There has been a real estate boom in Singapore in the past few years due to the improvement of the materials being used in building new properties in the city.
While the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) has removed a lot of bad realtors and improved the regulations in the real estate industry, there are still new schemes that are being used to scam the buyers.
The regulatory agency can’t be everywhere, so you need to know about some of these sketchy practices. Let this Singapore news serve as a guide to help you avoid these fraudulent tactics.
Scammers posing as agents
If you are doing an ocular inspection of the property that you want to buy and then suddenly you were asked to present a deposit by the agent, then chances are that is a form of scam. Viewing a property doesn’t require you to transfer a deposit. Most likely, after the transaction, you will never hear from these agents ever again.
Requesting for deposits without presenting LOI
In rental properties, a deposit should be backed up by a Letter of Intent (LOI), presented to the landlord. If the agent failed to present any supporting documents, you should be wary. Also, the rental deposits should go directly to the landlord and not through the agent.
Fake listings have flooded many property portals and they had a hard time weeding out some of these. One scheme involves a listing of a property that has an unusually low price, but they will say that it is sold and then proceed to offer you a property that is available with the same price, but ended up not what it seems.
These kinds of listings are just like a real estate version of a clickbait. Also, be mindful when it comes to filling up forms, some of these agents can use your personal details for identity theft.
Sellers unaware of offers made by the agent
It is compulsory for the agent to tell the buyer all of the offers presented by the seller. However some shady agents include some offers that are not part of the seller’s offer. These agents will then ask for money and suddenly will not come back.
Refunds from commissions
Some real estate agents make a promise to the buyers that they will give a part of their commission in a form of discount to entice a buyer to close a deal. Be wary of these agents because what they are doing is violating the guidelines of CEA.
Sending messages that they already have a buyer interested in the property
Some agents will tell you that a property has an interested buyer and tell you to act fast and to send a deposit now. This bait-and-switch tactic is violating the code of conduct of real estate agents, so be careful
Telling the seller that their property is worth more than what was listed
There are agents that will present you a comparison of the prices of their property and the one that you have in the present. It is safe to check the URA transaction documents to find the discrepancies in the prices of the properties involved.
Being selective when it comes to price presentations
Like the number seven scheme, this practice also aims to convince you that the property they are selling is cheaper compared to the ones nearby. Always confirm the true prices of a property from the sellers themselves and refuse to give the transaction a go if there are discrepancies.
The bottom line
The process of purchasing a real estate property in Singapore is sometimes complex. Before you make a transaction, check first if your agent has a legitimate CEA license number. If you happen to encounter some of these schemes, you can report the incident to the CEA.