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Asia USA Realty (Singapore) Pte Ltd  
Estate Agents Licence No. L3007306B      24 Mar 2011   
Focus:  We get for you affordable Singapore homes
Rent or Investment
  Case 1.  Humour and ethics at Horizon Towers
"I'll give you five dollars if you can swipe the card successfully to get us up to the Horizon Towers unit," I said to the expatriate. We had been to one unit and the various parties had difficulty making the card work after ten tries. If the card worked, the unit number at the lift panel would be lighted up. One resident swiped and dropped her card twice onto the floor. One did a stylish swipe and at the end of the line curved the card downwards. It worked. 

Now, we were at the second unit and the agent had failed to activate the card after four tries.  The Caucasian expatriate was sporting and tried. He failed two times. I failed too. The co-broking agent said, "Ask the domestic worker to do it as she would have more experience with the card." The Filipino maid was in the lift and she tried. It did not work too. Now, the lift was not that big and we kept going up as other residents on higher floors hijacked the lift to go down. Ten adults were now in this lift. 

What was the problem with this card? "It is better to call the guard," the agent suggested. "He may have the master card."

Fortunately, the expatriate was a patient man. Yet this could not go on. "This could be the wrong lift," he commented as he remembered that each lift in Horizon Towers goes to specified units and the unit numbers were clearly marked on top of the lift.

Would you believe it? He was right. 

"No wonder, I had no chance of winning the $5.00!" he said.  Co-broking realtors representing the Landlord  really have to be alert and should arrive early to check out the apartment first but busy ones don't.

"Please wait 5 minutes," the owner said. I told the expatriate that the owner whom I had met before would be switching on the air conditioners as this would give a cool impression. This was his way of working. To show the apartment to the best effect. He was an investment-minded owner. 

"There is a musky odour," the expatriate said to me quietly when he entered the utility area from the kitchen. I don't know what a musky odour smelled like. It was the smell of urine in an enclosed apartment. Probably from the maid's toilet.  It is important that the owner ventilate the apartment an hour or two before viewing. It is already so competitive and every smell counts in securing a tenant. It is good to inform the owner quietly so that he will rectify the problem later. If he can smell the odour and know what you mean. He seemed to think that the smell was due to the fact that the windows were all closed.

"Are you also into the business of selling durians too?" I asked the realtor as five adults entered the Horizon Towers lift. He was short and stocky and his ball-shaped face had short spikes of hair jutting out. Spikes reminding me of The Esplanade - Theatres On The Bay, known as "The Durian" by the taxi driver who may not be as cultured as the originator of the name for the multi-million theatre. 

The realtor was the reticent type. He did not reply nor smile as he swiped the access card to go up to the private lift of this Horizon Towers apartment. 

I was seeing the sixth unit and the senior citizen of over sixty years of age, a white-haired and trim Caucasian gentleman who showed no signs of weariness of walking back and forth between the twin towers of Horizon Towers, known as Horizon Towers East and West, must be entertained.

Humour is a part of the Caucasian culture and is always appreciated by Caucasians. It establishes a rapport and makes house-hunting less boring as various parties arrive late or get delayed. 

If the prospective tenant could not remember me later, he would at least enjoy the house-hunting trip. All Chinese may look alike to a Caucasian and vice versa.  Unless you happen to have a durian head. Still you need to be able to communicate well as a realtor is essentially selling a service although you can still close a case if you have the desired property. Provided you have no competition but the depressed rental market in December 2002 means that you do have. Any many of them too.

Did the Caucasian expatriate appreciate the humour?  By a strange twist of fate, I got the answer when we saw the same apartment with another realtor. 

The expatriate could be over sixty years old but he had excellent recall and said he remembered this apartment as it had a strange looking deep blue sofa like those seen in the Arabian Nights. 

And most important of all, he remembered the Landlord's realtor with the durian hair when he said to me: "This is the unit I like. I remember that realtor who showed us the apartment. He did not say anything when you asked about his durian business!" 

