Friday, 22 January 2021

How We Sold Two Properties In One Month and Very Close to My Asking Price!

Towards the close of last year, I decided to put two of our properties on sale. One Freehold (FH) Condo and one HDB. Both properties have three bedrooms + additional small room. 

This week, we exercised options for both properties. 


REASONS WHY WE ARE SELLING

First of all, the property market has been the hottest in recent times despite one of the worst crisis ever. This means selling will be fastest and price will be better. Of course, I know the theory of sell high, buy high as well and I already consider that. 

Secondly, we are reaching that kind of age, that this is probably our last chance to be able to get a “stretchable” home loan. 

Thirdly, both properties were more than two decades old. I feel that as properties get older, it is more difficult to sell, with the exception of “Landed”. 

Fourthly, all this while, I have always wanted to own a landed property as I knew that land is scarce in Singapore. READ: Regret Not Buying a Freehold Landed Property 10 years Ago! Frankly, after deep thoughts and comforting from my wife, I don't think that I truly regretted my decision of not buying a landed ten years ago. I had chosen a condo back then because of the facilities, and good environment! My family enjoyed the facilities and my kids have many friends growing up within the condo. Furthermore, I also had lighter mortgage, helping me to grow my investment portfolio to where it is today. 

Last but the most important reason of selling, is that our 3 bedroom house are becoming increasingly more difficult to house the eight of us.  

REASONS WHY WE HATED SELLING

We love our current house. It is quite a good size of close to 1300 sqft. I reckon our apartment is one of the best units in our condo. Our balcony has splendid view, high floor and non-west facing. The house is regular shaped in layout. The condo is tranquil as we do not have too many units here and yet the environment is spacious, covered with lots of greens and with extensive facilities and a huge pool. Above all, my kids’ schools are not too far away! MRT is also within less than 10 min walk. 

Our HDB is located at one of the most convenient precinct in Singapore and short walk to MRT. For many years, we have never had a pause in rental income collection, and consistently giving us 7 to 8 percent or more rental yield. 

HOW THE MARKETING AND SELLING GOES? 

Asking Price 

For the condo, we indicated the asking prices higher than market rate but in the same range of the advertised asking pricing of others. For the HDB, because I knew that it can be more difficult to sell due to tenancy, and hence I indicated a lower asking price than all the rest selling in the vicinity and yet with much better renovation condition. 

For our condo, our asking price is set at: 

- 11 percent above bank valuation. 

- 7 percent above my initial target closure price

- PSF of 15% higher than the last condo transacted pricing.  

For HDB, our asking price is set at: 

- 8 percent above the last transacted pricing in the same block. 

- 3 percent above target closure price

- Sold at valuation by HDB

For both our properties, I have also combed through Property Guru, SRX, 99.co. to see the asking / transaction pricings and the units on sale. Without a doubt, in terms of asking price and renovation conditions, our units are definitely one of the best comparing apple to apple. 

Viewings Can be Frustrating

Due to the reasonable pricing and good renovation, plus December clearing leave period, viewing requests had been overwhelming.  

For our condo, the first viewing took place the same day the ad was posted. Several neighbours also signalled interests and came for viewings. Initially, viewings were almost every day or every other day. Later I reduced to 2-3 times a week. 

It can be very frustrating as strangers are walking in/out your house. And each time, you have to packed your house prior to viewing. I also use paper to cover our family photos on frame attached to walls, as I do not like strangers to see it. We will always go out during the viewings. 

For HDB, it was our agent and tenants arranging, so things are simpler. Our tenants only allowed for 1 day a week viewing and our agent is complaining because there are just too many requests with too little viewing slots. At one time, there were 13 groups of viewings in one day. 

Offers to Purchase (OTP)

For the condo, I already received an offer at a mere 4% below asking price during the first week of viewing. This was 6% above bank valuation and 3% above my comfortable selling price. The potential buyer even agree to my lease back term of 1 year. 

It is crazily good deal!  

But somehow my wife and me, and even our agent felt uncomfortable as it simply came too fast! I rejected the offer even though the cheque is at our door step! Then the next offer came at bank valuation amount, because of the buyer do not have sufficient cash we felt. Without saying, we rejected it too. 

EXERCISED OPTIONS OF SALE

Finally after just one month or so, the irresistible offer came. 

For the Condo, it was closed at : 

- 1.3% below our asking price

- 10% above bank valuation, 

- and record PSF within my condo (i.e. 14% above the previous highest recorded psf). 

