Do your homework on standards

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2007, 12:00am

Buying a home in China's growing property market before it is built can be profitable, but there are risks.

How can you ensure the property you paid for meets your expectations when it is completed in two to three years?

In western countries such as Britain, there are quality assurance schemes run by independent parties to make sure the property you buy is up to standard.

But in China, you should do your homework, according to property experts.

Mainland law requires a contractor to give guarantees for specified periods on matters such as weatherproofing and heating systems, according to Wendy Chan, general manager of Centaline Property Management in Beijing.

'But quality of construction in China varies. Therefore, there are many defects in newly completed projects,' Ms Chan said.

'So, on your big day, you'll need time to check the defects and go back to the developers, who usually are willing to fix it.

'As the manager of the property, we play a role to check the defects and try to fix the problems before delivering. And we will go with the buyer to inspect the flat again,' she said.

And make sure you bring enough cash. 'You will not get the key and property certificate if you do not pay property management fees or maintenance fees on the same day,' Ms Chan said.

David Chan, head of Knight Frank's building consultancy division, said the best assurance of quality for the future was vetting by independent project auditors.

China Vanke, one of the largest mainland developers, started such project auditing last year and other developers are likely to follow suit.