Faster resale transactions on revamped HDB portal

Above: Mr Leon Chea and his wife Mandy Chan unpacking their belongings in their new resale HDB flat in Hougang. Left: Mr Chea and Ms Chan with sellers, businessman Choo Choon Hock and his wife Lee Ai Wah.
Mr Leon Chea and his wife Mandy Chan unpacking their belongings in their new resale HDB flat in Hougang. ST PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO

Time taken halved with deals being completed in as little as eight weeks; more could take DIY route

Almost 21/2 months after the launch of a revamped HDB portal, resale transactions are being completed in as short as eight weeks - half the time taken in the past to seal a deal.

The time saving comes from eliminating one of two appointments with the HDB, during which forms and checks were completed. Instead, they are now done online.

The revamped website was rolled out on Jan 1 at a time of rising numbers of DIY resale transactions.

There were 28 per cent of such transactions last year, up from 11 per cent in 2010, the Housing Board said in a statement yesterday.

The portal, which takes buyers and sellers through each step of the resale process, could encourage more to go the DIY route.

As of the end of last month, the new portal shows about 6,800 owners intend to sell their flats, while 7,400 people want to buy resale flats. Of these, about 2,000 resale transactions - all done online - have been approved.

The use of technology in the resale process has left some wondering if housing agents, who number more than 28,000, would be made redundant.

  • 28%

    Percentage of DIY resale transactions last year.

    11%

    Percentage of DIY resale transactions in 2010.

But the HDB said that despite the portal quickening the process, there is no change to the role of real estate agents.

"Flat sellers and buyers can continue to engage the services of estate agents to advise and assist them with their transactions, if they wish to do so," it added.

To real estate marketing director Leon Chea, 35, the portal is not a threat. Instead, it helps him to be more productive as a housing agent.

While it is still early days, he expects to soon double his monthly pool of four to five clients.

"I used to spend three to four hours on an HDB appointment. Now I can spend the time saved by going to the office and intensifying my marketing efforts," he said.

Last Monday, Mr Chea and his wife, travel consultant Mandy Chan, 31, were the first to complete a resale transaction on the new portal, becoming proud owners of a three-room flat in Hougang Avenue 3 in just over three months, inclusive of the time taken to search for a suitable flat.

Their sellers, businessman Choo Choon Hock, 54, and his wife Lee Ai Wah, 55, said that while the portal was easy to use, they would still engage an agent to market their flat.

"This is their area of expertise, their network is bigger and I don't mind paying for that service," said Mr Choo.

The new portal is part of a move to streamline the resale process under the Real Estate Industry Transformation Map.

Other upcoming measures include Trip Advisor-like ratings for agents to encourage better service and professionalism.

Some industry analysts have previously said there are too many real estate agents, and that an ideal number would be closer to 15,000 to 20,000.

But heads of property agencies welcomed the measures, which they said would help those serious about real estate to level up in their careers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 11, 2018, with the headline 'Faster resale transactions on revamped HDB portal'. Print Edition | Subscribe