This second realtor now knew that the expatriate has interest in this unit.  Now, in marketing, the interest must be translated into desire and action. (AIDA if you read up marketing books).

He also had the keys to this apartment and though my assistant had told him that we had seen it, he spoke to me directly.  I did not know it was the same unit and my assistant did not tell me too.

I told him that I would be dealing with the first realtor. It would be the right thing to do. I explain to him, "It is the ethical thing to do. If you had shown me the apartment first, I would deal with you."  There must be ethics in this rental business so that you do not get a sullied reputation amongst co-broking agents.     

"I could get you a lower rent than the $5,500 asked," he said as the expatriate commented that he liked the unit with the private lift as the only objection was that the rent was too high. Other units were asking around $4,500. Valley Park was so much newer while Horizon Towers was twenty years old and plumbing pipes stuck out like sores inside the master bedroom. In new condos, all piping would be concealed, he said. That was correct. 

The agent persisted to close the case and persistence is a factor in success.  "If you can't get a lower rental from the agent, please contact me. I have good relations with the Landlord." 

Well, he will be successful as he provides a solution to his advantage to overcome the problem of not being the first realtor to show this unit. 

His lady partner added, "Valley Park is not as well located in prime district 9 as Horizon Towers." Frankly, this prestige factor does not help to close the deal as the complaint is that Horizon Towers is nearly 20 years old.

The expatriate said, "The Valley Park 3-bedroom, a newer condo has beautiful pools and rents at $3,500 while Horizon Towers is an old bomb and all of them are asking $4,500 to $6,000," he said. "Rentals are dropping like ten pins in a bowling alley." 

The expatriate liked the cream coloured sand-blasted walls of the lift lobby and now the closing can only be done if you could convince him that Horizon Towers had advantages over Valley Park. 

How to switch him to rent Horizon Towers?  In this case, new associates will need be aware of the characteristics of a 3-bedroom Valley Park.  This can be only done if you work hard and handle lots of house-hunting cases to get the impressions. 

What would your response be? Would you offer to show him more Valley Park units? He had seen only two but he liked Horizon Towers. He was not impressed with one Yong An Park unit seen and had not mentioned about Yong An Park anymore.

It was now Horizon Towers or Valley Park and he was more in favour of the upgraded Horizon Tower. He volunteered this info, "Horizon Towers is near to Orchard Road and yet near to Great World Shopping Centre too". He had been staying in the Great World Serviced Apartment and knew the region well. 

Now, how would you bring him away from Valley Park and get a chance to close the case?   

I explained to him, "$3,500 rental is for a condo of less than 1,500 sq ft and if you compare on a rental dollar per sq ft, Horizon Towers is inexpensive and offers you more living space for your home office."

He nodded his head. 

I continued, "The 3rd bedroom in Valley Park is not even a bedroom as it is very small and may not have ward robes. In Horizon Towers, you have 4 bedrooms and a family area which can be your study area. Setting up your own business requires you to have your own study area and your wife to have her own. Four bedrooms will be more appropriate."

The expatriate agreed. Now, it was a matter of negotiations for the Horizon Towers. He needed to move in within 10 days and there were six units for him to select. One unit was tenanted but the tenant did not respond to the inter com and the agent did not turn up to ensure that the apartment had a chance of being seen. In any case, it was not appropriate for my assistant to make an appointment with a tenanted unit as immediate vacancy was necessary.

Now, it was up to the couple to think it over. This house-hunting trip was one a memorable one since the Caucasian husband appreciated humour and that left him in a happy mood. 

Saturday November 30, 2002 
House hunting

Expat 1.
Budget around $4,000. Wants 3 or 4 bedrooms around Great World Serviced Apartments where they have been staying.

Yong An Park 3+1 2900 sq ft $6,000. Blk 331, 11th floor.

Horizon Towers East 4+1 2379 sq ft $4,000 3rd floor.

