Covid-19 Circuit-Breaker: How could I Buy/Sell/Rent?

As the Covid-19 pandemic soldiers on, the Singapore government has been moving Singapore closer and closer to a lockdown in order to “flatten the curve” as quickly as possible, to enable Singaporeans and its residents to be able to get back to normal life as soon as possible. 

With the latest announcement of the “Circuit Breaker”, everyone is required to stay home and only venture out for essential services. Property agency work is not categorized as one of the essential services, and so the real estate agency industry has to adapt to the new circumstances so that it can still provide clients with its professional services in the most efficient way possible.

All Estate agents (EAs) and real estate salespersons (RESs) have to co-operate and refrain from interactions in public or private spaces and to adopt digital or online tools for their estate agency work and interactions.

If you are a property owner currently in a the midst of selling your house, all on-site, physical property-related activities must be postponed until at least after 4 May 2020.

However, if you have scheduled appointments or matters that cannot be delayed due to special circumstances or regulatory requirements the real estate agent will not be present.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

1. If I am in urgent need of buying, selling, or renting a home, can I or my real estate agent proceed to arrange for viewings if the other party permits? Can onsite property viewings be conducted if the seller and tenants are willing to do so? 

No. During the “circuit breaker” period of April 7 to May 4, no gathering of any size of people who are not live in the same household are allowed. Therefore, all interactions and viewings will have to take place online only.

As your property agent will not be permitted to enter your property to take photos or videos, however, you might be able to assist your agent by taking some photos or videos which your property agent will be able to utilize in the marketing of your property.

2. If I am in urgent need of renting a home, can I or my real estate agent proceed to arrange for the signing of an agreement/contract if the other party permits?

For rental transactions, your agent should facilitate digital signing of documents where possible, and may facilitate an on-line meeting.
If you have to sign the tenancy agreement or any other contracts with another party that requires original signatures to complete the transaction, a courier service may be the solution.

3. Will development launches still go ahead?

No. Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has issued an advisory to all developers with a sale licence to close their show galleries with effect from 7 April 2020 until 4 May 2020 (inclusive). Developers are strictly not allowed to conduct any viewings and marketing activities in their show galleries during this period; they can only host their launches on web portals and conduct marketing and sales using digital means.

In a nutshell, while these measures specific to the Covid-19 are disruptive, interactions with and updates for clients are well supported by online services. Your property consultant will be able to continue to fully support your needs remotely. 

Meet-ups can also be facilitated via Video Conferencing platforms such as Zoom, etc.

It seems this Covid-19 pandemic is going to last for some times. We are all in this together! Stay safe!

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