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.
When a new development is about to be launched for sale, there will be lots of promotional information released by estate agents on the Internet and social media. When reviewing these promotional materials, consumers should take note that only estate agency companies are allowed to issue property advertisements, while individual licensees are not allowed to do so in their personal capacity. Besides, the information contained in the promotional materials must have the prior written endorsement of the developer and the materials issued in accordance with the latest information provided by the developer. As the sales-related information may be updated from time to time, consumers should pay attention to the publishing/issuing date of these materials, which is a piece of information required by the Estate Agents Authority to be stated clearly in the advertisements.
In addition, estate agents must advise prospective purchasers to read through the key property information before they enter into any agreement of sale and purchase. Such information includes the latest version of the sales brochures, price lists, sales arrangements and register of transactions (as information contained therein may be revised/updated by the developer), draft deed of mutual covenant and the Government Lease.
While the promotional materials prepared by estate agents may be simpler and easier to understand, there is no harm for a smart purchaser to cross check the information against the materials issued by the developer and seek professional advice before making a purchase decision. To study the most up-to-date and detailed information of a first-hand residential property thoroughly, prospective purchasers are encouraged to visit the Sales of First-hand Residential Properties Electronic Platform (www.srpe.gov.hk) for the latest version of sales brochures and price lists published by the developer.
Chief Executive Officer
Estate Agents Authority