TIPS FOR ASIAHOMES.COM REALTORS
Case study: Will the chief executive
win the heart of his romantic wife?
House hunting February 1, 2000
American family in Singapore for 2 days. The
teenage daughter surfed the net and dad contacted me to
view brand new penthouses and houses. Upgraded
condos are not wanted.
He did not sound keen in going
house-hunting in this short 2-day trip. Therefore,
it would be a waste of time for a realtor to go
To go or not to go?
Was this an opportunity to earn a living or a waste of
time and petrol money ferrying expats around? Do I
worry about the other agents he had contacted? Not me.
The wife and two teenaged children were excited about
living near the sea at the waterfront Pebble Bay condos.
But the husband has other locations. Will he win their
minds to get what he wants?
Meet at the Grand Hyatt.
The Glencaird Residence at Whitehouse Park Road.
2-storey detached with big pool, 6+1 16000sf land, 8800sf built-in
$25,000. 2nd biggest unit.
Total 8 units less than one year
High windows bring in natural light. A contemporary type of
housing with louvered windows
for natural air flow yet providing privacy in the bedrooms. The
sliding glass windows are behind
the louvered windows and can be closed if the air conditioning is
Very big dining, family and living areas. A wine cellar. The
kitchen has a central island for the cooker hob and hob. Long
driveway for 10 cars, providing privacy.
An exclusive multi-millionaire residential area, near the Botanic
Gardens and Orchard Road.
"Any problems with rats and cockroaches or mosquitoes?"
asked the Daddy.
"They will not have a chance
against the powerful Environment Ministry. There is the regular
anti-mosquito fogging. In this
posh area, such matters are
attended to promptly." The
former President of Singapore,
the Chief Justice and the Israeli ambassador lived in this
neighbourhood, said the
Lewis Road 3-storey detached 6+2+ big basement pool,
10,000sf land, 10,000sf built-in.
$25,000. Brand new.
Basement lap pool which has a central exposure to the sky
and the interior decoration did not appeal to the American family,
after seeing the Glencaird Residence. Plenty of spaces for
gym and storage. Small garden.
Avalon penthouse 4+1 4200sf $17,700. Brand new.
Private lift and very light
coloured marble flooring. White kitchen appliances and perimeter
balcony. A private terrace to sunbathe.
Gardenville penthouse 3700sf including roof garden.
3-level. $20,000. Brand new.
Roof garden accessed from outside the apartment and has an extensive
wooden slatted flooring.
Too many levels and the rooms are small. The wife did not like it.
Pebble Bay penthouse,
4+1 2800sf, $14,000. Around 2 years old.
High dome-shaped ceiling, direct waterfront views from the living,
bedroom 2 and master bedroom.
Hexagonal shaped master bedroom with white marble counter top for the
bathroom. Very spacious squarish living and dining area with a sink
behind a bar counter at one corner. Type D3. Direct
water frontage. The wife and 2 children just loved this apartment.
Costa Rhu penthouse duplex,
4+1 4028sf with private terrace, $13,000. Direct water
frontage. The wife was not in
favour of this spacious penthouse. The bath tub was said to
be too high for older folks to
use, but basically she didn't like the penthouse.
the same afternoon:
1. The Glencaird Residence (hot favourite).
2. The Pebble Bay penthouse.
3. Avalon penthouse.
The Glencaird Residence just knocked the socks off the wife and the two
teenaged children. It took their breath away.
Dad wanted them not to close their minds to condos and be rational as to
the hidden cost of living in a house.
"They can out-vote me," Dad said. "But I hold the
Living there would mean additional costs like gardening, pool
maintenance, air conditioning maintenance and pest control.
The electricity bill, if the whole house of 8800 sq. ft floor space, if
air conditioned 24 hours per day every day was estimated to be S$3,000
per month !
The wife was an incorrigible romantic. She could visualize the
ground lights reflected on the palm trees in the cool evening breeze,
the beautiful koi fishes in the tropical warmth of the pond, the
cascading fall of the water in the fountains, living in the room
just next to the pool, sunbathing in the pebbled patio upstairs.
The kitchen with its stainless steel ovens, cooker hob and hood were
attractive features. The patio off the family area to have
breakfast and chat with friends. Barbecue by the pool.
For the Pebble Bay penthouse, the river view was
breath-taking but the drizzle clouded the views of the green river.
They could feel as one with mother nature as the river was just in front
with no buildings or obstructions of the view from the balcony.
The school bus to the American School comes around 7 a.m and it takes
around 45 minutes to reach Woodlands where the school is located.
The teenage children did not mind. The wife did not like the
grilled windows but these grilles can be removed.
A vacant piece of land facing the master bathroom caused some concern of
privacy and noise in the event that there was construction nearby.
During the re-visit, the existing tenant highly recommended the landlord
as being prompt in attending to any complaint although none of us asked
her about the landlord.
This demonstrated an excellent landlord-tenant relationship. The reason
for the incumbent moving out was that it was too long a bus ride for the
less than 10-year-old children to go to the American School in North
The votes were 3 to 1 for Pebble Bay.
However, it is only 2800 sq. ft and Dad was keen on having more floor
Avalon in Orchard Road is in a great location but it
was not a heart breaker for the wife and children. It did
not bring out the bells and the whistles and it did not strike an
impression in their hearts.
