It’s pretty normal to see and flip through advertisements in the newspapers, magazines and even on your Facebook feed. You are most likely to be bombarded with glossy advertisements of attractive residential projects in Damansara Perdana, Setia Alam and other booming townships. All advertisers’ main target is to attract readers or consumers, get their eyeballs by going the extra mile in creating picture perfect impression and too-good-to-be-true products and packages. Here are some of the ploys that aspiring home buyers should watch out for.
- Using artist’s impression or illustration only
Most home buyers bought their property because they were attracted to the artist’s impression of the project as well as the lifestyle displayed on the sales brochure. All these naive purchasers only then realise it too late once they place their deposit. The image painted on the brochure looks too good to be true but then they found out that the project doesn’t live up to their expectations. Here’s some of the common advertising pitfalls.
Example 1: Your apartment faces a landmark view (ex: KLCC) as advertised in the sales brochure. Later you find that it is being obscured by a neighbouring tower/apartment block or the view is too distant and obscure.
Example 2: Your actual clubhouse is nowhere as glamorous as the one represented in the glossy brochure and the actual gymnasium is devoid of the promised high-tech equipment and facilities.
Example 3: When their advertisement says the address is a prime address but it is actually situated in the vicinity of the neighbouring area. For example, the Mont Kiara address is found in the vicinity of Segambut, where they ‘tumpang’ on the neighbouring prime residential address.
More often, all these images or illustrations have a clause on the bottom that says ‘All illustrations are artist’s impressions only’.
- The name of the developers
Although properties have been snapped up like hot cakes due to it’s distinction that it is being built by some well-known developer that has won multiple property awards. However, the project development is being build by some secondary-rate subsidiary or affiliate, that’s in actual. This information is only discovered upon the signing of the Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA).
SPA is legally binding upon the parties that signed the dotted lines of the contract. If there are any default on the terms and conditions of the contract, the aggrieved party may sue the other whose name appears. For instance, if the buyer is the aggrieved party, he will have no rights to sue the award-winning parent company of the subsidiary or the associate company. This is called ‘privity of contract’. Housing developers know better than to put all their eggs in one basket. By the time the project fails, it is easier for them to disassociate themselves from the subsidiary company as quickly as possible.
- Take note of features not stated in the SPA
Thanks to the beautiful illustration and attractive advertisements, most purchasers buy in to the portrayed overall living concept. Young couples are usually attracted to those perks and lifestyles such as hot yoga deck, playground, infinity pool and others. But, they are blindsided about the existence of an ‘active’ graveyard nearby or an oxidation pond right next to the recreational area.
Instead of all these sugar, spice and everything nice, home buyers should pay caution to the area density, the number of houses allowed to be built within house estate. The number of units or houses in the development determine the traffic and spaciousness of the area. The quality of housing estate may also be affected by the types and number of houses and other buildings like shop houses. Most importantly, it will not affect the resident’s convenience.
- Beware of free legal fees
Free legal fees is what the developer will pay for the legal fees on the SPA. But do take note that the offer of free legal fees may not cover disbursements such as stamp duties, searches fees, registration fees, printing charges, purchase of documents costs and etc. The buyer or purchaser will have to pay for those stated.
The ‘free legal fees’ exists in the housing development industry much to the dismay of purchasers having disputes with developers. Thus, there’s nothing free about it as far as the purchaser is concerned. It can only be considered free if the buyer receives independent legal representation and does not have to pay for it. Mind you, a lawyer cannot represent both vendor and purchaser. Shall there be any disputes, the lawyer is unlikely to represent you against their bigger client.