Friday, October 2, 2009


Oct 2, 2009

A seller's cautionary tale

I AM compelled to share my experience as a cautionary tale after reading the report, 'Private homes still seeing high demand' (Sept 22). I was a flat owner of Gillman Heights, which was sold in a collective property sale exercise and for which I received $887,000 (around $520 per sq ft) for my 1,700 sqft three-bedroom unit.

By the time I received my money, I could only afford a similar unit far from the city and certainly not as central as Gillman Heights.

Former owners like me were assured we would receive priority in buying units in the new condominium - The Interlace - on the site of our former home.

But at $1,000 psf, I would have been effectively downgraded to a much smaller apartment at the same location. Worse, we were given only three days' advance notice of the exclusive preview for us to choose our units at the Shenton Way office of the developer, CapitaLand Residential.

The preview, like the units offered to us, was unfavourable. We were not given brochures and all we had to gauge the new condo visually was an amateurish miniature model which was a stark contrast to the sleek, three-dimensional and professionally crafted model displayed at the sales office at the public launch.

The preview seemed like a half-hearted attempt by the developer to meet its obligations under the sales pact.

Was the professional Interlace model completed and ready for viewing at the off-site sales office, and if yes, why was the 'private preview' not held at CapitaLand's temporary River Valley Road sales office instead?

Why were the preview for ex-owners and the public launch of The Interlace so starkly different? Former owners were not offered a discount and while it may seem like a public relations coup to announce that ex-owners of Gillman Heights would receive priority in selection of apartments in the new project, the ones we were offered were some of the most unfavourable.

So, if there is a moral to my experience for flat owners contemplating collective sale, I would say potential seller beware: Read the fine print over matters like priority purchase of the new condo.

Reginald Tan

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