My Biggest Regret As A Real Estate Agent: Costing My Relatives A Massive $126,000 Loss

This unfortunate incident happened last year (2017). Until recently, I was beating myself up on the inside about it.

$126,000! That’s a large sum of money due to my mistake! And to my family no less!

Thankfully, I got the opportunity to make amends a year later.

Read the full story below, and you could learn an important lesson on how to prevent unnecessary losses on your property transactions…

My Relatives Were Looking To Upgrade From A HDB To A Private Property

So naturally, they came to me for help. I was the only real estate agent in the family after all.

However, I was still a wet-behind-the-ears “noob” at the time. With less than 1 year of experience under my belt, there were many things I was still figuring out.

And that led to the $126,000 mistake…

As mentioned, my relatives wanted to upgrade from a HDB to a private property.

After doing my analysis, the best plan of action in their situation, was to sell their HDB first before making a new property purchase.

As inexperienced as I was, I knew that already.

Unfortunately, my relatives were “hoodwinked” into a rash decision.

They heard from another agent that the private property they were interested in, was being sold at a “discount”. If they did not take this chance to purchase immediately, prices will go up.

In most cases (even today), such claims are not true (They’re being told to buyers who don’t know any better, so agents can earn a quick buck).

But that other agent was a lot better at sales and property knowledge than me at the time.

Through a convincing but wily sales pitch, my relatives decided to purchase the private property before selling their HDB (wrong decision!).

I tried everything I could to dissuade them, to no avail. My advice fell on deaf ears as they wanted to keep the HDB for rental income.

Moreover, my relatives were financially-savvy professionals. Not possible for them to believe me without “knowing my stuff”!

How This Decision Led To A $126,000 Loss

For Singaporean citizens, if you buy a second property before selling your first one, you’ll have to pay ABSD (Additional Buyer Stamp Duty) of 7% at the time.

*(ABSD is now 12%, which makes it even more important to make the right property decisions, as the wrong one can set you back hundreds of thousands of dollars)

In my relatives’ case, 7% of 1.8mil (the value of their private property) = $126,000.

If they had sold the HDB before making the purchase, they would have paid no ABSD at all.

I was devastated. I could not even put such a simple point across to my own family!

That made me realise something: I needed to work extensively on my sales techniques and property knowledge.

That’s exactly what I did.

I made a promise to myself – I would not let such an easily avoidable situation happen again to my clients, family or not.

So I spent all my free time learning sales. Attending trainings. Reading books. Sharpening my saw to become the most value-added and proficient real estate professional I can be.

The Chance For Redemption…

1 year later, the same relatives sought my help again. They had not sold their HDB yet, and wanted to invest in another private property.

As it turned out, the agent they worked with was not able to rent out their flat for a good price. So they decided to turn to me to sell their HDB flat instead.

The good news: Within this 1 year, my expertise in property matters had grown by leaps and bounds.

I could have done what young Jim would do – Sell the HDB, buy the private property.

But I was determined to atone for my mistake. So I did a lot more than that…

Through a series of smart and profitable portfolio restructuring, I managed to help them not only sell the HDB for a very good above-market-rate price, but also “converted” that 1 HDB into 2 private properties!

Now, they have 1 private property for their own stay (purchased a year ago), and another 2 for passive rental income!

What I did was not possible a year ago. I did not know how. Come to think of it, it’s kind of funny how the world works. And how this scenario eventually came full circle.

I saw it as an opportunity, or rather, a “kick in the ass” to up my game.

I’m so glad that with my knowledge and skill set now, I can help my clients make the best possible property decisions!

If You’re Facing A Similar Dilemma…

Meaning just like my relatives, you’re unsure of what’s the best course of action when it comes to upgrading your property, feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to help 🙂

The truth is, property investment can be complicated. There are so many possible paths to take that lead to different outcomes.

My relatives’ 1 HDB for 2 private properties is just one of the many possible solutions when it comes to property upgrading.

Depending on your needs, current portfolio, financial standing and other key factors, your property solution has to be customized accordingly. A one-sized-fits-all approach doesn’t work for something as volatile as property investment.

Do you know which path is best for you? If you don’t, you’re in luck!

Because no matter your situation, I’m confident that I have your customized solution. That’s why I spent all that time and effort learning about everything related to real estate and property investment – to add value to homeowners who needs my help!

So if you’re not 100% sure of your next step… if you want to “play it safe” and not risk throwing hundreds of thousands down the drain for no good reason… if you want the best possible solution to your property dilemma…

Feel free to contact me by Call/SMS/Whatsapp at +65 8333 7213 or via email at

Talk soon!

P.S. In my next article, I’ll be sharing an interesting story about the recent ABSD announcement.

In case you haven’t heard, the government recently increased ABSD rates by 5% for all second property purchases. This sudden announcement was a shock to many property investors, including one of my clients who did something drastic (against my advice).

Thankfully, I was able to rectify the situation just in time…

If you’re concerned or affected by this new cooling measure, stay tuned for my next article!

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