In today’s article, SG Wealth Builder is pleased to catch up with Property Soul on her upcoming property workshop. Property Soul is one of the most well known property bloggers in Singapore and is the author of the best selling book “No B.S. Guide to Property Investment – Dirty Truths and Profitable Secrets to Building Wealth Through Properties”.
Can you share with the readers what are the key takeaways they can expect from your upcoming Buying My First Private Property 1-Day Workshop?
They will learn how to save faster to buy their first property, and what is the highest property price that they can afford. They will know where the hidden traps are, and what properties to buy or avoid for first time buyers. They will also pick up tips on negotiation skills, housing loans and dealing with lawyers and property agents.
This workshop is basically designed for first time private property buyers to help them avoid all the costly mistakes that would have cost them thousands times more than the small fee of the workshop.
What are the general profile of those who attended your seminars and workshops? Property investors, upgraders or first time property buyers?
It depends on the topic of the talk or workshop. For Buying My First Private Property 1-Day Workshop, the participants are mostly first-time buyers, HDB upgraders or aspiring investors. For talks like “Everything You Want to Know About Property Auctions and Mortgagee Sales” and “Buy, Fix and Profit from Old Houses/Apartments”, there are more savvy investors or investors who own multiple properties.
You have built your wealth through properties at a time when Singapore has not implemented the cooling measures. Against the current backdrop, would you agree that the bar has been raised for property investors? Do you think that the measures could have been more targeted?
No matter what time you buy, there are opportunities and risks. Yes, I bought during the time when there were no cooling measures. The government even rolled out different measures to stimulate the market. But there were few takers. Why? Because buyers at that time had to deal with bad economy and high unemployment. Prices would continue to drop lower and no one would know when the property slump would end.
The root problem is not about the cooling measures. Investors should ask themselves the fundamental questions: Why they cannot get the financing they need? Is it because they are already over-leveraged? Is the property value above their affordability? Are private properties overpriced these days?
The cooling measures are implemented to ensure the sustainability of the property market. Let’s face it: If you can’t borrow for it, you actually can’t afford it. So don’t blame the restrictions in financing any more. The outcomes of these cooling measures are definitely much better than widespread mortgage defaults or massive negative equities when the market changes direction next time.
In terms of liquidity and capital needed, real estate fares the worst among equities, bonds and bullion. Why are you still an advocate of property investment?
I agree that property is a capital-intensive and illiquid asset. Nonetheless, it never fails to give me the thrill of finding that good deal. And because of the magic of financing, a 20 percent deposit means a multiplication of five times your initial investment when the value of your property doubles. This is in addition to the positive rental return you pocket every month. This is difficult to achieve in other types of investment, even if you manage to find a very good stock or bond.
Of course, whether your property investment can make a handsome profit, or can ever make a profit depend on when and what price you buy. Only developers, property agents or mortgage brokers will tell you that any time is a good time to buy : )
Some developers have complained that the slew of cooling measures implemented by the government has driven local investors to a corner and led to a wave of overseas property investments instead. What are the dangers that local investors should look out for in overseas property investments?
All types of property investments, whether local or overseas, are business ventures that the investors have to calculate return on investment and hidden risks. There is nothing like settling for less to get a cheaper alternative. If you buy the wrong thing, you still have to face the music one day.
Buyers of overseas properties must beware of the political, economic and legal risks, as well as the challenges in remote management of an overseas property. Do note that whatever you buy outside of Singapore, you are on your own and no longer protected by the Singapore laws. (Read my blog post “Three biggest risks buying overseas properties” which is an abstract in my book No B.S. Guide to Property Investment.)
Three advices I would like to share with buyers looking outside Singapore:
1. You know best the market you live in. Only invest in what you are familiar with. Avoid buying in markets that you know very little about.
2. Only invest in an overseas market if the return proves to be much better than what you can get at home; otherwise it doesn’t worth your time and effort.
3. Instead of just looking at what you are offered, fly to the country to find out what are available and get first-hand information about the real picture of the property market there.
You have set up Property Club Singapore, written a book and is also conducting seminars and workshops. How do you juggle your time between your work, family and your passion?
I don’t ‘juggle’. I just avoid the ‘hustle’ by doing what I enjoy doing and outsource the rest : )
I also realize that I can optimize my levels of energy and productivity by living a healthy lifestyle and keeping myself in good mood. To me, the latter can be easily done with some ‘me time’.
Of course like most people, I do have my bad days, like knowing that my young kids fall sick or having to deal with a difficult situation at work. If I have to take on a challenging project or an undesirable task, I try to focus on the enjoyable aspect of it, no matter how trivial it is.
Vina Ip (a.k.a. Property Soul) is a property enthusiast. She bought her first condominium unit for rent in
2002. In the next 4½ years, she built up a portfolio of five private properties. In 2010 and 2011, she
sold four of the properties, realizing a net profit of 80 to 120 percent.
In August 2010, she set up a personal blog PropertySoul.com (http://propertysoul.com) to share her
experiences as a property investor and to exchange ideas with fellow investors on accumulating wealth
She has written over 200 articles and attracted a regular group of followers. Her posts are frequently
quoted or reposted at YahooNews, TheFinance.sg, Singapore Investment Bloggers, PropertyGuru.com,
Propwise.sg, Singapore Business Review, Singapore Daily, Temasek Review and other wealth blogs.
In April 2014, Vina published her first book No B.S. Guide to Property Investment – Dirty Truths and
Profitable Secrets to Building Wealth Through Properties. The book is now on its third print and
is a bestseller at Kinokuniya and Times Bookstore.
In 2014, Vina founded Property Club Singapore (http://propertyclubsg.com) to provide a neutral
platform for the learning and networking of like-minded private property buyers, investors and owners.
Seminars, talks, workshops and networking sessions are organized regularly for club members.