And best of all, the buyers agreed to lease back to us for 1 year + option of 6 months. In fact, my condo buyers are so afraid that I will back out or sell to another buyers and kept chasing me to sign the OTP. 

For the HDB, it was closed at : 

- 3% below our asking price

- At HDB valuation

- 5% above the last transacted price of the same size within the same block. 

SELLERS NOT KNOWING “WHERE THEY STAND”

As I also started my property shopping and viewings, I knew of many houses already marketed for more than a year with no takers. It can be demoralising when you are serious seller. But some sellers are seriously too greedy, even when they have genuine intentions to sell.  

I knew my neighbours who are serious sellers because of their kid’s school being far away. They marketed for one year or more and finally gave up selling and started renovating their house, because there were no good offers. Their asking price is way too high, with their unit being original condition and low floor. 

It can be extremely dreadful when you try so hard to sell your house, going through the hassle of many strangers viewing your house with no buyers.  The poor agent is even more pitiful! It is a total waste of everybody’s time! 

SELLING A HOUSE IS NOT AS EASY AS YOU THINK

Closing a property sale is definitely not easy and it is unlike like stocks that is so much more liquid. It takes a lot of time and effort. It can even be very frustrating as many strangers scrutinised your house. Situation can also arise with unhappy dealings with your agent. 

Selling one house is already difficult. For us to be able to sell two within a month or so, we are so thankful. 

One important factor for me is that I must also be comfortable with the buyers. I hate to sell my house to arrogant and unreasonable buyers. One old uncle whose son is interested in buying our house even asked rudely to my wife if our house is leaking? I wasn’t around at that time, but was thinking, “why this stupid question?” This is because if he really think the seller will tell him, Yes, our house is leaking! Of course our house was not leaking! 

Although, we have not seen our buyers, but they are reasonable and fast to counter offer in negotiations, and both buyer groups are younger than us.  And without any specific reason, I prefer to sell to younger aged buyers. 

DO NOT SHORT-CHANGED YOUR AGENTS!!!

We had good relationships with our agents. We never short-changed our agents and pay the market rate 2% commission, even though one agreed to 1% initially, but I still pay 2%. I guess the less calculative nature of me towards the agents, has also indirectly help me to be able to sell at a higher price to reasonable buyers! They agents also worked hard for us and I appreciated their efforts! 

The icing of the cake is that we managed to lease back the house for 1 year and furthermore at a rental price that is 30% below what I use to rent out before. 

CONCLUSION

In summary, our FH property appreciate more than 40% value in ten years, and our leasehold HDB depreciated 7% in the same period, although our rental income significantly covers the shortfall.

One thing for sure, is that while we are happy, we are sure our buyers will also be happy because they have bought very good units at reasonable pricing. The good units were also vouched by many of my friends, our agents and tenants of HDB, considering the well maintained renovated conditions, layout and location of our houses. 

Next up, is the hunt for our new home sweet home… 







20 comments:

  1. God blesses not in our own timeline but His.

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    1. Hi Caelitus, Amen. It was definitely His timeline otherwise it will not be so smooth.
      GBU and ur loved ones as well.

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  2. 1. "both properties were more than two decades old"

    2. "our FH property appreciate more than 40% value in ten years, and our leasehold HDB depreciated 7% in the same period"

    Did you bought HDB resale flat?

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    1. Yeah CW! HDB was resale! Very very old liao... Not sure how many HDBs in SG can be other than ours.

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  3. Congratulations.
    Have you narrowed down your search for that new landed home in terms of neighbourhood yet?

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    1. Hi Andy, thank you and hope you and family are doing well in 2021 thusfar.

      I really love Serangoon Garden and their nearby amenities, and already went to see quite a few houses. The listings are not so many and everyone is asking for high pricing now, except those odd shapes, west suns, along main-roads etc ones.

      Also Garden, is a little inconvenient for my kids' school, but I have little choice on this as my kids study near Bt Timah and the landed there are way beyond my reach.

      However, I am not bounded by one particular location, as I am open to other areas EXCEPT those are outskirts.

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    2. We too love Serangoon Garden. Been here since 2006. Traffic flow is a bit of an issue if your place is in the wrong corner of Serangoon Garden.
      Best of luck to finding the right place soon.

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    3. Hi Andy, I cant of guess it for u, due to the school there. Yeah I know the place pretty well as few frds stayed there. Entry by Cardiff Grove is much better.... Tks.

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  4. Did you consider cluster house? You get more space at more affordable pricing and in better location.

