Is Property a Home or an Investment? – Maureen from Abiel Real Estate Fund

In episode #1 of Coconut Avenue, we bring on the CEO and founder from Abiel Real Estate Fund, Maureen Li. She is a seasoned commercial and residential property investor with years of experience in Australia and Singapore property markets. Tune in as we discuss if we should look at property as an investment or a home. What are some strategies to take for people buying HDB? What’s the HDB age you should look out for when buying? Will property prices continue to rise even after reaching their highs?


podcast Transcript

Troy: You always hear about investing in properties, but what if you only wanted a property just to stay and not necessarily see it as an investment? Recently, HDB resales hit record  highs. Is it because of the BTOs getting  delayed? Or is it because of fears being propagated on Facebook and YouTube saying that HDB value will go to zero and Singaporeans will lose all their savings?

What I really want to know is are HDBs really that bad? In this episode, we want to expand your views on HDBs. And is it a must to own a property in Singapore, or can you actually thrive when you rent a property on this little red dot? If you’re just embarking on your property journey, this episode is a great start for you.

Ready to find out more? Welcome to the Coconut Avenue.

Welcome back to another day on the Coconut Avenue. Join us as we explore various property insights, investment strategies, and challenging property myths out there today. We’ll be bringing on investors and experts in the game to share with us their insights and stories to better prepare us for our journey. Whether you’re looking at your first property or building your bucket of gold through properties, there’s something for you here. Ultimately it’s about helping you find your unique game plan.

Expand Full Transcript

In today’s episode, we want to talk about HDBs and is it a must to own a property or can you actually thrive when you rent a property in Singapore? Today, our guest is someone you will love. How do we know that? Judged by her first appearance on the Financial Coconut main feed, we know that a lot of you guys are keen on what she has to say on properties.

She’s going to give her take about renting versus owning properties in Singapore, as well as talk a little bit about HDB. She’s a seasoned property investor with years of experience under her belt, in commercial and residential properties scenes, both in Australia and Singapore. She’ll be kicking off Coconut Avenue’s first episode, along with the Chief Financial Coconut, Reggie, and she’s none other than Maureen Lee!

Reggie: So to kickstart, right. I think a lot of people have this thought that they want to be a property investor. But in my head, right, like, I don’t want. You know, it’s like, I don’t really think, like… 

Maureen: Really? [Laughs] Okay, I gotta get out of here now. 

Reggie: [Laughs] It’s like, I feel like, I just want a home. I don’t need a property to be my investment because I already have my ways of making money. And I’m just wondering, like, must everybody be a property investor? Can I just buy a home? 

Maureen: I guess it’s, the way that I looked at it, okay. I think that if you think about your way of investment as an income earning way, right? Just as someone who has a job or has a business, et cetera, I always thought of property as a very good way to park money, purely because it’s a physical asset that if in the right country like Singapore, it can never go down to zero. 

Now I qualify that. Obviously there’s been a lot of recent news about HDB, you know, reducing to zero and we can touch on that later. But generally property is a great way to park some money, right. And then grow your equity, I think. But that’s my perspective of the whole thing. Yeah. 

Reggie: So, that’s your thought as a investor, you see it as an investment viewpoint. 

Maureen: Actually, this is from the, okay, you prelude this whole conversation by saying that a lot of people want to become a property investor. Actually, a lot of the common people, like, you know, just the, you know, the uncles and aunties that we meet on the street, et cetera, property investment is always deemed as something that is out of reach for them. Because the capital requirement is so large, they can’t get into the market, which is why I thought the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew was so great in his regime when he created HDB, because he allowed people to own their own home, which is such a great thing because a home is, aside from what I may or may not think as investor, it’s like your nest, like your place that you can return to, it’s a place that is very safe for a lot of people. And owning that place gives people that sense of security and stability.

So if you actually talk to a lot of people in their old age, they would always say, “Oh, at least I own my own home.” Why do they say that? It’s because at their later stage of their life, when they are not as productive in terms of income producing, then having your own home at least allow them to think, “At least if I have my three meals, I’ve got my own home.”

There is place for escape. There’s a hideout that I can go to. And that’s — 

Reggie: Safe.

