• Priscilla Low

[Part 1] Can Everyday Singaporeans Benefit From Property Wealth Planning

Updated: Nov 30, 2021


We hear of people growing their wealth through property. Is the idea of Property Wealth Planning reserved mostly for the well-to-do? Can everyday Singaporeans also benefit from Property Wealth Planning?


The idea of Property Wealth Planning is often mistaken as a lead-heavy-brain-numbing conversation, but at its core, it centres on a simple logic that we see in action everyday of our lives - that everything has its life cycle.

For example, a restaurant owner ordered a fresh fish from the market. If it is sold as a live steamed fish on day one, he would earn a profit of $100. By day two/three, he would use the meat for sweet and sour fish and its bones for a broth, which he would earn profit of $60. By day four, if he had forgotten to cook the fish, he would have to bin the fish and make a loss. In this case, the restaurant owner was able to use his sense of touch, smell and sight to determine the life cycle aka freshness of the fish and decide on his best option with the highest possible profit.


'But we didn't buy our property to make a profit, so Property Wealth Planning does not apply to us'. Is that really so?

Both Couple A and Couple B bought their BTO at $300K.


Noticing that the BTO in their area were getting good prices, Couple A sold their BTO at $600K (gross profit $300K) and bought a new launch executive condominium (EC) at $900K. After meeting the five-year minimum occupancy period, they sold their EC at $1.2m (gross profit $300K). After two transactions, Couple A's total gross profit was about $600K.


Couple B, on the other hand, did not pay attention to their property value and continued to stay in their BTO. If they were to sell it now, it would likely be transacted at $450K due to its age and Couple B's gross profit would be about $150K.


Very often, you would hear people say, 'If we had known, we would have followed Couple A and sold our BTO to buy the EC as well'. And this is Property Wealth Planning at play. For average Singaporeans, the idea of Property Wealth Planning, aka knowing the 'freshness' of your property and selling it at the right time, still applies. And if you were to miss the windows, your property value might decline as it ages.


But those are gross profits... Couple A would have to spend more to sell, buy and find interim rental. So there should no difference right?


Yes, those are gross profits to simplify the example. Let's do a more in-depth review on the transactional costs for Couple A and see if the maths worked in the favour of Couple A:

No.

Item

Cost

1

Cost of BTO

($300K)

2(a)

Selling Price of BTO

$600K

2(b)

Transaction Fee for Selling BTO: HDB Application Fees, Resale Levy, Legal Costs, Agency and Miscellaneous Fees

($13.57K)

3(a)

Cost of EC

($900K)

3(b)

Transaction Fee for Buying EC: Resale Levy, Stamp Duty

($61.6K)

3(c)

3-Year Rental For Interim Housing ($2.5K/month)*

($90K)

4(a)

Selling Price of EC

$1.2M

4(b)

Transaction Fee for Selling EC: Legal Costs, Agency and Miscellaneous Fees

($28.68K)

NETT PROFITS:

$406.15K

* This could be additional savings if the family is able to find lodging with their extended family or consider lower cost rental options.


So comparing to Couple B with a gross profit of $150K, Couple A still stands to gain with their move.


'Must we buy new launches in order to grow our wealth?'

It depends on your needs and preferences. We hear of young couples buying BTO, ECs and new condominium launches to grow their wealth via property. These are indeed good options for their higher possibility of profit.


Just like how our salary increases with every job change, these couples also upgrade their houses once every few years. From a small-size EC/condominium in their newly-wed days, to a larger condominium for their growing family and a more centrally located condominium to be in close proximity to their children's school etc.


'What if we were to buy an old HDB, how would Property Wealth Planning help us?'

Everyone's needs are unique and thus requires their own unique Property Wealth Planning path. Couple C is a family of with grandparents and children. To meet their family's needs, they bought a centrally located, spacious and aged HDB unit which is in close proximity (30mins direct bus or MRT) to their children's schools from primary school to university. This lower cost option would also provide a contingency option for the working wife to resign at any time and be the caregiver of their senior parents and young children.


Because they are embracing the principles of Property Wealth Planning, they were open to explore various ownership permutations (to avoid Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty for their future investment property) and loan options (to reduce the cost of borrowing). PM me if you wish to know more about what these options are and their final decision.

 

In summary, Property Wealth Planning is useful concept for everyone, and it's not limited to an exclusive group. It is about having an active look at own property value, and planning how you can sustain and/or grow this wealth.


We all stand to gain if our property appreciates while we enjoy the home and shelter that it offers. Knowing the right property options that are aligned to your needs will help you and your family hedge your wealth against inflation and prepare better for rainy days. You are likely to be at the losing end if you choose to ignore, and waste the chance to make the most of what you have.


If you found the above sharing helpful and would like any advice or guidance in your property planning, feel free to make an appointment for a chat.


Click here to read Part 2 to find out the top 5 commonly asked questions about Property Wealth Planning.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Before the change to real estate, Pris Low was in the non-profit sector for close to 20 years, helping distressed consumers, disadvantaged families, children with special needs, persons with disability and frail seniors.


Now she finds it equally meaningful to be able to work directly with individuals, couples and families to plan their property path, find a right home within their comfortable finances and help them build resilient families that can flourish and overcome challenges.


Each property path is unique to the family, and there is no right and wrong path as long as it guides the family towards achieving their goals at its own pace.


You may hear many agents saying, 'Now is the best time to buy a property'. Pris Low believes that, 'Now is the best time to start your property planning'.


Every journey starts with a single step. Contact me for a non-obligatory chat!



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