House Hunting or House Haunting? – My Property Odyssey Part 2

By on June 12, 2013

Continued from part 1

Having a job and house hunting at the same time is no small feat. I can now understand what a lifesaver property agents are. Maybe couples will find it easier as they can share the hassle with each other.

I have now set my sights on a getting a home in Buangkok. Curiously, it always rained heavily on days of my viewings. After viewing about 10 units, I decided to make an offer for one unit. Before the offer, I re-negotiate the agent commission from 1% to 0.8% including GST, and it was mutually agreed. I was very happy at the generosity of my agent to compromise on the fee.

Thereafter, we made arrangements for a second viewing to ensure that that is the unit which I really like. Since after viewing so many units has left me dizzy, I was afraid that I had forgot how the actual layout looked like. All I remembered was that the particular unit gave me a good feeling.

During this second viewing, it was raining cats and dogs again. So I could not see for myself where the sun would shine. But I started to visualize my renovations. How to hide the aircon piping, where to place the wardrobes, if there are corners that are hard to hide or strategically place furniture. The presentation of my home is important. So I do not want to buy a unit with limitations that prevent me from hiding those ugly corners or aircon piping which needs to circle around all bedrooms and living room walls. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

peng2Also, I would want to see with my own eyes if the house is bright enough. I want to see Natural Day Light and On-light difference. Some houses are super hot. with limited day light and no natural wind at all. I can remember some units whereby I started to perspire the moment I stepped in. That’s bad. The aircon bill would be very high each month. Next, I would look around the neighbourhood area on whether there are too many playground (potentially noisy), Ah Loong O$P$ footprints, have a look around the staircase. I’ve even walked up and down 3 floors just to make an inspection that will ease my mind.

Now onto the offer. I was totally prepared to pay the $1000 deposit. But then I remembered that I applied for an in-principle approval (IPA) loan in January when I was eyeing La Fiesta. I was approved for a $650k quantum back then. So it made sense to go for it again as the approval had expired. It was more of a formality as this time, the HDB flat that I’m buying has a much lower price. I need to ensure that I am able to get the 80% loan. But it is Friday and I informed my agent that I will make the offer on the coming Monday. I remembered that the last time I get an IPA, it took about 5 working days for the results to come out.

As I start to get nervous over a lack of time, I found a home loan broker online and told them of my situation. I want the IPA on Monday but I knew it was not realistic to expect things to happen so fast. I submitted the required documents quickly. The next step is to wait.

There is no time to wait in other areas. As I’m closing the deal on Monday, I want to find every reason I can to buy, and not to buy the property. It is a lifelong financial commitment for goodness sake. I met up a friend who has a huge network of people in the property industry and talked to him about my situation. He made a call in my presence and had a chit chat with someone over the phone. After hanging up the phone, he advised me to offer 0.5% commission to my agent. I thought that is ridiculous. The market rate is 1% and my agent is already so generous to agree to a discount to 0.8%. Now I need to ask for 0.5%? Ridiculous. But since he actually spoke on the phone about the issue with someone in my presence and I respect him, I decided to give it a try.

This time, I called my agent on the spot to re-negotiate my agent’s commission to 0.5%. She agreed on the spot in about 2 and a half seconds! Including GST! I conclude that the agent’s story of a 1% standard fee being the norm is unreal. There is often room to move when business deals are concluding.

Time to call my dad to get his opinion. I happened to pass by some workers doing grass cutting on the call. A blade of grass hit my ankle releasing a stinging pain. Dad was livid that I’m buying my own home. I can understand as he will miss me. But I’m an able adult now and I need my own space.

It’s now Monday. I received a call from a banker informing me of the loan approval. Amazing! These brokers mean business. If you need help with home loans you can find them here.

But the interesting part is coming. I am now approved to loan up to $1.05m. I don’t know what happened but it jumped from $650k to over $1m. That is crazy. And all the news actually reported about more restrictions on mortgages. But get this, if I were to buy a HDB flat, my maximum loan quantum drops to $444k. That is just a few thousand short of 80% on the valuation of the unit I’m buying. Not a big issue. Apparently, there are strict guidelines for loans to purchase HDB.

My approved loan amount was only 75% of that HBD unit’s valuation due to the new cooling measures. This means I need to fork out additional 5% cash on top of COV.  Luckily, I have opted to check out my IPA first before giving my $1000 deposit, if not, I would have to say good-bye to my $1000 should I be unable to fork out that extra 5% cash. But should I decide to buy a Condo, my IPA is over $1 million. The difference is so great no wonder people are rushing to purchase private Condos instead. Now my heart grows BIG too, thanks to the easy money available.

It is at this time that I noticed a trend. I’m not superstitious but I believe that there is a higher power somewhere somehow. You can say that anything which cannot be verified by science is just a fantasy. That is just partly true. Because everyday, someone is making a miracle recovery somewhere in the world when the doctors have already given up. If science cannot explain these miracles, does it mean they don’t exist? No. Because they do. People make miraculous recoveries more often than we know.

What are the signs that I’m noticing? Every time, I visit a flat in Buangkok, it miraculously starts pouring cats and dogs. Never in my life have I been injured by a blade of grass. That happened when I was telling my dad about the unit that I’m buying. Weird? There is more. Of all the numbers available, the bank has to give me an approval of $444k.

It was this moment that I remembered that I went to draw an I-Ching lot in Waterloo Street temple before attempting to buy La Fiesta. Guan Yin Ma said I can go ahead with La Fiesta previously. I should seek a divine opinion as well for this HDB unit. I rushed down to the temple to draw a lot. And to my horror, I drew a lot that is as bad as anyone can imagine. It explicitly said that this HDB flat is a “house being set on fire” and “rain will reduce it to bricks and clay”. OMG!

I did what I think anyone would do and called off the offer. There is always time to find another home. I’m viewing more units this weekend.



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