Maureen: Yeah, that’s very important for, I think a lot of people psychologically as they get older. Aside from what we may think about property in terms of you know, equity and yield and all that. That’s why I thought the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew was so wise and so great in his regime. 

Reggie: Yeah. We’ve got to get HDB to sponsor this. [Laughs]

Troy: Maureen, what you mentioned just now was more like property as a home. That’s not an investment, right? 

Maureen: Right, right. Okay. So that’s the other thing. I was thinking about this whole perspective, I mean, long time ago as well. I know that a lot of people out there, especially when they’re starting out in investment, they would have read a lot of financial literacy books, like from Robert Kiyosaki was a very popular one. In fact, Robert Kiyosaki was one of the game changer. He came in and then he told everyone that, hey, how you should define asset is anything that puts money into your pocket and naturally, a home where you stay, especially when you don’t lease up part of the place or whatever, is a liability.

And that’s like a controversial conversation to have with anyone at that time. And if you look at it later on, I’m going to expound on it in Singapore context, that may not be naturally true for a lot of Singaporeans. But however , that’s how he defined it. That’s not naturally how I define it because property in its format has two components.

One is the rental yield and one is the equity component, in terms of how you earn income. I think we touch on that in terms of how you get your profit from your property. In essence, in Singapore, right now for the, since 2013 till now, right, property hasn’t been a great platform for income earning.

People know that the rental yield in Singapore hasn’t been great, but what property has always been very good at in Singapore is that it’s been a very good defense strategy for a lot of people in terms of equity, retention, and equity increment. Why? Because as a place, a country increase in population, you’ll find that by default the property prices will also increase proportionately.

So because of the nature, even for property investor like myself, when I enter into Singapore property scene, I know that, of course I need to get positive cashflow from my investment, but that cashflow really is enough to cover all my mortgage. If it gives me a little bit of cashflow, I’m considered very blessed and clever in terms of how I structure it.

But to say that I rely on that cash flow to build my wealth, it will be ignorant. Because majority of the property investor built their wealth in Singapore markets through equity increment. So then why is it very different for a property investor if they’re just a mom and pop who invest in HDB?

Why can’t they also look at it in terms of not just a place to stay, where it’s safe for their children, but also a place to get some equity? It makes sense, right? If by default, I can also get that, why don’t I? Rather than blindly going into a market place and saying that I just want to get a home, I don’t care if it increase or not.

Why not get the other one as well? If you can. So that’s my perspective. And before the recent change in regime with HDB, if you talk to the older generation, they would tell  you that, oh, they work all their lives, they pay off their HDB and at the end of it, that’s their nest egg. A lot of them might not have a lot of great saving apart from their CPF, but that home was worth something to them because it has tradable value.

I say that, of course, knowing the recent regime changes, which is why the recent changes in HDB, how the government value HDB, has such a huge impact for Singaporeans in general, because that’s traditionally how we accumulate our wealth. 

Reggie: Of course. I mean, when you look at that point in time, when… what I think you were saying was really for the older generation or the people that like, what you call pioneer generation, right. So, so those guys, they bought the HDB, very first batch was like $40,000, right? 

So they were very simple, you know, factory workers. You know, just doing very laborious way of making money. Which is at that point in time, right. And they bought it at $40,000 and they paid, paid, paid, and then all the time it became like $400,000. So they experienced that 10 times flip in what, 30, 40 years, which is amazing, you know, based on how you distribute wealth to all these people. 

Maureen: Correct. And Reggie, if you look at the, don’t talk about people who are perhaps savvy with share investment and all that, just talk about just general people, commoner, the type of investment product that we have in Singapore. Really doesn’t… you’ll be lucky if you just catch up with the CPI increment every year, right, with the inflation. So property was the way that allow those people to correct that. And like you say, you are very, very spot on. How can I invest with $40,000 and over time it become $400,000 with the, you know, correcting the CPI increase over time. And then accumulate such a great asset at the end of the day. And $400,000 in any language is a lot of money.

To try to save that over time, it’s hard work. And, and to know that, hey, I can just, you know, do what I do, and then over time, I’ve just got that $400,000 sitting there. It’s good to know. And it’s also a comfort for a lot of people, I feel. 

Reggie: I think so too. But do you think it’s still valid for our generation? Because our generation is going to come in at $400,000, right? So honestly, in my head, right. If 400,000 go to 4 million, there is going to be like revolt on the streets. Because this is social housing, right? So is the HDB story, is it still intact? 

