All too often, expats approach Singapore’s real estate market as if it’s their golden ticket to riches, as if it’s certain they’d make the right investment decisions without much effort or experience. Not having any respect for what the real estate market can do to your investments can result in egregious outcomes, particularly liquidating long-term property investments at a capital loss. Here’s what you should avoid as a first-time expat investor in the Singapore real estate market or any market for that matter.
While it’s absolutely possible to forgo the services of a local agent in Singapore, it’s not an option for everyone, especially for people who lack experience in the market and knowledge concerning the legal procedures of procuring an investment property in the said location. Choosing not to hire a broker comes as a handsome proposition for money-challenged investors. After all, a few hundred bucks saved from commissions and service fees can be allocated to other investment vehicles that accrue money over time. Time and time again, this decision proves to be costly for investors not only in terms of money, but time and energy as well.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some investors think more brokers means better quality investments and ultimately higher profitability over time. Since most local brokers in Singapore share the same database, they will likely have similar listings for property in Singapore. As a result, you pay more for the same leads. In addition, working with multiple brokers tend to be more confusing and chaotic in your day-to-day life.
Even if you are diligent in researching about the local market, it won’t matter if you don’t have any actual capital to invest in properties. Novice real estate investors tend to focus on surface-level subjects like where to start looking, how big a house or condo you prefer, what anticipated returns on investment you’ll settle for relative to risk, etc. All these are indeed important items to discuss immediately, but getting your loan approved should be a priority. Work on increasing your credit score. Any score above 700 should suffice for most banks and private lenders.
If you think you’ll be pulling out four or five figure paychecks from your real estate investments every year, think again. Real estate investing is a long-term business and not one of those get-rich-quick schemes you get spammed with on your email or find in online ads. To be successful in real estate investing, you have to be a proactive manager of the existing properties you own and future investments you could add to your portfolio.
These four common pitfalls are what stops the careers of aspiring real estate investors early. Avoid them at all costs alongside other common traps, such as hidden charges on investment contracts, lack of real estate diversification, and undercapitalization. Success in any business is not always about knowing everything. Sometimes, you just have to know what not to do.