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Ref: 802082

Landlords under great distress
Subject: Delaying decisions due to poor advices of other realtors
Comments: Early occupancy and quality of Tenants matter most

Owners of 3 or 4-bedroom UE SQUARE CONDO wishing to rent to English Couple on March 1, 1998, contact Asia USA at 9668 6468, 254 7944, 254 3326 or email

Sunday February 8, 1998
Case histories which might help Owners, Agents and Tenants to be aware of the market situation.
  • "Since times are bad, I have to cut your commission by half and we co-broke" said Mrs Tan, an Owner of a Grangeford Condo. She also told me to delay getting the tenancy agreement from the Company as another agent might have some client with higher rentals and had told her she was renting too low! The Company's Human Resource Manager and its directors had been using delaying tactics too to get the Owner to paint the apartment when its employee agreed to take the 2-bedroom Grangeford apartment at $3,000 without painting. After painting, the Owner felt that there would be better offers since other agents had told her she was renting too cheaply. Suddenly, the Human Resource Manager was available in the morning to sign the lease and issue cheques when told of the Owner's intentions. Well, no client was produced by the other agent and the Owner signed the contract but wanted to remove the small TV set.

Advices to Owners & New Housing Agents: In this situation, you should not let the Owner bully you, especially if you had worked over the Chinese New Year to show the apartment and the Owner had not disclose she would pay 50% of the standard commission. The solution would be to let the Owner pay by 2 equal instalments over the 2 year-lease. Be aware of some Owners who are mean towards agents and everybody and get them to sign a commission contract before handling such calculative Owners. Also, tell the Owner if she is not interested, make a prompt decision so that you could bring the prospective Tenants to view other apartments.

Calculative Owners will suffer as tenants will not renew and will bad-mouth you during the viewing period one month or 2 before expiry of lease or "become unavailable" to other prospects for viewing. Agents will avoid you like wild fire too.

  • "Do you work on Sunday?" said Mr B, a Taiwanese Owner of UE Square Condo as she tried to delay signing the lease faxed to her on Friday night. My Japanese client had immediately sent her a cheque and she was probably feeling that $3,000 inclusive of car parking fees and new furniture were too low. I work every day I told her. Also, I had an Owner who confirmed just 6 hours too late, otherwise I would have the full commission since I would be co-broking in the Taiwanese case. This was a fact and she decided to sign.

Advices to Owners & New Housing Agents: Owners who do not respond within 24 hours are usually indecisive. In such cases, it is best to follow up and switch to other Owners or co-broke quickly, before you lose the prospective Tenant to another agent since you could not perform.

Owners will have to advertise themselves if they want to get the best offer (if any). But they must be present for all viewings at all times. Otherwise, get the first quality offer.

  • "My sister had accepted the offer. I thought you would call me in the morning but you didn't" said Dr T, an Owner of UE Square Condo. Earlier he had told me his sister would want to wait till Monday and it was Friday. My Japanese client had accepted his conditions of providing some new and old furniture at $3,000 rental for the 2-bedroom. Since he had given me the keys to his unit, it was convenient for me to direct the prospect to his unit and to recommend it. I do get full commission which is always a motivation to any realtor.

However, his sister, the co-owner wanted to wait till Monday (i.e. 3 days later) to see whether she would get a better offer. I had to co-broke and the co-broking agent's Taiwanese Owner (see above) was receptive but probably shocked at the indecent haste in giving her the good faith deposit. Her unit had been cleaned up, with lighting and curtains installed, a glass coffee table and side table and the whole unit floor was polished. It just looked good but it had been vacant for some time.

Co-ownership has problems. One co-owner may be aware of the situation while the other may not be. In this case, a corporate lease (more secure than personal), single tenant (less wear and tear of apartment), Japanese (preferred tenant of most Singaporean Landlord), 2-year lease (lower vacancy rate) and established company in Singapore are all favourable factors.

I told Dr T, I could not switch now because it would not be ethical. The furniture given was all brand new and the landlady had agreed to pay the car parking fees, instead of just 50% from Dr T and the payment of the car parking plastic by me, the agent.

Other 2-bedrooms have had been rented for $2,700 and I had rented one for $2,600 fully furnished.

"I spent whole Saturday afternoon showing him the furniture shop and he asked for $7,500 worth of furniture. The Owner was not agreeable" said Ms A, a co-broking agent. My client was demanding and had listed the type and quality of furniture in leasing at $5,300 fully furnisehd, the 3-bedroom Valley Park Condo. This unit faced a new construction site of Melrose Park and banging noise by piling was in progress.

During viewing, Agent M had just opened the sliding doors to show the balcony and the breeze. Within a few seconds of my client saying he felt good and liked the unit, the workers commenced piling! She quickly closed the window and wanted to go downstairs to discuss further. I told her to stay put, otherwise it would be hard to close since she would have made it so suspicious. In any case, the Englishman was no fool and would need to stay in the apartment to see where he would put the furniture.

$7,500 is reasonable budget for furnishing if rental is $5,300/month. One formula is around 80% of 2 months' rental but much depends on the Landlord. This case is good because of early commencement of lease and a 2-year corporate. The tenant has no children.

The Englishman could commence on February 15, just 2 weeks later and here, the Landlord was penny wise, pound foolish. After one week, the Landlord agreed but much time had been wasted and the Englishman had contacted several agents to source for him. In this case, the Owner should have set a limit on furniture spending, say $6,000 and simply reject the offer if the prospect wanted more.

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