Category: Housing & Property

Furnish Your Home for Free with #OOTD

ootd
I hope my #OOTD will inspire you to have your own!

I recently moved to another home, and in the process of moving and documenting all my belongings, I realised that the majority of my furniture pieces were obtained FOC (free of charge). No, they were not given to me, at least not knowingly. I’ve never met any of the previous owners.

In the course of 5 years, I’ve collected 14 pieces of furniture, which account for nearly 70% of all the furniture I have in total, along with a myriad of other knick-knacks that I’ve salvaged. What does this have to do with #OOTD? Well in my world, #OOTD stands for Out Of The Dumpster. Want to see my #OOTD collection? (more…)

Your REAL Rental Yield in Singapore is likely ZERO

Have you been fooled with 3 – 4% rental yields, when actual yields are really 0?
Photo by Ken Teegardin

Here’s the story/scenario that property agents or financial advisors tell you to convince you that investing speculating on a condo in Singapore to get rental income is always a smart thing to do. “If you buy a condo, then rent it to a ready and willing expat tenant, he/she will pay rent that will cover your mortgage payments and even give you some extra pocket money. And after the term of the loan (usually 25 or 30 years), the home will be yours free, paid off with passive rental income.” The story is often followed by the agent giving you a wide-eye/gaping mouth look that suggests, “everyone is doing this, this is the only way to get rich, and you would be a complete fool if you don’t do it too.” Here’s where they’re wrong: (more…)

Are Property Agents Really Needed in Singapore?

directhome
Buy, sell, and rent properties directly with DirectHome.

Imagine for a moment the Singapore property market without any property agents. Some would argue that this would make the industry disastrous; others would cheer and say that the industry would not only be more efficient but also be more value-driven.

For years now, the internet has disrupted many industries, and the FIRE sector (finance, insurance, real estate) is no exception. Many believe that this sector is parasitic in nature, charging exorbitantly high fees and delivering little in terms of value while producing absolutely nothing. Just as we’ve seen the rise of Direct Purchase Insurance (DPI) through CompareFirst which started last year, now comes DirectHome, a portal in which you can buy, sell, and rent properties directly without the middlemen (i.e., the property agent), potentially saving you both time and money. (more…)

Factors to Consider and the #1 Question to Ask Before you Refinance Your Loan

home money
Refinancing is all about costs versus benefits.
Photo by Mark Moz

For the first time in decades, the SIBOR rates (these affect your mortgage loans) rose significantly higher than LIBOR rates. This implies that interest rates in Singapore can go up as a result of factors other than what the US Fed does. SIBOR stands for Singapore Interbank Offered Rate. It is a daily reference rate based on the interbank interest rates at which banks lend to one another.  At 1.06% (3-month April SIBOR), this key benchmark rate is 2.5 times higher than the 0.4% in 2014.

As mortgage loans are based on SIBOR, many people are wondering if it’s time to refinance to seek a lower (teaser) interest rate. But you don’t get something for nothing (at least not typically in the finance industry). So you need to consider the costs versus the benefits. Lenders, loan officers, and bank advertisements will entice you with interest rates, but what they never advertise is all the fees and restrictions. Here’s a countdown of some things to consider before happily handing over your signed loan documents to an eager loan officer. (more…)

To Seniors: 5 Reasons Why Renting is the Better Choice

National Day rally singapore 2014
Sorry, but I disagree with you – home ownership is not always the best thing!

When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong listed the various ways in which a “cash poor” senior can get extra income from his/her home in retirement, he said, “It is better if you keep your property. Even if you rent out the whole flat. It does not matter, it is yours. And you can fall back on it for your old age, just in case anything happens.” Here’s why I disagree, and why I think selling then renting is a viable option. (more…)