In any case, it was a rushed through viewing during a sudden tropical
The bus should take less than 30 minutes and the American School bus
should drop the children at the Avalon although they are big enough to
find their way home.
Living in Orchard Road is practical for the wife as she will be in the
centre of action and can meet other expats without the hassle of looking
for taxis and taking buses.
In Singapore, many expat husbands let their wife take the company car,
but this may not be possible for this busy American who has to chair
Dad wanted the family to re-visit Avalon penthouse as it is located in a
great location and has much bigger floor space.
He loved it but there was no consensus.
Mum asked whether there would be a bigger penthouse in Pebble Bay in the
But time is of the essence as new upscale penthouses are scarce.
Dad knows best. He knows the market, being a regional marketer.
We left Pebble Bay for Avalon.
Avalon is a low density upscale condo of 82 units. A lap pool
fringed by palm trees and a cascading fountain at the other end. A
The penthouse is 4200 sq. ft. There are also advantages of
not having to pay for the maintenance for the pool, the garden and the
The children did not sound terribly keen but Dad wanted them to be
analytical and vision the big picture of great location, cost and floor
space, amongst other emotions.
The mother could not recall any feature, being rushed through the
penthouse in 10 minutes in order to meet the appointment at Pebble Bay.
The co-broking agent Philip was very helpful and managed to get the
keys. It was past 6.00 p.m.
Will Daddy's pragmatism of living in a great location near downtown win
over the hearts of the romantic wife and children whose hearts were set
on living by the crystal clear green waters of the Kallang River
at Pebble Bay and be close to the sea and recreational park of the East
The wife was happy in seeing good homes.
She thanked me by asking everyone to clap their hands while we were
leaving in the car to go to the nearby American Club for dinner.
A farewell hug from the wife and thanks from the husband and children.
The family had to wake up at 5 am to catch the plane.
This must be one of the most emotional house-hunting trips in a day of
any rental realtor.
The special concern of the teenage daughter for the mother to find a
home she likes, the battle for the mind rather than the heart by the
chief executive husband, the dream house at the Glencaird Residence, the
romance of waterfront living at Pebble Bay, the race against the clock,
the wet drizzle and short thunderstorm wetting everybody.
Finding more than one home the family likes. Yet not having the
time to linger and appreciate the characteristics, being rushed by the
realtor and the husband. Which one to choose?
These were just overwhelming in a condensed house-hunting tour of 5
Does Avalon have ground spot lights dazzling the palm trees in the
evening, creating a magical night? What do you think?
A decision was made to give an offer to the Avalon penthouse. Although
the master bedroom was small, the location was great. Brand new
bathrooms and kitchens are always a great attraction to Caucasian
expatriate executive officers who are usually used to a much higher
standard of living.
TIPS FOR ASIAHOMES.COM REALTORS
This case study showed that the Singapore rental realtor must be
proactive and have a positive mental attitude when handling stray calls
Expatriates may or may not have seen various units with various agents
when they contact asiahomes.com.
Many Singapore agents and some asiahomes.com realtors are already
depressed when they receive such assignments from the company as they
feel that the expatriate will be seeing several units with several
agents and that they do not have a chance. As long as the expatriate is
looking, you stand as good a chance as the competitor but you must have
what he wants and that is the answer to your negative mental attitude.
If you feel that you are being a tourist guide providing free house
viewing services, it is best that you serve the Landlord instead as you
may get an exclusive marketing right. However, sophisticated Landlords
do not give exclusive marketing rights to one agent and usually have a
handful and even market the property themselves. In other words, you are
still no better than being tenant-based as one house-viewing visit of
several properties may result in closing whereas for the Landlord's
properties, you may have to go and open the unit several times a day or
weeks and get no closing.
Info for new associates of
Is there loyalty in internet surfing prospects?
More expatriates surf the internet to look for housing. 90% of the
www.asiahomes.com come from Caucasians.
Nobody can predict the outcome of the case you will be handling as there
is promiscuity amongst the prospective tenants in most cases.
There is no such thing as loyalty, just as you cannot guarantee the
expats that you will get them the house they want.
If you give them what they want, you earn a livelihood.
Much depends on co-broking and therefore, show the best of what you have
within the short time given.
You will be competing with the best realtors if you are handling big
accounts over $10,000 rentals per month.
But you are given the first bite of the apple (in many cases, from the
internet) and if you know what to show, you get the case closing.
It means lots of hard work and lots of cases lost to other realtors
before you gain that experience to show what the customer wants.
That will take about one year of focus on Singapore rentals, intensive
sweat, heart breaks and tears.
Once you are competent, you get referrals and loyalty as expats know
that you are not showing them unqualified homes, wasting their precious
The internet brings
in lots of queries. Many expats have their own realtors and you may be
taken for a ride showing them some good houses. They will then tell
their realtors to negotiate for them. Fortunately, there are few of such
However, in most
cases, the surfers are genuine. If you can find the right home, it
is closing within a half day of viewing.
You will be demotivated but then, which self-employed person isn't when
If you can't focus on real estate, it may be best to leave this
specialty and go on being an employee or do other things.
Success can never be achieved as a part-timer or without hard work and