Maureen: I’m going to break this down into two parts. Your first question was whether it’s still relevant for this generation given where we’re going. As long as a country or a place or town or whatever continue to increase in population, there is going to be appreciation in the property, assuming that you’re buying what the masses would buy. If you go and buy something like woopwoop or, you know, like, out of, where there is… 

Reggie: Like Sembawang behind. Laughs] Yeah, very quirky. I will buy, I will buy. I like it, as a home.  

Maureen: So long there is consistent population increment in a country, then I would say that there is some smartness to doing that. Now let’s touch on the HDB thing. Lately, and also we touch on the Bala Table, right? Which actually gives you a table that actually measures, or how the government measures, the depreciation of a property over time.

That depreciation table used to be not so relevant because, like you say, even until the end, there is a silent or a mutual understanding between the citizen and the government that somehow the government would buy over the HDB flat as it depreciate. But however, with the recent announcement by the government, they are saying that, hey, this guarantee is no longer there, right. 

So then what happens with our HDB flat? There is still that component. There is still value because people think that, oh how it works is that today my property, I bought it for 400 and with the depreciation with a 99-year leasehold, it just — tomorrow is 399 and whatever cents. It doesn’t work that way, because yes, the depreciation of the lease hold does happen.

But you are also countering the effect with appreciation of land prices in general with Singapore. So there is a two-chart factor happening over time. So that’s one thing. Hopefully people get that kind of picture in their head. But what I’m also saying is also, generally I advise people to get the HDB flat that is 5… assuming that you don’t get — BTO is fine, but there is a reason why I prefer resell, of course. But outside of that, that’s another topic. 

But I do like 5 to less than 20 years HDB. I still think that there is validity to go in at the right price, so HDB now is a property, so entry at the right price is still important, but not withstanding that, 5 to less than  20 years would give you a good enough time. So I always advise the young people, unlike the parents who will stay in the HDB forever, get the HDB within this age range, stay in it for the minimum MOP period, then trade up to a condo. That’s always my advice. 

And by the time, assuming you are doing all the right things, right, you would have a very decent six-figures nest when you trade into your condo. And when you trade into your condo, of course, the entry price and everything, where you buy then, become of course, very, very important.

And that will allow you to somehow ride the same way as your parents, if not even better. If you enter the condo at the right price, your appreciation should be a lot better than your parents. And the benefit of a private condo versus a HDB is that you can leverage on the additional equity to buy additional property, which you can’t with an HDB.

Reggie: Exactly, exactly. With a flat, you can never get a mortgage on it. There is no leverage. You can’t take loans on that. On the private property, you can do all the sexy things. 

Maureen: Correct, correct. And I say this because, for younger generation, if you calculate like someone’s income, right, how much they are earning, even with a two-couple professional ones, they graduate from university, how much they’re earning. To ask them to buy a one-bedroom in any condo, which is like $800k to a million, the amount of savings that they have to make, it’s almost impossible. But the thing is that one of the greatest thing that we know to accumulate your wealth is something called compound interest, right?

So the sooner you enter the market, you can compound this equity the better. So I always advise, go into your HDB first, as soon as you can, compound that in the HDB environment with your 5 years MOP or whatever it is, then trade out into your condo. So that you’re not wasting time saving up to get into your condo.

You are still using that time period to accumulate equity, especially when Singapore government is so generous with all the grants and all the access that they’re giving to young people to allow them to enter. And, you know, you can enter into HDB, like, you know, like five figures, very little money, in fact, with the CPF money that you have. So it’s quite a good thing. 

Reggie: Yeah. It’s like, as long as you have a job, you’re not priced out of the system. 

Maureen: Right, correct, correct. 

Reggie: We’re not going into the nitty-gritties of marriage and — all those things are a different discussion. But I think based on whatever you just said, right, which is to buy, partake in the property market through the HDB mechanism like, whenever you can, right. Right from the get go. So your assumption is in 5 years, they will sell that and then flip over to a private property. That is the point, right? 

Maureen: Correct. Now, Reggie, I qualify that there is no, never a hard and fast rule. So for example, I just touched on this , that I buy leasehold property currently, right.

