• Joshua Loo

How We Sell/Buy Landed Properties Are Outdated. Here’s Why.

Updated: Jan 25


How We Sell Buy Landed Properties Are Outdated. Here's Why

Introduction


“I’m interested to offer at the seller’s asking price of $3.5 million for this landed property.”


These are magical words that every real estate salesperson will be longing to hear. A straightforward deal with little sway from the seller's position. The purchase decision for a real estate buyer is a convoluted process, in which some may also unknowingly skip some steps!


How we sell and buy landed properties are outdated to an extent and I feel that it can be improved. If you are in the market for selling or buying a new landed property, give me a few minutes of your time.


I assure you it will be time well spent.


Why Product Specialists Matter


For the longest time, I’ve been selling to customers. It all started when I was in my early teens, selling educational magazines to Junior College students. It was still clear to me as day on how daunting it was to sell a product in which the prospective buyer has more experience in the subject matter than me.


Joshua in 2010

2010, the year of spiky haircuts and my last day on the job! I had to dig in deep to the recesses of Facebook photos to find this picture.


It felt like a complete irony because, if my role as a salesperson was to successfully convince a prospect of purchasing a product, shouldn’t I know more about it? Regardless, as a 16-year-old that was not my top concern. If my prospects were able to see strong value in a product, who was I to argue with them. All I was concerned about was getting sales.


The educational magazines sold like hotcakes, but it was something that I have always pondered on.


Fast forward to 2016, my second sales stint was as a sales representative selling cruise packages. During this period, I was in this job for a longer duration and was able to understand more on the motivations of what customers are looking for.

Joshua in 2016

2016, Sadly, I couldn’t find any other picture during my time on the job except this ridiculous picture of me making faces.


There was a departure in the previous ways of selling as this time around, there was a stronger consultative aspect to which what customers are looking for. Customers were more interested in specifications like if the cabins are above or below sea level, facing towards the exterior or interior of the cruise, specific activities and showtimes, etc. Only when they are fully satisfied, then the customers will make a booking.


During my time as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, now I was dealing with Healthcare Professionals (HCPs), and things took an interesting turn. These HCPs are no doubt extremely knowledgeable about the products already, and as a sales representative, it was our duty to constantly remind them about the benefits of these products for their patients.


If there was a question that was way beyond our technical knowledge, there were other medical professionals within our company that will be able to advise the doctors, aka the customers.


Joshua in 2019

2019, this was when I am at a product exhibition at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. Apologies for the horrible censorship definitely can be done more gracefully. Best to get all these details censored lest I get into legal trouble!




You’re still reading?


Thanks for following me down on this quick trip down memory lane. Although this might feel unrelated to the topic in question, here’s to why I brought these events up.


Educational Magazines: Low ticket item, doesn’t take much for a customer to make a purchase, the salesperson does not need to be well informed to sell effectively.


Cruise Packages: Mid ticket item. Affects customers significantly for a set period due to a change in living conditions for the period of cruise. The salesperson needs to be well informed to sell effectively.


Pharmaceutical Sales: Low to mid ticket item. Customers are extremely knowledgeable about their trade, but not necessarily to the product itself. The salesperson needs to convey the specifications of the product to sell effectively.


Notable Mention: I had a short three-month stint as a marketing lead in regards to an experimental start-up based in Thailand. Although it was not technically a sales position, my experience in this role was fundamental in shaping what Estate Magnates is today.


Here’s Why Landed Property Transactions Are Outdated


Speaking honestly from the perspective of a real estate salesperson, landed property buyers are more often than not poorly advised in regards to a land’s potential.


Purchasing a strata unit is easy enough without considering construction cost (i.e., Additions & Alterations (A&A), reconstruction, redevelopment). But this is very crucial for landed property buyers and there can be a lot of hidden costs if they are not careful.


Sure, you can always add in an exit clause in the option to purchase that states should the written permission and/or building plan submission is rejected by the authorities, the option is refundable. However, the submissions will certainly take a duration longer than 14 days (i.e., duration of the option) and add complication to the sales process.


This hinders the overall sales transaction for the seller and there is a good chance that the seller might reject such a proposal if there is strong demand for the plot of land. Furthermore, they might proceed with another buyer who will not have that many requirements.


In case you are new to my website, I wrote a Guide to Rebuilding Landed Properties for Private Home Owners. It is very extensive but all this information is just scratching the surface of identifying other hidden potential of a landed property. I can add in more information in regards to construction but it will be confounding and I’m not qualified to contribute such technical advice.


The best analogy to this is akin to buying a second-hand car. Everything looks good on the surface, and the car salesperson is knowledgeable on surface-level details and in conducting the paperwork for the sale. However, after the sale, any defects or faults in the car is your liability and no one else’s! It is best to bring a mechanic along to adequately take all precautionary measures before the sale to advice if it is a good buy or not.


However, here is where the challenge lies. No mechanic will ever do this for free!


The Solution


Consider the following paragraphs to be a soft pitch for my services. Please bear with me.


Singaporeans are all well-informed buyers and we will always go to every nitty-gritty before committing to a purchase. So why do we take one of the most expensive purchases with little care?


Purchasing a landed property should be a holistic experience. Estate Magnates focus is on real estate transactions, but outside of the typical real estate work, we do not have the expertise in terms of construction work. You will need a licensed builder or a Singapore-registered architect.


Similar to the “car mechanic” analogy, such a service is not free. They are being paid based on a contract basis, similar to real estate salespersons.


By working closely with our partners, Estate Magnates can provide you with no-obligation construction consultations and site viewings!


This is a great deal as it offers you a true insight into the true costs and potential of the land that you are purchasing.


Here is our proposition.


From a Buyer’s Perspective

What’s Required:

  • Sign an exclusive estate agency agreement with me, which includes all the agency work required

  • No- obligation construction-related site consultations for the landed property that you are interested in (up to 3)


From a Seller’s Perspective

  • Sign an exclusive estate agency agreement with me, which includes all the agency work required

  • No-obligation construction-related site consultations for the landed property that you are interested in selling or buying later (up to 3)

  • I.e., This allows me to position your property correctly based on the merits of the land extensively and leverage its benefits.


In both scenarios, exclusive agreements are required because it is the only way forward for me to prove to the contractors a level of commitment from you, without incurring traditional costs from on-site viewings and consultations.


However, it is entirely up to your discretion to proceed with the contractors for your rebuilding and A&A projects.


Conclusion

I feel that landed property purchases/sales are done quite haphazardly and as buyers/sellers, we should place more focus beyond what we just observe on the surface.


As a real estate agent, it is our role to advise and seek good property deals based on transactional data.


However, real estate agents can also be blindsided in regards to construction matters.


When most people’s life savings are closely linked to the properties that they own, shouldn’t there be more focus on other out-of-sight costs too?


If you are ready to take the next step forward, do contact me and let us work something out.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee, or other group or individual. The author does not accept any responsibility whatsoever for any harm or loss arising from accessing or relying on information contained in this blog post.


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