Saturday, 21 October 2017

New HDB Resale Portal from 1 Jan 2018 to cut resale flat transaction time by half to 8 weeks

HDB to halve time taken for resale transactions
Upgraded portal from next year will make it easier to file applications, check eligibility
By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 20 Oct 2017

The time it takes to buy or sell a resale flat will be cut from 16 weeks to about eight from next year, with a revamped HDB resale portal.

Part of the country's Smart Nation push, the upgraded portal will also reduce the number of appointments needed to complete a deal from two to one, and will tap the Housing Board's (HDB) trove of resale transactions to do away with most professional valuations.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in a blog post yesterday that the new platform is "an example of how digital technology can be applied in practical ways to streamline existing processes and make citizens' lives more convenient".

Yesterday, HDB announced the changes to its resale portal, promised during March's debate on the National Development Ministry's budget.

It will go online on Jan 1, and make it easier to file applications and conduct eligibility checks.

The one-stop service will mean that buyers and sellers' financial documents can be uploaded and verified online, thus requiring only one appointment to sign the final legal documents.

Currently, the first appointment is for working out how much sellers will receive from the sale and assessing buyers' financial plans.

Buyers and sellers will also save time by having all the eligibility checks - such as for housing grants or whether they are within a neighbourhood's ethnic quotas - available on one page, instead of having to look up multiple e-services spread across the HDB website.



The updated portal will minimise the need for buyers and sellers to manually key in their data, as it will pull in common information used by government services, such as names, identity card numbers and addresses, for the relevant forms.

The HDB will also do away with valuations for most flats, eliminating the need for professional valuers to inspect a flat, thus speeding up the process. Instead, buyers will get the HDB to approve the proposed price of the flat directly.

This new service will cost $120 for all flat types. Under the current system, buyers fork out $156.45 for reports for one-and two-room flats, or $226 for three-room and larger flats.

Flat buyers and sellers will have to use a new Option to Purchase form - a legal document that gives a buyer the exclusive right to buy a flat - when the changes take effect. The current form is valid till Dec 31.



Mr Wong, who said the new platform is one of the initiatives under the Real Estate Industry Transformation Map, added that HDB will set up a dedicated helpline and help desk at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh to guide those who require assistance.

Civil servant Rachel Samuil, 32, who hopes her husband can sell their four-room Jurong flat to move to a bigger one, was among those who welcomed the shorter resale process.

"We have had some difficulty engaging the right buyer since it was put up for sale in May, but a shorter resale process means we get to move to our new space sooner once it is sold," she said.



















Revamped HDB portal may affect role of property agents and valuers
By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 20 Oct 2017

Yesterday's news of a revamped portal to speed up the HDB resale process prompted cheers and concerns about changes to the job scope for professionals in two industries.

While real estate agents were comforted that the changes would free them to focus on value-added services, several valuers were concerned they might lose revenue.

HDB is updating its portal and processes to halve the time taken for resale transactions come next year.

In most cases, buyers will no longer need to request a valuation report. Instead, HDB will "harness technology and transaction data to establish the reasonableness of a transacted price", saving about a week in the process.

"Nevertheless, where a valuation is assessed to be needed, it will still be done," a spokesman said.


The updated portal will also streamline the entire resale process by integrating all eligibility checks into one platform instead of spread across various e-services. This would especially benefit those going down the do-it-yourself route, which HDB noted was a growing trend, especially among the young.

The changes are more likely to affect smaller valuation firms for whom resale HDB flats are their bread and butter, said real estate appraiser GSK Global's chief executive Eric Tan. But while such valuations add only some $5,000 - about 2 per cent - to his company's monthly pot, he was concerned about the message the move would send about the profession. He urged HDB to be "transparent about the criteria for when a resale case requires a professional valuer to step in".

"We studied for years to learn how to make a professional judgment, and technology can never replace that," he said, adding that "numbers alone cannot tell you if your flat is facing a funeral parlour".

But the Singapore Institute of Surveyor and Valuers told The Straits Times that valuers can also carry out valuations for various purposes, including for financial reporting and collective sales.

The impact of the changes will be "insignificant" for such professionals, and the institute will help those who wish to diversify their skills, a spokesman said.

But for agents, the revamped portal was a welcome move.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in a blog post yesterday that the changes will free them from "time-consuming administrative work and allow them to focus on higher value-added work".

Agreeing, Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer for property agency ERA Realty, noted that while there are more buyers wanting to handle a transaction themselves, most sellers still require the help of an agent to market their flat.

"When you cut out most of the tedious administrative process, it helps the agent focus on what you are paying him for: Selling the flat in the shortest possible time," he said.

Buyers and sellers, in the meantime, welcomed the changes.

Financial consultant Jennifer Wong, 25, who is getting married next year, said she might find her ideal marital home sooner rather than later. "A faster process is less straining and taxing for all involved," she said.
































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