Because of personal reason, I bought a residential place that is lease hold because my mother at the time wanted to live in a particular area. It’s a very conscious decision and I don’t like leasehold generally, generally but it’s a condo. So with that, I told myself, hey, I’m going to sell at five years,  but is it exactly at the 5 years? So for example, next year my own condo reaches the five years, but I don’t think it’s a good time to sell at that point. So I’ll still hold it for a couple of years. It’s still okay. As long as it’s below 10 years. So similarly for what you say about HDB, it’s the same thing.

It doesn’t mean, “Oh, five-year MOP, I have to…” if it’s not the right environment, if it’s not the right entry price, you can hang on for a couple of years more.

Reggie: What I’m hearing is we need to understand the underlying reason, right. Which is to compound, right. So that’s why you, you invest early and then you kind of compound this over time. It becomes like a forced in certain ways, right? Buying the property, and then you flip over to another thing. Yeah. So I get that, but all these are hinging on the underlying belief that there’ll be more people on this Island.

Am I good to bring out that validation, right? So if the population doesn’t grow and then the demand slumbers then, so this strategy cannot be applied in anywhere else. Not just like flip and just put like that. You really got to analyze which city or which … 

Maureen: I’m going to touch on generally how Australian do it, right. But the other thing is also, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I still believe that if I was to, for example, if every month I was to pay, let’s say $2,000 or $3,000 to stay in a place, I’d rather put that into my own place, right. Where I’m actually accumulating some form of equity than just to rent. So I quite like that concept.

So, ’cause over time, like you say, it’s a forced savings. So let’s say even if Singapore next year, it’s impossible for Singapore to — oh, I say this, I hope not — for it to go backwards, although our birthrate is not really helping. But let’s say –why I’m not very pro the government stopping a lot of foreigners coming in, we are traditionally reliant on people coming into this country, migration and all that to grow our population, because we are just not giving birth enough.

But in saying so, let’s assume that at the moment, that it goes stagnant. Even with that, I still recommend people do think about buying HDB and why, because it’s a forced sense of savings. And whether we like it or not, I think we can concretely say that in 10 years later, everything that we’re experiencing now will be more expensive. Including properties. Because people are just not building more land anyway. So Cooke is going to be more expensive, everything, you know, we can trace back to the history with our grandparents, you know, how much they pay for things. So with that, I still think there is enough validity for people to actually invest into property, even if it’s a false sense of saving.

But the other thing is also then to trade into the condo because really, if I asked you, Reggie, Oh, can you just put aside every month, this amount of money? Psychologically once you see your nest egg increase, you’ll be thinking, “Oh, maybe I should…” — assuming that we can travel — you’ll go, “Oh, maybe I should take a holiday.”

Reggie: Cruise to nowhere. [Laughs]

Maureen: Yeah, correct, correct! And you know, and that’s the one thing that people need to realize. That you do like to spend the money that you’ve got in your bank account. And then the other thing is that money does depreciate in value over time if you keep it stagnant. You should invest in something that would appreciate, you know, proportionately according to inflation, at least, at least. 

So now touching in Australia, the difference between Australia and Singapore, there was a period of time that — and also with some of the clever strategy we can sort of implement in Australia. It is very possible to buy a residential place in Australia or even — 

Let me backtrack. It’s very possible to invest into a residential property in Australia and get very, very strong, positive cashflow out of it. Not just equity increment. So with that, a lot of entrepreneur or property investor, they rent themself, but they invest in property to get income because the income is very healthy.

And also the other thing is that in Australia, when you rent, your rental can be deducted from your taxation. Especially if you, yeah, especially if you run businesses. Let’s say if I set up a company to run my property businesses, the rent that I pay for my home , proportionately, for example, I can say, oh, I have a home office or whatsoever, I can deduct it off. 

Reggie: And tax is crazy in Australia, right.

Maureen: Correct. So then from a taxation perspective, it makes sense for me to want to rent and then use my money to invest in something that generate cashflow, right. But if you look at it from a Singapore perspective, when I invest in something I’m not getting cashflow, so the only place like kind of equity , it doesn’t make as much sense, really.

