The process began when our client phoned PLB to start his first home purchase with his fiancée. When they first contacted us, they had tried looking for homes on their own but were unsure of what they needed to take note of and how to go through the entire process of purchasing a HDB resale flat. Being first-time home purchasers, it is indeed normal for them to feel uncertain and extra cautious about the process. Some of the questions they have asked include the intricacies of the timeline and what to do at every ‘milestone’ of the HDB purchase, such as during signing of the OTP and the different payments via cash or CPF. As their realtors, we wanted to ensure that they understood the timeline and their financial calculations fully, in order to determine what is their max affordability for their first home. This is essential to better shortlist units in the market.
Our clients took the initiative in their property purchase by calling our PLB hotline, in which our client care team had an initial discussion with them to briefly understand their requirements before Eunice and Yong Zhun were allocated to assist them. The client care team also proceeded to schedule a suitable date for a zoom consultation where our team went through the timeline, financials and the different types of CPF grants with our buyers in detail, whilst ensuring them that we will be there throughout the entire journey to provide guidance, advice and negotiation with the sellers. Through the 2 hour consultation, our buyers had much more clarity about the process and we began to shortlist for units that fit their requirements in terms of location, budget, size and layout.
After the consultation, our clients took time to digest and made the move to onboard exclusively with us to purchase their first home, citing our capabilities to provide advice based on statistics and analysis. Here in PLB, we aim to be consultants and not just transactors. As it might be difficult to find a home to tick all the boxes, we ranked our recommendations to our buyers based on other factors such as exit strategy, future Master Plan developments and future demand etc. With analysis, we are able to help our buyers make a better and more informed decision.
One of the challenges that many HDB buyers face is the sheer amount of options available in the market and the many parameters that can affect their exit strategy in the future. Our buyers indicated that location in terms of proximity to their work, MRT station as well as amenities, is of utmost priority, as compared to other factors such as quality of renovation, potential growth or distance to schools. With that in mind, we managed to immensely reduce the large number of options based on their budget, making it easier for them to select.
Nonetheless, as first-time buyers, they had the impression that ‘the more units you view, the higher likelihood to choose a “better” unit’. Through our explanation and guidance along the entire home search process, we constantly reviewed our choices based on the units we have viewed. We went through the differences between a DBSS unit and the standard HDB 4-room flat, from size to pricing to layout design.
While we at PLB believe that the exit strategy for a property is one of the most important factors if you are not going to stay in the property forever, sometimes the attraction of a project or a unit can shift this priority back in the ranks. We also went through our clients’ financials through the different scenarios for different units, taking into account the Cash Over Valuation (COV). This step was necessary because we were looking at units close to our clients’ budget and this helped to ensure that our clients were fully aware of the costs involved.
Through viewing almost 20 different units in Pasir Ris and Tampines, with a mix of the standard HDB and DBSS units, our buyers’ solidified their priorities in terms of requirements. Although they liked larger layouts with efficient internal space use, they realised that they appreciated proximity to MRT station and internal and external aesthetics the most, even with paying a premium. As realtors, it is paramount that we place ourselves in the shoes of our clients. Through many discussions in the entire house viewing journey, we presented to them the pros and cons of each unit which ultimately made them arrive at their decision to focus solely on Pasir Ris One DBSS estate, with a 2-minute walk from Pasir Ris MRT Station. By a stroke of luck, a top floor DBSS unit with a high ceiling emerged and we quickly scheduled a viewing and placed an offer shortly after. The sellers were a young local couple that was very easygoing and saw themselves in our clients. We built a good rapport with the co-broke agent, as well as the sellers, which made negotiations easier to arrive at a conclusion.
Here at PLB, the happiest moment is when we see the smiles on the faces of our clients when they are truly convinced that they have made the right and informed decision. We saw that in this case and that gives us huge satisfaction in what we do to provide a service that goes a long way.