For a lot of people, 2020 was a terrible year – there was job losses, forced social isolation and health fears from the pandemic.
For us real estate agents – it was also a terrible year. We were in uncertainty for almost 3 months as we couldn’t work via our usual means.
We had no choice but to learn how to cope and digitize our business.
Everyone was starting to use the phrase of “new normal”.
And it is still ongoing – this new normal of of mask-wearing, physical distancing and work-from-home.
As a self-employed property agent running my own business for the past 15 years – I learnt that challenges and recessions will always be present.
Life can be roller-coaster ride – filled with various ups and down.
More importantly is do we have the ability, knowledge, experience to react to it?
Here I share 3 different encounters with 3 different clients and the lessons we can learn from them.
I met them all in second half of 2020 – all of them ready to start a new chapter in their lives – pandemic or not.
Case #1: Lady in her 50s sells her beloved HDB flat after staying there for 22 years
I met this lady in her early 50s who wished to purchase a brand new home. Her aging HDB flat – which she has stayed for 22 years – was getting old and there was too much maintainence to keep it going.
I could sense her attachment to her home – she wanted to keep it at first. But I explained to her that with ABSD – it was not worth it to hold on to her HDB.
Being the 2nd owner of the flat – she knew that the decaying lease of her 29-year old flat meant only one thing. Its value was just sliding downwards.
She felt it was not useful to sink in good money for renovations in a flat that was depreciating in value.
One of the interesting interactions with her was this – she wanted to vet all potential buyers.
Why? She wants to make sure her neighbour gets a good new neighbour.
I rarely see this happen as usually most sellers only care about the final selling price. As they should – nothing wrong to think this way.
But this additional careful step by her tells me something.
She has developed a close relationship with her neighbours and has their welfare in her heart.
For all intents and purposes – there is no reason for her to even move out if she is happy and satisfied with her current environment.
But she did proceed to sell.
The uncomfortable feeling of staying in a depreciating and old flat outweighed her own personal attachments.
The lesson here: Age should never be barrier to step out of our comfort zone.
When she started to feel out of place – in a place that she stayed for 22 years! – she took responsibility of her situation and decided to do something about it.
I helped her purchase her next home – a private condo with a brand new lease.
She is looking forward to staying in a brand new place with spanking new facilities.
Case #2: Parents downgrade from EC to 5-room HDB flat
This couple decided to sell their Executive Condo (EC) upon MOP. It was not because they wanted to extract their gains from the EC.
Instead their main motivation to sell their EC was:
- They wanted to cut down their children’s commute to school. From a 45 minute commute, their new home will now be just a 1-minute walk.
- They needed a larger home as their children are growing up and need their own space
The lesson here – there will always be evergreen demands from parents who wants bigger homes near schools.
Parents are willing to do alot for their children.
To be clear, they did not feel it was a downgrade – their main priority was being close to their children’s schools.
We helped them sell their EC and purchase their 5-room HDB flat.
Case #3: Upgraded from owning 1 EC to 2 condos
I was there at the beginning – I helped them to sell off their first HDB flat when they upgraded to an EC about 5 years ago.
Upon the MOP of their EC, they looked for me again to help sell their home.
At the same time, they shared with me their goals of owning 2 private properties – so I helped them plan their finances properly for this next step.
Gains and profits from their sale of the EC was properly planned and channeled so there was not too much financial pressure on both husband and wife.
Right now, their main residence is under the husband’s name while the investment property is under the wife’s name.
When I asked them whether they ever imagined owning 2 private properties in Singapore – their reply was they never thought it was possible.
But I told them their journey was in the making when the seeds were planted 10 years ago:
- 5 years since they bought their first HDB flat, made the decision to sell and upgrade to an EC
- 5 years to stay in the EC and making the next decision to sell and purchase 2 properties with their gains
The lesson here is clear.
Making difficult choices when you are young increases your options in the future.
If they had chosen not to move out from their HDB about 6 years ago – they would be in a financially stagnant position.
2020 has been a difficult year. But time will pass. And it has passed to some extent as we see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Vaccines are already available and we know more about the virus this year – than the last 12 months.
For all of us – the passage of time is inevitable.
But with additional passing year, we will also see the inevitable white hair that appears with increasing frequency over time.
We will grow old whether we like it or not.
Look at your own past 30 days – are you moving towards the future that you want?
In my experience, and to be practical, if you want to know where you’re headed in your future, all you have to do is look at your past thirty days—and there you are.
At any time we can review our last thirty days and evaluate what we are or aren’t doing to help us get back on track.
We must look back to know where we’re heading, but not so much that we start to feel guilty over the past.
That’s why we’re using the metric of looking back on just thirty days.
Remember, bad times will roll on by – together with opportunities as well.
So instead of being stagnant, time to sit down and examine your current options today.
Who knows – you can secure your financial position for your future – and you won’t recognize who you become in the future.
I invite you to contact me for a no-obligation consultation session.