And a lot of people then come to me and say, “Oh, but I invest in industrial. It gives me some cashflow.” When I analyze dip into it, the cashflow versus the proportional risk and how much equity that is stuck in there, I don’t know. So unless there is a capital upside in Singapore, I think it’s very important.

At least for the foreseeable future, it’s very important that you realize that you’re investing into property in Singapore because of the equity increment. If there is non-existence, because you didn’t buy undervalue, because there is no cap growth in that property, don’t buy it. It’s my advice. 

Troy: Maureen, you mentioned so many advantages of owning a property or investing a property in Australia, but what was the reason that you came to Singapore to enter the property industry? 

Maureen: It was a moment of insanity, I think. [Laughs] No, seriously. Someone asked me the other day. I was like, oh yes, come to Singapore to invest in property. I came to Singapore for personal reason. And when I entered into Singapore, it was like 2013, 2014, it was ABSD, SSD. I recall thinking that, what am I doing here?

And majority of Singapore property, if you look at it realistically, it’s all strata, condo strata, industrial strata, whatever. And when you, as soon as you touch on strata, you’re investing into airspace, right. You’re subdividing because of the level and buying air space. So traditionally in Australia, I’ll never, never, never invest in airspace, even though we do also have flats, apartments and all that, unless a certain other criteria is met, I don’t do it.

It just doesn’t make sense. And also, if you look at a country like Australia, the appreciation for air space versus land is always less. And you translate it into Singapore environment, it’s also the same. If you can buy a freehold landed, freehold whatever , anything to do with land versus air, it always does quite well, especially over time, unless you buy badly, right. Then that’s another story altogether. 

Just generally when you buy landed anything in Singapore, you can also increase the value by enhancing the place. Whereas you buy strata, you can only enhance the internal, not the external, and that limits you to a lot of extents. So when I came here, it was like, mmm, nah, you know, so it wasn’t for property investment purposes, it was because of lifestyle, personal reason. I came here and I thought I was going to stay a couple of years and then go home. I just got stuck. 

Troy: So, so you never want to go back to Australia, you’re stuck in Singapore? 

Maureen: Like I didn’t realize, then the roots started like, you know, I don’t know, yeah… 

Reggie: Making a home, making friends here… 

Maureen: Yeah, and I’ve got two dogs here, and they’re only five  years old. So I thought I’ve got another 10 years left here, you know, …

Reggie: That’s the strategy. That’s what the government does, right. They get you to come here and study, and then, you know, you bring your parents here and then slowly, oh let’s buy a house, let’s go for NS, and then you get your citizenship, okay, we grow our population. 

Maureen: Correct, correct. Because the thing is that, the other day, someone also asked me, “Oh, Maureen. So do you like Singapore? Like you’ve been here for like seven years, et cetera.” I say, well, Singapore is like a work home. They look puzzled. They say, “What do you mean work home? “You know, I say, you are here because you work. So it becomes your home, you know. 

They say, “Yeah but what’s the other version of it?” I say, it’s like a home home. They say, what does home home mean? Home home means like, it’s the place that you really love to stay there because it’s got culture, hobbies, and you know, things like that that keeps you there. But Singapore is never built like that, right? 

Reggie: I have to agree.

Troy: That’s true, that’s true. That’s why people are stressed. 

Maureen: Okay, you’re going to get a lot of hate mail from this. [Laughs] 

Reggie: I have to agree, and all my artist friends, they have to agree also, because there’s no… there’s limited cultural, you know, environmental kind of, I mean, there’s Bishan Park la, Bishan Park’s quite nice. 

Maureen: Excuse me? [Laughs]

Troy: He always sells Bishan Park.

Reggie: Bishan Park sponsor, right. [Laughs]  I love Bishan Park, because I think there is a certain vibe. Once you’re there, right, it’s a whole different thing. Maybe that’s why property prices there are crazy.

Maureen: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Reggie: HDB goes for a million dollars there?! I was like, my goodness. When I went to the park, I was like, okay, I get why it’s a million dollars there. 

Maureen: You see, you see. Reggie, you just touched on a very good point. Don’t care, like the, even the number of years, right? If you look at all the highly sought after area, like Bishan Park and all that. There’s still a lot of value to the HDB. It comes down to something called demand. Is there demand for your place? Even if it’s got, let’s say, 30, 40 years left, right. Is there a demand? If there’s no demand, there’s no value. If there’s demand, even if it’s 40, like Tiong Bahru, right. Some of the older places, it’s so beautiful. It’s like, 40 years, there’s still value. There’s still people who wants it, right? 

