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Thread: Couple sue agency after buyer flips flat for profit

  1. #1
    mr funny is offline Any complaints please PM me
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    Default Couple sue agency after buyer flips flat for profit

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Prime%2B...ry_329250.html

    January 22, 2009 Thursday

    Couple sue agency after buyer flips flat for profit

    By Selina Lum


    WHEN a married couple sold their downtown apartment for $688,000 in 2007, they thought it was the best deal they were going to find.

    But soon after they granted the buyer the right to purchase the property, the two-bedroom Keng Cheow Street apartment was re-sold for $945,000.

    It was only later that Mr Yuen Chow Hin and Madam Wong Wai Fan found out about the second deal.

    They also learnt that the woman who bought their flat - and flipped it for a healthy profit - was married to the boss of their real estate agent.

    The couple cried foul, and are now suing ERA Realty Network in the High Court, seeking $257,000 - the difference between the two sale prices - and the return of about $7,300 in commission.

    They allege the company did not try its best to find buyers and made a 'secret profit' off the deal.

    ERA disputes that and says the couple have no basis to sue it since the agent was not an employee but an independent contractor.

    Yesterday, the hearing entered its third day, with ERA senior vice-president Marcus Chu taking the stand.

    He denied that the agency earned any secret profits and said that the real estate agent, Mr Jeremy Ang, did nothing wrong.

    Mr Chu said ERA agents are required to disclose the identity of the buyer only if that person is the agent or a member of his immediate family.

    This was echoed by Mr Ang, who also took the stand.

    Mr Yuen, 50, and Madam Wong, 48, hired Mr Ang to sell their apartment at The Riverside Piazza in June 2007. He told them he would advertise the property.

    In early July, an offer came for $650,000. After negotiations, the couple granted the buyer, Madam Natassha Sadiq, an option - dated July 12 - to buy the flat for $688,000.

    Meanwhile, Madam Natassha's husband - Mr Ang's boss - placed advertisements in the papers to sell the property for his wife.

    On July 14, a buyer responded to an ad which asked for $945,106. Four days later, Madam Natassha granted the new buyer an option to buy the flat for $945,000.

    Both deals eventually went through.

    Mr Yuen and Madam Wong found out about the re-sale only after the Central Provident Fund Board asked them about the disparity between the selling price and the valuation submitted by the new buyer's banker.

    Their lawyer, Ms Gan Kam Yuin, argued that ERA made little effort to get the best possible price for the flat.

    She questioned why Mr Ang did not place newspaper ads for the couple. Mr Ang said calling up his regular clients, who included Madam Natassha, constituted 'advertising'.

    Ms Gan argued that the firm had placed itself in a position of conflict of interest.

    But Mr Ang said there was no conflict because the buyer was not himself nor his wife.

    Madam Natassha and her husband, Mr Mike Parikh from ERA, are expected to testify today.

  2. #2
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    Ai yoh... just charge them for "Conflict of interest"... Sure this couple will have their xxx fired!

  3. #3
    mr funny is offline Any complaints please PM me
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    Default No secret buyer or profit, says property exec's wife

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapor...ry_329657.html

    January 23, 2009 Friday

    No secret buyer or profit, says property exec's wife

    By Selina Lum


    Mr Parikh and his wife, Madam Sadiq, told the High Court there was no secret buyer in waiting. -- ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

    THE wife of a senior property agent who bought an apartment through her husband's subordinate, then quickly sold it for a $257,000 profit, yesterday refuted claims that she had made a 'secret profit' from the deal.

    Madam Natassha Sadiq, 40, told the High Court her purchase of the downtown flat from Mr Yuen Chow Hin and Madam Wong Wai Fan was done on a 'willing buyer and willing seller' basis.

    Mr Yuen, 50, and Madam Wong, 48, have sued ERA Realty Network to seek profits from the sale and the return of about $7,300 in commission.

    They claim their agent did little to market the flat to other buyers, and was in a clear conflict of interest when he sold the unit to his boss' wife.

    In a testimony echoed by her husband, Mr Mike Parikh, Madam Sadiq said there was no secret buyer in waiting when she bought the two-bedroom Keng Cheow Street apartment in mid-2007. Mr Parikh is a senior group division director of ERA.

    Madam Sadiq said that in early July last year, her husband told her about The Riverside Piazza unit being marketed by his subordinate, Mr Jeremy Ang.

    She made an offer of $685,000 as her identity card number started with '685'. She said: 'I know it sounds a bit crazy, but it's from my IC number.'

    The price was eventually agreed at $688,000. Madam Sadiq said she was granted the right to buy the flat on July 5 last year, but the couple disputed this date as the option was dated July 12.

    Madam Sadiq said she then decided to try to sell the apartment as property prices were then 'roaring'. Two days later, on July 7, the unit was on the market again. This time, it sold for about $945,000.

    'At the time, the market was bullish, and we decided to put up this price. We happened to make a bit of a profit,' Madam Sadiq said.

    Mr Parikh, 44, took the stand after his wife. He said the first sale to his wife and her subsequent resale were separate transactions. He said his subordinate, Mr Ang, called him up on July 5 to tell him that the sale to Madam Sadiq was a 'done deal'.

    The next day, Mr Parikh placed advertisements in The Straits Times for July 7 and July 9. When there was no response, he changed the text, adding 'en bloc potential' in a third ad on July 14.

    He admitted that he had not actually heard of any plans to sell units at The Riverside Piazza collectively. 'It's just a common term that agents use because there were a lot of en blocs going on. The possibility is always there,' he explained.

    On the same day that he placed the third ad, an interested buyer responded. Four days later, Madam Sadiq granted him an option to buy at $945,000.

    It was only later that Mr Yuen and Madam Wong found out about the resale.


    About the case

    MR YUEN Chow Hin and Madam Wong Wai Fan have sued property agency ERA Realty Network for breach of contract and misrepresentation.

    In July 2007, the couple, through ERA agent Jeremy Ang, sold their apartment for $688,000.

    Unknown to them, the buyer, Madam Natassha Sadiq, was the wife of Mr Ang's boss. Soon after she was granted the right to buy the property, Madam Sadiq flipped the flat for $945,000.

    Mr Yuen and Madam Wong are now seeking from ERA the price difference of $257,000 and the return of about $7,300 in commission.

    They claim the agency did not try its best to find more offers and allege that there was conflict of interest.

    ERA says it is not liable for the actions of its agents, who are independent contractors. In any case, says the agency, Mr Ang has not breached its code of conduct.

    Lawyers for both sides are to make closing arguments next Thursday.

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