New mobile app helps SMEs buy commercial properties

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to invest in and get loans for commercial properties quicker, with a new mobile app launched yesterday by United Overseas Bank (UOB) and property portal SoReal Prop.

SMEs can search for and get valuations for properties such as offices and warehouses on the new RealCommercial mobile app, which provides listings from SoReal, an online property platform founded by ERA Realty, Huttons Asia and PropNex Realty last year.

"From our experience in helping SMEs purchase their ideal commercial property, we know they want certainty and speed in the process," said UOB's Singapore country head of business banking Mervyn Koh.

"This means not having mismatched expectations in the property's valuation or the loan quantum, both of which could lead to the SME not being able to secure its desired property."

UOB said its digital valuation service provides SMEs with a bank-backed valuation for their loan application in less a minute, shortening a process which now can take up to seven days.

Business owners can also view the loan amount they qualify for on the app, based on their average monthly cash flow or affordability.

UOB said its digital valuation service provides SMEs with a bank-backed valuation for their loan application in less a minute, shortening a process which now can take up to seven days.

One in two businesses plans to invest in fixed assets including buildings and factory premises, according to a UOB survey.

UOB and SoReal said their commercial property solution, featuring a bank-backed valuation, is a first in Singapore.

The other local banks currently have property portals only for those buying residential properties, with OCBC's OneAdvisor Home and the DBS Property Marketplace.

OCBC said it is not looking at listing commercial properties within its platform, while a DBS spokesman said there are no plans to include commercial properties at the moment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2019, with the headline 'New mobile app helps SMEs buy commercial properties'. Print Edition | Subscribe