Coating or glazing wall tiles save lots of money instead of hacking & re-tiling Horizon Towers West 4+1 2314 sq ft $4,000 18th floor. Good condition. Breezy. No private lift but colours of the master bathroom with glazed pastel wall tiles instead of deep blue tiles and sinks and bath tub suit Caucasian eyes. 

Horizon Towers East 4+1 2600 sq ft $5,000 3rd floor. Original wall tiles and bath tubs and sinks of Horizon Towers are deep blue Private lift.  Under negotiations.

Horizon Towers East 4+1 2600 sq ft $5,000 9th floor. Private lift.  Seen two times. Favoured unit.

 Horizon Towers East 4+1 2379 sq ft $4,500 13th floor.
Horizon Towers East 4+1 2600 sq ft $4,600 12th floor.

His Korean companion was more reticent and usually they find it difficult to understand the Singaporean's English language accent. She was happy to discuss one-to-one.  Learn how to use humour if you can but if your personality does not permit it, do not do it. 

The expatriate's girl friend, a shrewd business woman had phoned me yesterday to view Horizon Towers and Yong An Park after surfing the internet. Without the internet, we would not have met. The internet opens the door, but you still have to close the case by being knowledgeable about your business to earn a livelihood.  

CONCLUSION. The husband likes the Horizon Towers 4-bedroom with private lift lobby. He wanted to pay as low as possible and I estimated $3,500 or less would be his target.

How much would he be willing to pay and how much would the Landlord of the Horizon Towers with private lift lobby be willing to accept?

Case 2.  The Dutch couple fell in love with Newton 18

Expat 2
Budget around $3,000. 3 bedroom 1500 sq ft. New. 
The young working couple lived in a 1800 sq ft apartment in The Bayron and therefore had quite a bit of furniture. The wife definitely wants a swimming pool. If you can find a new condo near Orchard Road within their budget, they could decide immediately. The problem is that such condos of 1500 sq ft rents above $3,000 unless there are unfavourable factors like road frontage. Where to find such a condo?

Saturday November 30, 2002 
House hunting

Newton 18 3+1 1249 sq ft $4,500. 26th floor.

Thomson Euro Asia 3+1 1300 sq ft  $3,500. 12th floor. Facing construction. Pool conventional rectangular shape.  Big gym. 

Thomson Euro Asia 3+1 1300 sq ft  $3,800. 18th floor

27 Balmoral Park 3+1 1800 sq ft  $4,000. 13th floor with wide open city views of The Draycott and Ardmore Park to Palm Springs condo. Completely renovated. Tranquil. Upgrading of facilities and lift lobby in 1999. New pool surrounded by trees, gym and two function rooms. 

The back of the building looks terrible but the young Dutch couple is in love with this renovated unit and does not mind the dated facade of this condo which has several Caucasian expats.  
7 Claymore Road is convenient and next to Orchard Road. Singapore The Montana's see through pool. Mutiara Crest pool. Singapore
7 Claymore Road 3 bedroom 1215 sq ft  $3,000. 11th floor. No maid's room. No utility room. Small kitchen with washer under kitchen counter. Door step of Orchard Road. Light brown marbled floor in living and dining area. The Montana 3 bedroom renting around $3,500. 
Mutiara Crest 3 bedroom renting around $3,500.
Singapore's brand new condos (2002) - The Aston pool

The Aston

3+1 1475 sq ft  $3,500  8th floor facing road junction.  Good sized 3 bedroom unit for couple without children.

3+1 2131 sq ft $3,500 (large patio of over 800 sq ft)

3+1 2000 sq ft  $6,000  penthouse with large roof terrace.

2+1 1862 sq ft  penthouse with large roof terrace. No maid's room.


Singapore's older condos (1984) - 27 Balmoral Park poolThe couple likes the renovated 27 Balmoral Park for its greenery, tranquility,  privacy of the new swimming pool provided by trees and panoramic city views and the spacious living and dining areas and the new kitchen cabinets and bathrooms. The 27 Balmoral Park condo had been extensively renovated and had that panoramic city views and tranquility unexpected in an old condo. 
Water flows over the edge pool of Newton 18, Singapore
Their first love is still Newton 18 with its upscale fingerprint identification for entry into the apartment, the sunken long bath, the beautifully designed water-flow-over-the-edge pool (picture, see left side) and its great location. 

