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Property tips from newly-minted real estate agent Taufik Batisah

Singer Taufik Batisah now hitting the high notes as a real estate agent

On top of his singing and acting career, as well as opening the eatery Chix Hot Chicken in 2018, Taufik Batisah added a new title - real estate agent - to his burgeoning resume last October.

And the inaugural Singapore Idol winner is off to a roaring start with his third revenue stream.

For starters, he passed the notoriously tough Real Estate Salesperson Examination on his first try.

Within three months as a property consultant with PropNex Realty, he won three awards: Platinum Achiever for clocking above $100,000 in commission; Top Exclusive Lister for the month of December 2019; and Top HDB transactor.

The Hype Records artist said he has been very blessed to be part of "The A Team", which comprises Taufik's brother, cousin, and two of their long-time colleagues.

Together, the quintet cover the whole of Singapore, with each specialising in one region.

Taufik, 38, said: "I am still a newbie and I'm grateful for everything they are teaching me. Whatever hat I wear, I am ultimately a worker. I give my best in everything I do. Just be sincere, (and) the rest will come."

Can you tell us more about your personal home investment journey so far?

I'm currently staying in the same executive maisonette (EM) in the western part of Singapore that I bought with my mum nine years ago.

When I was younger, my father was in interior design. I remember seeing him in an Housing Board flat with a staircase so that became my dream home.

When I could afford my own home, I didn't seek anyone's advice, I just went for it. Being self-employed, I don't have much (in my) Central Provident Fund, so I have been paying for it mostly with cash. Now, as an agent, I realise that using cash is a good thing.

How so?

When one uses the funds in your CPF's Ordinary Account (OA) to pay for your property, you will eventually need to return the accrued interest to your OA after you sell it. For me, since I didn't use much CPF, the accrued interest won't affect my sale proceeds too much.

However, it really depends on every individual's specific situation. For example, if one has the means, paying with cash even if you have enough funds in your OA will save on from returning the accrued interest in future.

Most memorable transaction?

My first one. I served a speech- and hearing-impaired couple selling their five-room flat in Woodlands. My brother assisted me and I was just in awe of him. He knows sign language as he used to work with a hearing-impaired colleague.

It was the combination of serving a really nice couple, watching my brother use sign language, trying to understand and accommodate everything, being there with my brother.

Even now, after we do presentations to our clients together, we'd be like, "Wow bro. Who would have thought we'd be working together some day?"

Most valuable translation so far?

As of February, I have done about 20 transactions. My first-time buyer bought a $1.5 million private condo apartment at a launch project.

He has good holding power, it's a safe investment and he is enjoying the first mover's advantage by buying it at the lowest quantum at the launch.

What tips do you have for young home owners who are first-timers? Do you recommend a Build-to-Order or resale flat for that first property?

For first-timers, I'll ask them: Can you wait three years while you ballot and wait for your flat to be built? Can you get the unit of your choice? If yes, go ahead and wait for your BTO.

The whole period from building to transacting to your next property will be about eight years, after serving out your minimum occupation period of five years. But if you require a unit almost immediately, want to choose which estate, floor, orientation, your neighbours, renovated or not, then go for an HDB resale flat. After all, there are subsidies for both.

How has being a property agent changed your own investment plans?

I wouldn't say I made a mistake of buying an EM but I am planning to sell it. My wife Sheena wants to move back to the eastern part. I'm giving myself a year more to save and buy a unit at a condo launch project.

While waiting for it to be completed, we will rent a home somewhere. When it is completed, we intend to rent out our property and hold for maybe two property cycles for better capital appreciation.

This article was first published in Home & Decor Singapore (