Updated: Jul 2, 2020
** Singapore Property Real Life Stories is a series of real life property transactions which SG Property Advisers encountered, that actually happened and did not turn out the way that it was meant to be, with some even nearly turning into a horror story for the people involved, including Jeffrey and Elaine themselves. Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved in the transactions. **
One fine day, Jeffrey received a phone call from a client named Mr. Pan. To start the whole story off, it was quite a funny way how Mr. Pan managed to get Jeffrey’s number! Jeffrey had distributed flyers to the town of Hougang and as expected, many will throw the flyers into the litter bin which is always so strategically placed, beside the letterboxes. Turned out that day, the litter bin was quite full so when someone threw the Jeffrey’s flyer into the litter bin, it remained very visible as the flyer was on right on top. So, when Mr. Pan saw the flyer, he picked it up and brought it home. Being a very candid and humorous man, the first thing that Mr. Pan told Jeffrey was, “I picked you up from the dustbin!” With that epic statement, a client-realtor relationship started. Mr. Pan was doing well in his business and he wanted to upgrade from his 3-Room HDB flat to a 5-Room HDB flat. So, Jeffrey and Elaine were tasked to assist him in this sale and purchase journey.
After meeting up with Mr. Pan and his family to do all the financial calculations, timeline planning and the necessary paperwork to start the sale, the whole marketing process started quickly with very healthy enquiries and viewing appointments. Jeffrey, Elaine, and Mr. Pan hit it off very well and that client-realtor relationship quickly deepened to become a friendship. Mr. Pan would always ask them to come half an hour earlier when there are viewing appointments so that they can go for a cup of coffee at the coffee shop which was just downstairs. Not long later, Jeffrey and Elaine found a buyer for Mr. Pan and the buyer whose name was Jeremy, was also quite a nice guy. With sale settled, the next step was to settle the purchase of the bigger HDB flat. And this is where the story really begins.........
Quite immediately after issuing the Option to Purchase (OTP) for the sale of Mr. Pan’s house, they were out there sourcing for the next home. As they were doing (1)Enhanced Contra for the sale and purchase, the seller of the house that they want to buy, will have to be able to grant them the flexibility in timeline to facilitate this move as they also need to factor in things like renovations for the new house. A couple of weeks into the search, they managed to find a unit that fulfills all their requirements. After some negotiations, all parties managed to reach a consensus on the price, timeline requirements and some other minor details. The sellers were a very nice Indian couple and they told Jeffrey and Elaine to address them as Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kumar. Mrs. Kumar was especially accommodating when Jeffrey and Elaine made their requests for Mr. Pan and she is really one of the nicest sellers whom Jeffrey and Elaine have met when they were serving buyers. Inking of everyone’s names and signature on the paperwork was also very fast and smooth and subsequently, submission of valuation request was done and Mr. and Mrs. Pan exercised the option once the valuation report was out. They really loved the place and the next thing to happen, was to wait for HDB’s First Appointment (At the time of this case, there was still two appointments for the sellers and buyers to attend).
As the seconds, minutes and hours slowly passed, finally the day of the HDB 1st Appointment finally arrived. Without any surprise, Mr. Pan asked Jeffrey and Elaine to reach early so that they can have coffee together before the appointment. They could almost agree on everything that they chatted about, the only one thing that they will probably argue about, was who is paying for the coffee. Ten minutes before the appointed time, they went up into HDB Hub and they saw Jeremy. After shaking hands and saying Hi, they were then looking out for Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kumar. After glancing around for a couple of minutes, Jeffrey saw Mr. Peter Kumar in a faraway corner. Instead of going over immediately to give a handshake, Jeffrey stood still. Something just seemed wrong. Mr. Peter Kumar was gazing into space and there was a tinge of sadness in his face. There was also something else that wasn’t right. Mr. Peter Kumar was alone and his missus nowhere around. Finally, Mr. Peter Kumar saw Jeffrey and he started walking over. Then from the other entrance, Mrs. Peter Kumar came in. Mrs. Peter Kumar seemed a little different from the last time they saw her. She walked in with large strides and there wasn’t a smile on her face and she reached them before Mr. Peter Kumar.
Once Mrs. Peter Kumar was within handshaking distance, Elaine wanted to raise her hand to shake hers but before that could even happen, Mrs. Peter Kumar said one statement, “I do not want to sell the house anymore. If you want you can just sue us.” After that statement, she graciously turned her body and left. All this kind of happened within a split of a second and all of us were dumbfounded, even Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kumar’s agent. Yes, really dumbfounded.
