9505Singapore real estate, handling short term leases, educational stories for asiahomes.com realtors, excerpts from "The Internet Realtors, Singapore", sponsored by  AsiaHomes Internet.

The persevering Singaporean scholar

One of the emails from France.
Thu, 7 Dec 2000 17:49:05 +0100


Thanks for getting more apartments for us. We intend to take the 16 two bedroom and 6 three bedroom apartments you have reserved. I should be able to send you a definitive list of the names and passport numbers next Monday morning your time.

I've had a request for more information. Please could you ask the management of the condominium to provide a detailed description of the 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartments to me by email:

--floor area
--number and types of beds per bedroom
--number of bathrooms
--details of furnishings and appliances
--details of condo facilities

An earlier email from a Singaporean asking for help to find apartments at S$1,000 per person per month for 2 months for his 40 classmates attending a course in Singapore was rejected by me.  

It would be a big hassle and anyway there were no individual landlords willing to be flexible. It would be a massive logistics headache getting apartments in various locations for 40 people.  I said no. 

He persevered and emailed for help saying that "he could not find anybody". Perseverance sometimes help you achieve your goal. 

He was one of Singapore's younger and dynamic scholars who would get top job offers even before he graduated and he was sacrificing his time to help his classmates from France. This I learnt much later from his friend. He certainly had the trait "Never take no for an answer" to be successful in life.   

I knew the ideal serviced apartment for his classmates.  

But the operator now said that he would not pay agency commission if the lease was less than 3 months as it would be too much administrative work.  Other operators were paying 1.5 month's rent per year of lease and this operator was not interested in agents referring cases to him.

$80,000 for 2 months for the serviced apartment operator was a good amount. 

Would you want to take up the case?  The pro-rated agency commission would be around $3,400 but the operator would not pay since the lease period was less than 3 months!  So, it was not worth the trouble and time?

Much depends on whether you see a glass of water as half empty or half full.  Was this surfer giving me an opportunity or a problem?

Since he was persistent, I obliged and asked for a $500 fee.  I thought it was a simple case just contacting the operator and linking both together.  I was in for a big shock and had to sweat it out.

The operator did not accept credit card payment but wanted cash!  This must be paid 3 days before arrival or the deal was off. He wanted full payment including the security deposit.

It was 7 days before Christmas now. Would the foreign bankers of various countries from Europe and Asia be so efficient and prompt in telegraphic transfers? I don't think so.

Imagine the nightmare of ensuring that all 40 foreigners wiring their monies just before the Christmas period.  To ensure that they pay in full before arrival.
I would not be able to contact them by email.

Would 40 foreigners sign 40 tenancy agreements for 22 apartments?
Or 22 foreigners sign?

But the operator wanted a local person to be responsible for the tenancy agreement.  Who will be responsible and would he know that he would be legally liable for the damages and non payment of the rent?

Fortunately, the scholar agreed to sign. He offered a cheque for full payment too. Would you believe that the operator actually said no need? 

How about the utility and telephone accounts?  The operator wanted more money if he provides the services.  This was unacceptable.  The scholar solved this problem.

Now, it would be 3 weeks before the lease expired and $9,000 still remained unpaid by 2 people.  

The Landlord was not responsible and did not want to be aggressive.  Had the Landlord accepted full payment from the scholar, it would not be his responsibility to chase for the residual amount.  

Time was running out. What should I do?  The Landlord did not want to appear high handed and the money was short.

I phoned the scholar. "Get the Landlord to ask for the money," he said. 

"Well, you are legally liable for any shortfall as you had signed the tenancy agreement and that's why I had to bother you," I said. I gave him the names of the 2 classmates to chase for money. 

I am sure the classmates would pay.  Would the scholar be helpful the next time? I think he would. He was the proactive type and a good student ambassador for Singapore.  He had gained considerable goodwill and showed leadership to 40 foreigners who would be movers in their countries.  

At least 20 emails were sent by me. It was a hassle and probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about mass short-term housing. If you ask me, I will not look forward to handle this type of case again but then I may. 

Tips for new www.asiahomes.com Realtors

This case study showed that you need to have a positive mental attitude to handle any case if you are new in this business. You will learn a lot on how to handle cases by being hands on, even for small accounts. This was not a small account in the sense that the commission was over $3,000. 

After much negotiation, the operator paid the commission. You still needed to follow up with the Landlord before it was too late as there was a shortfall.    This case definitely need two agents as there were too many people wanting different types of accommodation. The scholar was the other agent who worked for free and he played a significant role in getting the act together.     

You Got Tenant, Serviced Apartment Owner?

Looking for Tenants is like winning a war.
You need to know where your enemies can be found.

You need to advertise in www.asiahomes.com
where prospects interested in Singapore properties
are likely to be found.

Why not place an affordable internet ad
to contact prospects direct and save you
a few thousand dollars in agency commission?
Telephone +65 9668 6468, E-mail judy@asiahomes.com

Last updated:
08 Feb 2001


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