New property portal allows virtual viewing of units

Property sale veteran Karamjit Singh co-founded Showsuite, a website-cum-application, with two others. The platform, which was launched last month, has garnered good response from developers.
Property sale veteran Karamjit Singh co-founded Showsuite, a website-cum-application, with two others. The platform, which was launched last month, has garnered good response from developers.PHOTO: SHOWSUITE

Collective sale veteran and JLL senior consultant Karamjit Singh has launched a property portal he believes will shake up the market.

Called Showsuite, the website-cum-application is designed differently from agents' usual property websites.

For one thing, it is infused with functionalities such as 3D technology, virtual reality (VR) and even "storey views", which allow potential buyers to check out views from specific units within a block.

Buyers now have to travel to multiple show-flats at different locations. But with the portal, they will be able to do this virtually and save time.

Also, as projects are typically sold "off-plans" while they are being constructed, buyers are not able to walk into and experience the actual unit they are buying.

"So it is somewhat a leap of faith on their part in making a forward purchase," Mr Singh said.

He added that even show galleries display only three-or four-unit configurations most of the time. The website and app, however, are able to display units of all configurations.

Mr Singh co-founded Showsuite with two others, whom he prefers not to name. He also declined to reveal the size of his stake.

So far, his platform, which was launched last month, has garnered good response from developers.

Early adopters are UOL, GuocoLand, Bukit Sembawang, MCC Land, CEL Development and Roxy-Pacific Holdings. Discussions with other developers are under way.

Asked if coming on board Showsuite has significantly helped to move units at projects featured on the platform, Mr Singh said it is still too early to tell.

Showsuite gets its revenue from developers who pay for the platform to feature their projects. Developers, in turn, get a dashboard that enables them to not only update information and change visuals, but also track online traffic and buyers' navigation patterns.

Mr Singh is aiming for the portal to feature all existing new launches, so that it becomes "the obvious top-of-mind marketplace of what's available" for home buyers.

Next year should also be exciting, with a surge in new projects expected to come from collective sale and government land sale sites sold this year, he said.

The next thing he is working on is getting developers to provide transparent information on prices of all their units, as opposed to their usual practice of doling out numbers piecemeal to buyers who request information on specific units. This is one of the gaps in the new-home market that he hopes to plug.

Mr Singh sees property agents as beneficiaries rather than victims of this technology, believing they can now "carry" show-flats around in their mobile devices for clients to view any time, anywhere.

A portable VR box that agents will receive with their registration with the portal will also allow buyers to walk through units without having to set foot in the show-flats.

But value-added service from agents will be crucial, said Mr Singh.

"I am not saying we will continue to need 28,000 CEA (Council for Estate Agencies) registered agents as we currently do, that number might need to come down...

"I think roles are going to be disrupted in the future," he said.

Mr Singh was the founder and managing director of Credo Real Estate, which was the market leader in collective sales before it was bought by JLL Singapore in 2012.

He then became head of residential and investment sales services at the consultancy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2017, with the headline 'New property portal allows virtual viewing of units'. Print Edition | Subscribe