Reggie: All the ang moh’s stay there. It’s like ang moh town.

Maureen: Correct. Correct. 

Reggie: So culturally rich, so sexy. And I’m slowly getting what you’re saying, right. So, okay. When I came to this conversation with you, I come from the stand, like, I just want a home. I know how to invest. My vehicle is the stock market, right.

And of course, I’ve take time to hone that skill. And, and it’s served me well. So when I see, you know, property, I’m like, nah, I just want a house. I don’t really need to like, make a lot of money from this per se. But you know, the discussion so far just gives me this thought that hey, actually, even if I just buy a house, you know, somehow or another, I will still experience the capital gains. 

 So I can, I can, don’t need to be too concerned about, you know, the whole like investment narrative, like right price, right spot. But as long as I stay vested in a place that continue to have experience population growth. So that is the underlying assumption. 

Maureen: Because that’s related to demand. 

Reggie: Yes. So right, population growth, jobs, people, demand for space. Then as long as I stay vested, you know, as a home owner, I can still experience the capital gains. Not consciously, I just stay here la, then five years later, actually the prices are going up. 

Maureen: Correct. Correct. So I don’t think that one needs to be like… 

Troy: One or the other.

Maureen: Yeah, or analyze it or whatever. Even if you’re taking a very layman perspective to this, I don’t want to go into, study all the books and whatever with property. But if you just use your common sense approach, oh, there’s a lot of people wants it here, my family, oh, I want to send my kids to this school.

That’s great. So long as used to like enter, not at crazy prices, even if you enter at okay prices, it still makes sense. You look at the Pinnacle, like people say, oh, it’s so expensive when you buy it, or even Boon Keng area, people like, have HDB that is 1 million. But they enter it because they want to stay there. They want this, and they… 

I’m sure a lot of the people who bought at those area weren’t savvy property investor. They just, you know, but it’s worth a lot of money now. 

Reggie: Yes. It’s the accidental, you know, the accidental wealth and all, like how the people in Beijing, like my friend, you know, the family lives in this place in Beijing, then over time because population grow. So those are underlying factors, right, back to the factors, jobs, people, work and then demand for space. And then that city boomed. And then they just, you know, ride with it. Suddenly the farmer becomes like a property guru. 

Maureen: So the thing is that if I asked you, do you like to, would you like to stay in a place and just stay in  place that, you know, you might have rented it and whatsoever, that brings no value apart from the fact that you like staying there. Versus eh, I can stay there, I still pay somewhat the same money, but over time accumulate something, right? I think most people would just choose option two. If I can have that, why not? 

Reggie: So are you telling me not to rent? [Laughs]

Maureen: Yes. [Laughs] If you can. Yeah. Yeah. 

Reggie: That’s cool. 

Troy: So you’re saying that for many people who want properties as a home, they can still be a bit high breed and choose at the right  time to buy, choose at the right  place andridet on the investment as well, even though they might want to stay in that home forever. It doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of capital growth. 

Maureen: Correct. Exactly. If you can have it, why not? Especially when Singapore is such a capital gain property investment marketplace. And the other thing is that I doubt, I doubt, unless the government somehow, some electrical wire disconnect. I think it’s in their interest to continue to push for population growth in Singapore, really.  

So with that, that means that the property prices would always proportionately… and the government, if you look at all the commercial regime that they are putting together, whether it’s setting up a VCC, getting investment companies from overseas to invest in Singapore, why ? You know, when you have, when you stimulate economic factor, people want to come and work here, they’ll move their money here and all that. That means human traffic. That means property will grow, yeah. So I think that over time it still makes sense. 

Reggie: Okay, cool. Yeah. I love what you just did there because you kind of converted me. [Laughs]

Okay, not converted in a sense that now I see myself as a property investor. No. In a sense that, you know, I feel like I can also just buy the property and not, as just a home owner. I just want a beautiful place that I like, I’ll just buy it there. I don’t need to geek out over like, you know, property factors or like, buy price, sell price, you know, da da da. 

