How to Avoid Real Estate Scams in Singapore and Malaysia
Updated: Oct 19
Navigating the real estate markets of Singapore and Malaysia can be challenging, especially when you need to keep an eye out for scams. Fraudsters have a plethora of tricks to lure potential victims, ranging from posing as property agents to creating deceptive rental listings. Fortunately, understanding these scams can help you take preventative measures. In this article, we will share tips on how to avoid real estate scams, particularly in Singapore and Malaysia, so that you can safely manoeuvre the property market.
Confirm the Property Agent's Credentials
In both Singapore and Malaysia, real estate agents are required to be registered with their respective governing bodies. To avoid dealing with an unlicensed or fake agent, verify their identity by checking their registration details. In Singapore, agents are registered with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), and in Malaysia, they are under the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVEAP).
Perform Extensive Background Checks
One of the best ways to ensure the legitimacy of a property transaction is by conducting comprehensive background checks. Before you make any commitments, gather as much information as you can about the property, the seller or landlord, and any intermediaries involved. Platforms like Clicks® offer a wealth of information and resources on the real estate market, helping you find reliable agents and listings.
Carry Out Personal Property Inspections
Photos and descriptions can be deceiving, which is why a physical inspection of the property is essential. Never agree to a property transaction without verifying the condition and location of the property yourself. If you can't visit personally, consider employing a reputable property management company or agents to inspect the property for you.
Beware of Prices That Are Too Good to Be True
Scammers often lure victims by advertising properties at incredibly low prices. If the asking price of a property is significantly below the market value, it's a warning sign. Therefore, always research the average prices of similar properties in the same area. For buying of HDB or Condos in Singapore, you can use Clicks®’ AI-powered property valuation tool, Clickstimate, to provide an estimation of the value of the property you are interested in.
Avoid Upfront Payments Without a Formal Contract
One common scamming tactic is to request upfront payments or deposits without providing a legitimate contract or proof of ownership. Never transfer any money until a written agreement is in place and you are certain that the transaction is legal.
Consider Seeking Professional Assistance
Navigating the intricacies of property transactions can be complex. If you feel unsure at any point, consider hiring a professional, such as a lawyer or property agent, to review any documents and guide you through the process. This can prevent you from falling victim to fraudulent activities and ensure your interests are protected.
While real estate scams can be distressing, equipping yourself with the right knowledge can help prevent you from falling into these traps. By taking the time to confirm your property agent's credentials, perform extensive background checks, inspect the property yourself, be mindful of prices, avoid upfront payments without a contract, and seek professional assistance when needed, you'll be well on your way to safely exploring the property markets in Singapore and Malaysia. Always remember, platforms like Clicks® are there to assist you in making informed and secure real estate decisions.