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?
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.
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…