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    1. Hi LKH,

      Thanks for suggestion. Yes, we considered it. My sibling use to own cluster and landed, and I stayed in both there before in my younger days.

      For cluster you do not own the land, it is more like condo with mcst monthly fees.

      Normally cluster has land that is smaller, meaning living room is smaller but compensate with basement and built up GFA in vertical manner.

      No doubt cluster is normally better reno with facilities, but landed give lots of flexibility in the land or A&A to give more GFA.

      Main point is also Landed is very sellable if not odd shapes, not west sun direct facing, not along main road, n seller not overall greedy, but cluster is more difficult to sell!

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  5. Brolf, congrats! .. buying/selling can be quite tiring!

    kinda agree with the above comment, cluster housing is a good alternative.. hybrid type of landed house but with facilities. the only problem is not many in the market.

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    1. Hi Bro, see above comments. Cluster the psf appreciation is slow compared to landed!

      And it’s more difficult to sell. But it is definitely very comfy living there.

      Delete
  6. Hi Rolf,
    Am 66 this year. With more free time now, start to read blogs to pass time. Your blog is a refreshing read.
    I am not in property investment locally, though have invested in overseas properties. Based on my own experience and those of relatives & friends, I think a freehold/999 years landed in land scarce Singapore is a better option for wealth preservation in the long term.
    Bought my first home, a freehold landed intermediate terrace in Tai Hwan in 1987 out of necessity as I was getting married. Our combined income then disqualified us from buying HDB. Were qualified to buy 99 year HUDC, but the price was only slightly lower than a freehold terrace. Condo was beyond us, as condo was then a new fashionable concept and supply was scarce. Sold the intermediate terrace in 1995 and bought current home in Kovan, again out of necessity because of family needs for more space. Excluding interests accumulated over 30+ years, total captial outflow for the 2 properties was about $1 mil. Think current value of present property is 4/5 times the total capital outflow. Some years back, had thought of swapping current landed for 2 or 3 condo for rental income, but decided against this. Supply & demand favours freehold/999 years landed over the long term, with option to pass on as legacy. Also, could extract income from cuurent property by taking equity loan using current property as collateral and invested in investment grade corporate bonds. Difference in equity loan interest and coupons has earned me between $2,000 and $3,000 per month for the past 12 years, tax free and hazzle free. There are ways to extract income from landed properties, other than renting out the properties.

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    1. Hi Retiree5559,

      Tk u for e comments n reading my blog. Above all, tk u for sharing ur exp.

      I agree to go ONLY for FH/999 bcos they appreciate faster in land scarce Sg.

      Interesting to note that Condo use to be for the more affluent?

      My sis resides in landed, so far she had made more than 100% of prev being last than 5 yrs, and her current one is again at least another 70-80% appreciation within 10yrs.

      Great to know about prop as collateral helping. This is v gd idea! For fully paid property only right???

      Tai Hwan area - in fact I am going for viewing today! :-) Kovan is also my fav with so many amenities around.

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  7. wow congrats!

    All the best in searching your new landed prorperty. I am already in my 30s and haven't got a property yet.

    Landed property is good, just that the maintanence costs can be quite ex.

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    1. Hi EOS, tks.
      Yes, w garden, and some with swimming pool n lift will incur hefty maintenance. Parking can be saved though! Condo also has maintenance fees, n I know of some ex Condo of 1.5K per mth. S$400 pm for condo should be typical ...

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  8. Rolf,
    My faith in landed properties was buttressed by the changes in prices (landed vs condo) over the years as their relative supply & demand changes. Yes, condo used to be costlier than landed in the 1980s. Not many condo then, also generally larger than current ones in sizes. With condo becoming more and more "mass market", the price gap will likely widen further in future.
    No, still have outstanding loan of ~ $40,000 now. Intended to fully pay out years ago when my RM stopped me & suggested the equity loan idea, about the lowest borrowing cost in the market. Good to learn you are looking at Tai Hwan/Kovan. Nice area, quiet, good food & transport link, many amenities, almost all the banks in Singaore within a small area, NTUC etc. Wish you all the best in your house hunting.

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    1. Hi Retiree5559,

      Thank you for your well wishes and sharing.
      May God's blessings upon you and your family.

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  9. Best wishes and congrats on selling! Looking forward to hearing more about your house hunt experience.

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    1. Hi garudadri,

      Thank you for the well wishes. Will definitely share more about my house hunting experiences in the near future.

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