SINGAPORE: Starting from Monday (Jan 1), all new resale transactions would have to be submitted through a new Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale portal.
The portal, which goes live at 1pm, could see the time taken to complete a resale transaction cut by half. Currently, a resale transaction takes about 16 weeks and requires two appointments with HDB.
The move to streamline the resale process comes at a time when HDB is seeing more people performing property transactions without the help of an agent.
HDB said in 2010, about one in 10 people completed property transactions by themselves, without using an agent. The ratio rose to almost three in 10 people for the first half of this year.
The initiative by HDB was lauded by a group of homeowners and property agents who were given a preview of the portal ahead of the launch. They described the portal as fast and easy-to-use.
Mr Xavier Chia, 31, a customer service officer said: “It’s convenient. So I don't really have to make appointments … if all the documentation is something I can do at my end, then I would have the freedom of time to actually do it at my own convenience.”
Mr Chia, who bought a new four-room flat in Boon Keng last December, added that the portal has made the resale process more “straightforward”, as he no longer has to access multiple e-services platforms on HDB’s website to conduct eligibility checks.
Another homeowner, Mr Randy Goh, said when he bought his Punggol flat earlier this year, it was difficult to find a common time with the seller to attend the first appointment with HDB together.
The 28-year-old sales executive said he and his wife had to take time off work to attend the appointment, which was simply to work out the seller’s sale proceeds and assess his financial plan.
But now, such eligibility checks would be integrated into the new portal. Both buyer and seller would only need to attend one appointment with HDB to complete the resale transaction by signing on the necessary documents.
IMPROVEMENTS CAN BE MADE
While the portal aims to provide greater convenience to flat buyers and sellers, Mr Chia and Mr Goh felt the portal would be more user-friendly if there are multiple language settings. Currently, it is only available in English.
The portal which requires all administrative fees to be paid online via a credit card, or NETS, could also become an issue for the elderly who may not know how to make payments online, said Mr Goh.
But HDB said those who are unable to make payments online could print a payment advice form and make the payment at HDB Hub within three days.
Mr Chia also felt more guidelines could be provided to help users fill up the online forms.
“While (the portal) lists the documents required, (it) may not necessarily guide users how they can fill it up,” he said. “If I have any questions … it will still lead me to call HDB, or make a visit to enquire more, or seek professional help from agents."
LESS PAPERWORK FOR AGENTS
Mr Nelson Lim, key executive officer of C&H Properties, said he believes the streamlined resale process will be well-received by agents as it reduces the amount of paperwork a property agent has to complete on behalf of their client.
But that does not mean agents will be made redundant, added ERA Realty Network’s key executive officer Eugene Lim.
Mr Eugene Lim said: “The admin part of the process is just a small part of the agent’s job. The agent is paid … to find the buyer who will pay the highest possible price for the resale property. It doesn’t match the seller, and someone who wants to buy a house, together. It is just an admin portal to facilitate what the (buyer or) seller needs to know, do, and execute."
Channel NewsAsia understands that the new portal allows property agents to submit the forms on their clients’ behalf.
However, some homeowners Channel NewsAsia spoke to said that with the convenience provided by the portal, they are likely to go agent-free in the future.