However, the rental asked is too much and to be practical, the couple does need space to store their furniture and wake boards and Newton 18 will be very congested if they do that. 

The brand new The Aston's 3-bedroom is of ideal size and visually appealing to young Caucasian couples. It is 2nd choice as it faces the road junction.  

This case study shows that older condos with excellent unblocked city views and with well thought out renovations suiting the Caucasian eye can still attract tenants. However, these are rare gems as many Singaporean owners seldom renovate their old condos to a standard similar to those found in new condos or have no knowledge of good interior designs that appeal to Caucasians.  

Young Caucasian couples prefer downtown condos, new interiors and lovely unblocked city views. 

The Dutch couple made their decision on the 3rd house-hunting trip. The other two were:
The Albracca, La Meyer on the East Coast 
Falling in love with Newton 18

As they were referred to me by a South African lady banker who was their close friend, this was a case with less pressure. Still, you should qualify properly as to what the couple wanted and you should be able to close in less than 3 house-hunting visits. If not, you are showing the incorrect condos. Read up and know what are the characteristics of new developments but keep an eye for older ones which are renovated.  

Once you have done an excellent job, you'll get referrals from each new expatriate and you should be able to earn a decent livelihood of $6,000 per month in commissions on the average in 2002 as a rental realtor.

Listings of condos near the American Club of
around $7,000 monthly rentals at Oct/Nov 2002

Ardmore Point 4+1 3350 sq ft $8,500
Beverly Hill 4+2 3700 sq ft $8,000
Habitat I 4+1 3500 sq ft $9,500

Orchard Bel Air 4+1 3200 sq ft $8,000
Orchard Bel Air 4+1 3200 sq ft $7,300
Orchard Bel Air 4+1 3200 sq ft $7,000
72 Grange Road 4+1 4000 sq ft $8,000

Chatsworth Court 5+2 3800 sq ft $8,000
The Claymore 4+1 3412 sq ft $8,500
Yong An Park 4+1 3110 sq. ft $8,000
Regency Park 3+1 3175 sq ft $7,000 
Regency Park 3+1 3282 sq ft $10,000

Westwood Apartments 4+1 sq ft $8,000
Nassim Mansion 4+1 3500 sq. ft $10,000

Villa d Este 5+1 3500 sq. ft $7,500
The Balmoral lower maisonette 4+1 3150 sq ft $6,000
The Balmoral 4+1 3000 sq ft $8,000
Tanglin Hill lower maisonette 4+1 3300 sq ft $8,000

The Orange Grove 4+1 3562 sq ft $9,000
Dormer Park 4+1 2500 sq ft $7,000
Regency Park 4+1 2300 sq ft $7,000
Horizon Tower 4+1 2500 sq ft $7,000
Elizabeth Heights 4+1 2500 sq ft $7,000
Elizabeth Towers 4+1 
Lucky Tower 4+1 2700 sq ft $6,000
Casa Rosita 4+1 2820 sq ft
Crystal Tower 4+1 3200 sq ft
The Belmont 4+1 3100 sq ft 

0907singapore_flag_gif.gif (9239 bytes)March 20, 2011    For Rent
Tanglin View Penthouse  
4+1 2120 sq ft  $10,000. Near subway. Other units are available.  
E-mail Tel: +65 9668 6468. 

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Subdivisions (condo & house details) has some of the details of the advertised condos.
Tel: +65 9668-6468, e-mail for viewings

ŠAsia USA Realty (Singapore) 
Pte Ltd.  Website:
Blk 1002, Toa Payoh Lor 8, #01-1477, Singapore 319074, Republic of Singapore
Estate Agents Licence No. L3007306B
Salesperson Name/Registration No.  Sing Kong Yuen/R030822Z

Asia USA Realty (Singapore) Pte Ltd
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