trilight Condominium in Newtown.

Trilight Condominium in Newtown.

Not to be disheartened though, as private property rentals still grew, at 2.1 per cent, albeit at a lower rate when compared to the 3.8 per cent in 2011. Flying high on the charts were Woodlands, Jurong and Choa Chu Kang, with rental yields of 4.4 per cent. Tampines, Bukit Merah and Yishun followed closely on their heels.

Competition due to the completion of the many developments in the area might be the culprit. For example, Trilight, a 30-storey, 205-unit freehold condominium in Newtown, recently received its temporary-occupation-permit (TOP) last year. Another reason could be that expatriates are no longer receiving as high a housing allowance as before, thus narrowing their options to specific type of properties and within certain areas.

Northoaks, a former EC project, now available on the private property resale market.

Northoaks, a former EC project, now available on the private property resale market.

Perhaps property investors and even just your normal man-on-the-road are buying up properties when they can, in order to capitalise on the eventual situation where policies support home rentals. Future immigration and housing policy changes will also play a big part.