People often forget that you can make money when you buy a property, not just when you sell.
We can’t control where the market will be in 5-10 years time when we decide to sell, so a great strategy you can implement to improve your investment is to search for undervalued properties. This will give you a cushion that will help your property investment deliver positive returns. Easier said than done?
Here are some tips we’ve used to find those hidden opportunities:
Stay persistent and Search Regularly
Property is a numbers game and there’s no reason to limit yourself to just a few projects. Set the expectation early that it will take you weeks to months to find the perfect property, and you’ll probably visit 30-100s of properties before closing the deal.
Start by defining and frequently monitoring an initial search area (e.g. Sengkang/Punggol or Jurong East/Clementi) but gradually start expanding your search area if you can’t find anything suitable. Also, consistently check for new listings, ideally on a weekly basis.
Keep track with a Spreadsheet
Make your search systematic and create a spreadsheet with all the relevant listings and details. Keep track of key fields such as address and asking price, as well as PSF, rental yield, storeroom availability and distance to MRT. For each property you view write down a key reason why it did or didn’t meet your criteria, e.g. was it too far away from MRT, too noisy or too small? This will help you understand what you should be looking for in your property investment and when you find a property that ticks those boxes, you have probably found the right one.
Know the Current Market Valuation
Before we know if we have a good deal, we need to have an idea of the market value. Use multiple sources such as:
– Past transactions from the URA website.
– Property portals such as SRX or Edgeprop.sg, which can give you a valuation estimate based on neighbouring transactions.
– Finally, when you’re about to make an offer, speak with your banker who should be able to give you an estimate from professional property valuers. If he/she can’t, find another banker.
Find Motivated Sellers
Ultimately, to buy an undervalued property, you will need to scout for motivated sellers. Motivated sellers usually have an urgent need to sell the property, and would be willing to give you a better price if you can close the deal quicker. They could be migrating overseas or have a deadline for selling their property to avoid additional buyer’s stamp duty. Ask the agent why the owner is selling, as this could help with your negotiations.
If the owner doesn’t seem to be a serious seller, getting the price down with them could be like arguing with a brick wall. It’s more productive to consider other units for sale in the same project or neighbourhood, and continue your property hunt. Remember our goal is to make money when you buy the property, so never overpay!
Talk to Neighbours Before Closing the Deal
What if you find a deal too good to be true? What if it’s more than 20% below valuation? Before pulling out your chequebook, you might want to speak with some neighbours to find out if there were any unusual issues with the property or building. If you’re shy of approaching total strangers in public, try online forums or social network groups to find out more from other owners or agents.
Any other ideas or property hunting experiences to share? Suggest your best tips and experience in the comments below
Good luck and happy hunting!
Disclaimer : This article represents the personal opinion of the author, and should not be taken as investment or legal advice.
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