But I should just, you know, if within my means, if I can, I should just have some equity in the property market. Fundamentally that is, you know, the beauty of being a home owner la. You agak-agak, then you like just buy a house, then five years later, eh, I got some money. 

Maureen: Yeah, yeah! I mean, I know everyone love kids. Everyone love puppies. I like old people. So a lot of times I go out there, I chat to them. I actually have conversation with all these old people. And if you mix around with old people enough, if you talk to them, whether they’re in Australia, here, one of the things as you, you know, have chats with them, they will always tell you like, those who work all their life just to put their kids through school and all that, by the end of it, really, you know, that they don’t have much left, like in terms of cash or whatever.

The ones that does slightly better is because they still own their own home. And that is of worth something. So I think from there, I glean that, hey, you know, minimally, it’s a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. And you know, those are the people who didn’t care, like, at the time, like the prices that you ask them, eh, how much did you buy it for, uncle, auntie?

Whatever price did they mentioned. And I bet you if at that time, if I can trace that at the time, maybe they bought it very badly. Their friend only pay like X amount and they pay like 30k more,  100K more. But to me now, when I listen to them now, I always go, wow, so cheap! I’ve never once go, oh, poor you, you know, you enter at such a… I always say, wow, so cheap. 

Like that’s the whole thing behind it, I think. And once they paid that off and the amount that, that house or that property is worth now, it’s always like, wow, at least they’ve got that, right? If anything happened, can draw down from the bank. It’s still worth something. They can still use that money. 

Reggie: I think you shared enough. I get the idea, right? So whether or not, you want to be a property investor. That means you’re going to geek it out with all the factors and choose what’s the best price to buy, what time to sell, and everything. Or if you just, you know, be an accidental property investor by being a home owner, right. I think what Maureen is trying to tell us is as long as the underlying factors of demand stays intact, right, then it’s better to be vested than not. So I think, I think that’s good enough then, you made your case, right? 

Maureen: Thank you very much, thank you, thank you. Please applaud. [Laughs] I’m just kidding, I’m kidding, I’m kidding. 

Reggie: So I hope you guys had a great time, this is our first episode and many, many good things coming. You know, next few episodes, we’re going to talk about all the ins and outs of property and yeah, thanks for coming and see you guys. 

Troy: Hey, thanks for taking time to tune in today. I hope you’ve learned a little bit more about property investing. If you feel like you’ve benefited from this podcast, do share this with your loved ones and also do follow us on all our socials and join our community Telegram group. And tell us what you’re interested to know about next. Everything is in the description below. Have a great day ahead guys, and always remember: when we are better prepared, the next opportunity is just around the corner. See you next week. 

That’s a wrap for the first  episode of the Coconut Avenue. We have been preparing this for you for months after listening to what you guys want. And I’m just so excited to finally, you know, we can release this today and to hear what you guys have to say and to improve on it.

I surely learned something from this episode today, and I hope you did as well. Here’s my takeaway: properties are forced savings and it’s better to get into the game early, as compound interest will work for us. At least our hard earned money is locked in a physical asset that we can enjoy, or we can use to make more money. 

If you have such a big amount of money in the bank, voluntary discipline is hard. Maybe you want to buy a Rolex. Maybe you want to upgrade your car. Maybe you want to renovate your home. Maybe you want to buy this, buy that. And if you just lock it in in your home, then you really can’t spend it la.

You don’t even need discipline, you just can’t spend it, right? And yes, even though we might never get the appreciation our parents had on HDBs, from like paying $50 to a 100k and then you jumped to $400 or maybe even $500, 600k in 30 years. That’s good appreciation, you know. But we can still use HDBs as a jumping board into private properties.

And that journey can also net us some decent gains if we buy at the right time and sell it at the right time. Of course there’s a lot of research and metrics that you need to look out for. And for young couples, getting into a resale HDB is recommended over going for BTO by Maureen. I think she roughly mentioned the reasons why, and she would talk about it more in the next episode. So stay tuned. 

Alright guys, that’s it for the first episode. I’m so happy that this is released. Come discuss with us on our Telegram group and exchange opinions. Or just ask us about any queries you have after listening to this. Or tell us what property knowledge that you want to know more about, because we want to provide you the insights and knowledge that truly benefits you. Looking forward to hear from you guys, take care, and I’ll see you next week.

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