Purchasing properties situated outside Hong Kong is complicated, especially when purchasing uncompleted ones (“UPOH”) where the risk involved is even higher. Consumers should be extra vigilant and study all relevant information before making a purchase decision, and they should not blindly rely on property advertisements or online information. Before making a purchase decision, consumers should carry out risk assessment, in order to protect their own interests.
Some people might think that estate agents are only concerned about earning a fortune, when in fact many trade members care about society and contribute to the community. In this regard, the Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”) actively facilitates and encourages estate agents to participate in Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) activities in recent years.
In the past five years, the Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”) has opened 119 complaint cases related to non-local properties. As there is an increasing number of Hong Kong investors purchasing non-local properties for different purposes, the EAA will keep on reminding consumers of the risks involved.
Nowadays, the internet and mobile devices have become a necessity in our daily life. Due to the impact of COVID-19, even more businesses are conducted through digital means.
Property transactions involve large amounts of money and most purchasers will need to apply for a mortgage loan. Whether the application is successful or not and the terms of the approved mortgage will be very important to purchasers.
Recently, a developer announced that two blocks of its first-hand residential development had to be torn down and rebuilt due to concrete defects, causing delay in possession of the properties by the buyers. Although this is only an individual incident and will probably not affect consumers’ confidence in new property developments in Hong Kong, it demonstrates the importance of property completion date as any delay in possession of the properties will inevitably affect some purchasers’ financial plans. Hence, I would like to remind prospective property buyers of first-hand residential properties that they should study all key information carefully before making any purchase decisions.
In addition to the “5A qualities” (Adherence, Ability, Accountability, Advancement and Affinity) that a professional estate agent should possess, the Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”) also promotes another important value to the estate agency trade, and that is giving back to their communities.
As estate agents play a very important role in property transactions which usually involve a large amount of money, they should keep abreast of the latest industry knowledge and developments and commit themselves to self-enhancement through life-long learning, so as to provide professional services to their clients.
The Law Society of Hong Kong (“Law Society”) has recently intervened into the practice of a solicitors’ firm Messrs. Wong, Fung & Co. (“Firm”), as it has reason to suspect that a former clerk of the Firm had dishonestly misappropriated money belonging to the Firm’s clients.
In recent years, there is an increasing number of advertisements in mass and social media on the sale of properties situated outside Hong Kong. In this regard, I would like to remind all potential consumers to pay extra attention to all related information of the property and not to solely rely on the promotional materials provided by the developer or estate agents, especially when they are considering purchasing an uncompleted property situated outside Hong Kong (“UPOH”).