Everyone took some moments to realise that this is really not a dream or rather a nightmare. It is real. Jeffrey went in to inform the HDB officer that something unexpected cropped up and they need some time for a discussion. What Mr. Peter Kumar told them subsequently really shocked them. All along, Mrs. Peter Kumar was the one who suggested selling the house and she was also the one who search for a realtor to help them with the sale. Mr. Peter Kumar thinking that they were going to upgrade to a condominium, readily agreed to go ahead with the sale. Things took a turn for Mr. Peter Kumar after the Option to Purchase was issued for their house. Mrs. Peter Kumar suddenly said she wanted a divorce. Not only that, she wanted to keep all the cash earnings from the sale of their house and she even wanted Mr. Peter Kumar to give all his CPF spent inside the house, to her. If he did not agree to the terms, then she will not sign on the papers during the HDB Appointment. Mr. Peter Kumar worked in a job that cannot afford to receive any legal suits against him. If he receives any legal suits against him, then his career advancements are considered gone. Mrs. Peter Kumar knew this very well and fully capitalised on it. She knew that if she doesn’t sign on the papers, then Mr. Pan will have to take legal actions against them.
Everyone really could not believe their ears when they heard this. This was just like a scene from a Korean drama serial! Mrs. Peter Kumar should be awarded the Best Leading Actress Award for her role in this drama! She kept everyone under hoods and she acted so well in front of Mr. Pan and his family, in front of Jeffrey and Elaine, in front of her agent and most importantly, even the man who sleeps beside her every night did not sense anything amiss. This plot was hatched right from the point she started to search for an agent to help them with the sale. After talking for almost an hour and after countless failed attempts of trying to reach Mrs. Peter Kumar using Mr. Peter Kumar’s phone, Jeffrey had no choice but to walk in to share the scenario with the HDB officer. And yes, the HDB officer’s jaw dropped. The HDB officer was very kind not to throw out the deal immediately and agreed to give them some time to see if they could resolve this drama. Seeing no point in staying in HDB Hub any longer, everyone proceeded home to have some rest. It was really a very stressful morning.
What needed to happen next was what everyone dreads and that is mediation. A meditation session was setup and the attendees were none other than Jeremy, Mr. Pan, Jeffrey, Elaine, and Mr. Peter Kumar. Mr. Peter Kumar’s agent doesn’t even want to appear for the mediation and declared that she is out of the whole saga. The mediation was a very tense session. Not because the attendees were exerting stress on one another, but because the figures calculated on the paper made the situation very stressful. As Mr. Pan’s case was an Enhanced Contra case, this saga will not just involve Mr. Pan and Mr. Peter Kumar. Jeremy was also affected. If Mr. Pan could not complete the sale of the house with Jeremy, then Jeremy would also have no choice but to take legal actions against Mr. Pan to seek for compensation. And Mr. Pan would have to sue Mr. Peter Kumar for compensation, at the same time loading the damages incurred with Jeremy. When they did a rough calculation, the figure was a whopping six-figure sum. At this moment in time, Mr. Peter Kumar broke down. This was the first time Jeffrey and Elaine saw a grown man crying in front of them in a real estate transaction and this really broke their hearts. But putting emotions aside, Jeffrey and Elaine will have to keep Mr. Pan’s interests in mind in order to protect him in this mediation.
After hours of mediation, a sum of compensation was finally agreed between all parties and all parties will drop the case and move on. When all was settled and Jeffrey and Elaine have fulfilled their due diligence towards protecting Mr. Pan’s interests, they figured it was time to put down their role as a realtor and give Mr. Peter Kumar a hand as a friend. They saw Mr. Peter Kumar leaning against his car lighting up a cigarette and that faintly lit up his tear-dried face. They walked over to have a talk with him and Jeffrey volunteered to help to talk to Mrs. Peter Kumar and requested for her phone number. The first call to Mrs. Peter Kumar was easy as it was a totally new number to her. After being slammed down on the phone by Mrs. Peter Kumar with barely ten seconds of conversations, subsequently attempts to reach her was akin to attempting to put out the fire in Mount Merapi volcano - impossible. With phone calls being an impossible option, Jeffrey had no choice but to wait for her near her workplace during lunch times. Finally, his efforts did not go to waste and he saw Mrs. Peter Kumar. They managed to have a long talk, one that lasted longer than her lunch hours. Cutting the Long story short, in the end, Jeffrey finally managed to persuade Mrs. Peter Kumar to reduce her request by quite a substantial amount. With this piece of news, Jeffrey and Elaine went back to Mr. Peter Kumar and he agreed to the terms. Moving forward, Jeffrey and Elaine quickly informed the HDB officer and another date was being scheduled for the HDB Appointment. During the completion, the HDB officer said one statement to Jeffrey and Elaine which they will never forget, and that was, “Both of you really very poor thing.”
Ultimately, the transaction managed to go through smoothly but with all these sagas happening, timeline was still a little tight for Mr. Pan’s renovation plans. Although there were slight inconveniences for Mr. Pan’s family, such as shifting into the new house while the renovation contractors were still doing touch ups to their house, at least they still managed to transform that house into a place that they can finally call home. During their house warming, they invited Jeffrey and Elaine and yes, they invited Mr. Peter Kumar too! Looking back, this really seemed like a Korean drama but thankfully all parties could move on with their plans.
Designed by drobotdean / Freepik
(1) Enhanced Contra Facility (ECF) ~ one can sell their existing HDB flat and at the same time, buy another resale HDB flat using the sale proceeds and refunded CPF monies. The completion date of both the sale and the purchase will be on the same day.