FROM BAUHAUS TO YOUR HOUSE
When one comes to a foreign land with the intention of settling down or establishing a business, it is vital that he find a reliable source of information with regards to local business, banking and property regulations. 103rd Meridian East speaks to Jonathan Chua, Head of Investment Sales & Leasing at Bauhaus International. The company is affiliated to Ray International Real Estate Group, which won the prestigious and much coveted "Best Real Estate Agency in Singapore 2009" Asia Pacific Award, beating entrants from 25 countries.
Mr Chua, what services does your company provide and what beliefs drive your business?
Similar to private banking, Bauhaus serves a niche group of clients comprising high net-worth individuals, middle to upper management executives and entrepreneurs. We assist them in the purchase of their dream home or relocating their family to Singapore. Trust, integrity and personal attention to detail are at the heart of our ethos. We strive consistently to adhere to the highest levels of integrity. We are driven by our strong belief that our clients deserve nothing but the very best.
Interestingly, most of our client relationships often begin over a cup of tea or coffee, whereby we get a greater insight into our clients' accommodation preferences, wants, likes and dislikes. Through our in-depth understanding of each individual client, we are able to successfully procure a home that reflects our clients' lifestyle, prestige and financial status.
Our services include linking our clients to a wide and comprehensive pool of lawyers, bankers and other professionals, so as to cater to their varied individual needs. We work closely with the Tao Trust Group, Bank Hapoalim, Credit Suisse and TSMP Law, just to name a few established institutions.
How does your team at Bauhaus differentiate itself from other agencies?
Our team has a vast wealth of experience in every aspect of the real estate industry such as retail,
corporate leasing and residential sales. We have associates who hail from recognised real estate consultancies such as Jones Lang Lasalle. We firmly believe that an experienced team, driven by passion for the business and 100 per cent commitment to our clients' needs, is best placed to succeed.
What is your clients' typical profile?
Our clients include wealthy individuals, executives and business owners mainly from Europe and the Middle East. We also have a handful of clients from Moscow, Zurich and Geneva that were referred to us our by my bankers from Credit Suisse and Bank Hapoalim. Our relocation clientele includes AXA, UBS, Mitsui & Co, Fortis Bank and delegates from the European Commission and embassies, amongst others.
What are the professional charges for service rendered in the sale or lease of a property?
Real estate fees are paid by the seller of the house/condominium at the close of a real estate sales transaction. The professional service fee is one to two per cent of the sale price. For leases with tenure of two years or longer, our agency charges a service fee equivalent to one month's rent payable by the landlord. However, buyers and tenants will not incur any service fees if we successfully procure them a home. We usually qualify our buyers and tenants to ensure that they are realistic in their house hunting criteria, so as to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of our home searches. Bauhaus' number one priority is to consistently deliver first-class service for our clients – our primary focus is getting our clients what they want; commission takes a backseat. Our greatest satisfaction is seeing our clients find their dream home and relocate comfortably. Also, the friends and associates they referred to us that benefitted from our services – that continued trust and confidence is priceless!
One of the ways to obtain Singaporean permanent resident status is to acquire property in the city-state. Could you elaborate?
Under the Global Investor Programme (GIP), foreigners may be considered for PR status if they invest a minimum sum of $1 million to start a business or investment vehicle. Investment in a private residential property can be considered part of a foreigner's investment for his PR application. Under the GIP programme, the applicant's spouse and children below 21 years old may be included under the same application. The approval process takes about six to nine months, and we'll put the client in contact with a group of lawyers that has successfully helped numerous clients obtain their PR here.
Is there any difference in your clients' tastes and preferences with regard to their nationality What kind of property do Russians normally prefer?
Generally, our clients purchase properties for either their own stay or for investment. Their considerations differ mainly on their buying objectives. For properties for own stay, clients usually take into account key factors such as location (preferred areas of residence), proximity to amenities or children's schools, etc.
In general, European clients prefer apartments or houses with large living spaces with balconies, or homes with large gardens. They prefer developments that are close to town yet surrounded by nature and lush greenery. For clients with a passion for seafront living, we have successfully introduced them to homes at Sentosa Cove, where they can moor boats at their very doorstep. Our Russian clients prefer full-facility condominiums with high-end furnishings, with a floor size of 300 sqm in the central core district, for investment or own stay.
How do you overcome the language barrier?
At Bauhaus, language is never a barrier. In our relocation department, we have both German and Italian associates that help clients from their native countries. As for our Russian clients, we have the assistance of a personal German friend / banker who speaks fluent Russian, Mandarin and Korean. We're looking for a Russian relocation officer, if you have any recommendations.
What is a typical work week for you?
When my clients are in town, we offer them the luxury of a personal limousine service. We meet for coffee or lunch to discuss their requirements, followed by a series of house-shopping sessions. For clients who are only able to do viewings during the weekends, we are always ready to go the extra mile to accommodate their busy schedules. In between or after house hunting, we also help our clients furnish their homes. Our services include liaising with architects, interior designers, contractors, furnishing and lifestyle retailers on our clients' behalf. Finally, during our clients' housewarming parties and birthday celebrations, we are honoured to be on their list of invitees.
From Bauhaus to your house, our clients' satisfaction is our philosophy.
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