Would you buy a home without first stepping inside or visiting the showflat? While this may seem unthinkable to many, one Singaporean actually pulled it off, splashing $2.2 million on an inter-terraced home at Dido Street after looking at the house photos.
Related story: Not sure how to decide where to buy a house? Here are the most popular districts in Singapore to consider.
Buyer Was Unable to View the House Due to Circuit Breaker Measures
The property in question is located at 76 Dido Street and comes with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. The two-storey, 2,286 sq ft home in District 15 was auctioned in early 2020 and had a guide price of $2.6 million (or $1,137.36 psf).
Though the circuit breaker measures made it impossible to visit the property, the buyer still decided to buy the property after viewing house pictures provided by the auction team.
Wise or Bold Move?
Both, as it seems.
Buying a property is a big financial decision, often involving years of hard-earned savings poured into the purchase. Hence, it’s only natural that most would prefer to visit the property and get a good feel of not just the property, but the neighbourhood itself before committing.
So while it might seem crazy that the buyer decided to fork out millions for a house without even being physically there, it may not be as reckless as it seems – especially when you look at the details of the sale, according to Tan Tee Khoon, Country-Manager at PropertyGuru Singapore.
“The buyer bought this house at $2.2 million when the guide price was $2.6 million. Furthermore, this was also an auction property but sold by a private treaty”, he says.
“Besides, remember that it’s a landed property; landed homes usually don’t require move-in condition as buyers would normally tear down and reconstruct to their taste. It may even be safe to assume that the buyer is familiar with the locale”.
Opera Estate Buyer Isn’t the First, and Certainly Won’t Be the Last
Interestingly, this buyer isn’t the first to purchase a property without ever having set foot into the house.
In May 2020, a 21,991 sq ft Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at Windsor Park was purchased for $21.68 million. Similarly, the buyer had purchased the property without even entering the home. Instead, he drove around the neighbourhood several times to get a good feel of the area and looked at the site plans, sewerage plans and road line plans that were provided by the agent.
Although the double-storey property was quite run down and had been vacant for years, the buyer was attracted by the bungalow’s close proximity to greenery, namely the Windsor Nature Park, which is linked to three reservoirs at the Lower Peirce, Upper Peirce and MacRitchie nature reserves.
“Even before COVID-19, there have been investors who bought properties without viewing the actual units. These are savvy property seekers who purchase for rental yield. They are not going to occupy the premises themselves and would lease the properties for good returns”, Tee Khoon says.
Can Regular Non-Multi-Millionaires Also Buy, Sell and View Properties at Home?
It’s true that homes sales have plummeted in recent months and the circuit breaker measures have limited physical viewings of homes , but property transactions still continued to happen.
According to a Knight Frank report, there were a total of 967 caveats lodged from 7th April 2020 to 1st June 2020. Out of these 967 caveats, 577 were new sales, while 380 were resale properties.
In fact, the number of caveats lodged in May 2020 was 81.3% higher than in April 2020 (484 vs 267). As it was still during the circuit breaker, this meant that buyers and sellers turned to digital platforms to conclude deals.
“While physical viewings were not allowed during the circuit breaker, that doesn’t mean buyers didn’t view videos or virtual tours of the properties”, Tee Khoon says.
In fact, since the circuit breaker measures kicked in, property sellers and agents have conducted online virtual tours via Zoom to interested buyers. Buyers can also watch pre-recorded videos of the property and all negotiations can also be done via Zoom calls or emails.
In addition to that, all the paperwork and key documents that are needed during the buying-selling-renting process can still be done safely and securely, without the need to meet up. For instance, the Option to Purchase (OTP) document and option cheque can be done and signed via courier services. Lawyers are also available, even during COVID-19.
And if there’s one key takeaway from the two stories above, it is that the buyers researched about the location and the surrounding neighbourhood, whether it was looking at house pictures, driving around the neighbourhood, or looking at plans.
So if you still want to view properties (through house pictures or video) but don’t have the time to drive around, one simple way to do that is with FastKey StoryTeller.
- Virtual vs Face-to-Face Viewings: Which is Better?
- COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act: How Property Buyers Can Apply for ABSD, OTP and S&P Relief
What is Fastkey StoryTeller?
StoryTeller is a fully digitised feature of FastKey that can offer an immersive, 360-degree view of a project. Via StoryTeller, you can virtually view a project that’s under construction and get to know everything about the project, including the unit types, project facilities, furnishings, project floor plans, and house pictures.
Besides that, you can also view the surrounding cityscape, view units that are available for sale and book a unit, all without visiting the showflat. In other words, it’s the closest thing to visiting the property (or showflat) in person as you can still get a good sense of what the home and neighbourhood would look like.
Another good thing about StoryTeller is that it automates the whole property sales process digitally, from documents and signings to inventory management and pricing. Agents can also host viewings and close deals without worrying about social distancing.
StoryTeller is primarily for developers to invest in, for their projects. As a consumer, you can expect to experience it through developer websites, online property listings and/or when your agent shares them with you.
Want to Learn More About Fastkey Storyteller?
Find out more about StoryTeller or request for a demo here.
Other FAQ About Virtual Property Viewing in Singapore
How Do You Do Virtual Property Viewings?
Virtual property viewing can be done through a live video conferencing tool such as FastKey Storyteller. Through FastKey Storyteller, you can bring the buyer around the virtual showflat and explain to him/her as how you would at the physical showflat.
Can I Buy a Property Without Viewing?
There’s no hard and fast rule that dictates you need to view a property before you make the purchase. As long as you are willing, you can buy a property without even a house picture to reference!
Should You Buy a Property Without Seeing It?
It is possible to buy a property without viewing, but the bigger question is whether you should. The reason why you want to view the property before making the purchase decision is because you want to do a physical check of the home before buying it.
Are There Any Fees Involved If You Want to View a Property?
There are no fees payable for viewing a property in Singapore. You can schedule as many viewings as you would like, but only if the seller and your property agent are willing to entertain you.
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