With more and more developers rushing to launch new projects at discounts and offering incentives, new residential flats sold like hot cakes for the first quarter of 2014.

Home purchase incentives actually come in many forms: cash rebates, stamp duty subsidies and gifts among others. Depending on what the developers offer, these attractive preferential packages can be worth as high as 15% of the property price.

However, prospective buyers should keep in mind that the offers have to be set in writing. In other words, verbal promises of incentives, without a written confirmation are not reliable.

According to the practice circular issued by the EAA on the conduct in the promotional activities of first sales, estate agents should set out promises of incentives (including any gifts, discounts or rebates) to prospective buyers in writing.

Buyers should request the preferential packages be made in writing with clear representation as to whether the package is offered by a developer or by a property agency. If it is provided by an agency, a written confirmation should clearly states the date the offer be made and the terms of the offer.

Date: 2014-05-02