The pandemic in 2020 has started to affect the property market in Singapore.
These are some of the headlines below:
- CNA 24 Apr 2020: Singapore new private home sales plunge 12% in the first quarter as prices dip
- The Business Times 2 Apr 2020: Analysts predict up to 8% full-year drop in private home prices
Now, there are 2 ways to view this situation.
#1: We can view this as extraordinary times – retreat, pull back and not take any action.
#2: We can view this as extraordinary times – but push forward, take a chance and seize the opportunities that are suddenly available.
Let’s explore the physical and social distancing rules that are currently enforced:
- Not allowed to do onsite viewings and bring potential buyers to the seller’s unit
- Not allowed to even visit a vacant unit to take photos to promote the seller’s unit
- Not allowed to leave the home unless it is for an essential reason
We are not sure how long this pandemic crisis will last.
It is estimated that development of a vaccine will take at least 18-24 months.
That is about 2 years of potential opportunities that can be gained – if we focus on being optimistic.
The best way to get started is simply to build momentum and start to get used to the idea of working from home with the power of technology.
The Beauty of Constraints
As a real estate agent and entrepreneur – we learn to do more with less.
The beauty of constraint is we are learning how to reinvent our processes, our strategies and ourselves.
This circuit-breaker and partial lockdown situation is actually forcing us to create breakthroughs and bring ourselves up to a higher standard.
Here are some of the ways I am creating new competitive advantages for my business and for my clients:
1: Onsite viewings prohibited? We can do virtual viewings instead.
It is hard to reject this belief system – no one makes a decision buying a property based purely on video.
And it is true – usually a decision is made only after viewing and touching a home – physically.
But by working in collaboration with the seller – creating a powerful video walkthrough is possible.
Usually such raw videos – especially done well to highlight the unit’s strengths – can move that emotional needle towards a positive decision.
Take note I am referring to raw walkthrough videos – not the scripted and edited sales videos.
It is not easy to convince tenants or even owners themselves residing in the unit to help with such viewings at times. So I’ve to explain why this is actually a measure/ method that I’m adopting to safeguard their interests as well.
#2: Can’t bring multiple groups together for viewings? Create a Virtual Open House instead.
Experienced agents will arrange for multiple groups to view a unit around the same time.
While it is mainly for the convenience of the sellers so they will not be interrupted so often, it is actually meant to create some feelings of competition between potential buyers.
Seeing a lot of potential buyers almost always pushes a highly interested buyer to make an offer to the seller – quickly.
Now in these current circumstances – it is a challenge to create similar emotions between potential buyers. It is difficult – but it can be DONE.
Using Google Hangouts or even Zoom – we can stream the live walkthrough to multiple buyers at the same time.
While it might not be a “live auction” system where buyers can shout out their bids or offer prices – we can certainly let other buyers notice and realize the presence of other potential buyers.
Appropriate physical distancing is crucial during this period, and I suspect will remain so for a while even after the Circuit Breaker.
So viewing through virtual web conferencing technologies allows us to conduct viewings without compromising the safety of all parties.
3: Plenty of property agents and sellers are pulling back. Those who don’t – will stand out.
One of the things I noticed was this – there are alot of agents who have pulled back their listings on PropertyGuru and FB.
There are much lesser listings and choices in PropertyGuru – the #1 portal for available properties in Singapore.
It is understandable – viewings are no longer allowed and promoting your listings will cost money. The logical choice for agents is to stop promoting their property listings and conserve the marketing budget.
Spend it only when restrictions have been lifted.
But if you really think about it – with the majority of people stuck at home – it is likely that those who are really interested to buy a property will have MORE time to check out the various listings.
So those who chose to continue with marketing their listings are able to get more attention. In the past when there were 20 similar units available for sale – it has now probably dropped to less than 10 units.
Those units which are still visible as “for sale” will get more attention and interest then.
Less competition means more interest in your unit.
And more interest means a higher chance of getting a good offer.
In the fog of uncertainty – we forget to see the opportunities that are in abundance.
We need to learn to reframe the stories we tell ourselves. Whatever mindset we have, it can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We are blessed that the pandemic of 2020 comes with the power of technology that connects us together virtually.
Compare it to the Asian Flu of 1957 and Spanish Flu of 1918 – both were worldwide pandemics that lasted about 2 years but without the advantage of the Internet.
Yes, these are exceptional times. So restarting the economy and returning to workplace normalcy will require unparalleled efforts.
There is a lot of uncertainty and some people are actually feeling paralyzed on what to do next. It is OK to feel that way.
Despite being confined at home, it is important to keep moving forward and continue to explore options and opportunities.
I am encouraged by the fact that tenants are more inclined to help to facilitate the viewings after I explained the situation.
For another case, the occupant was not willing to help facilitate the viewing, but took it upon herself to film extremely detailed videos of the entire unit.
And that helped to seal the deal for a prospective tenant who was keen on a unit in that development and just wanted to be sure before putting in an offer.
In such crisis times – it becomes more essential to come and work together – at least in the virtual sense.
I might not be able to meet you face-to-face but we can always do a virtual meeting.
Have questions? Feel free to just drop me a message via the contact form or whatsapp.
There is no obligation and I promise I will never pester or disturb you after that.