** 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. **
Jeffrey and Elaine were selling a condominium in Park Green and conducted viewings for many groups of buyers. Finally, one day, a buyer by the name of Simon How stepped in. Simon placed a cheque for a very attractive offer for the property and the deal was sealed without much hassles as both the seller and the buyers were very sincere. The transactions did not stop there though. Simon owned a HDB flat in Tampines with his wife and the plan was to sell their flat to his sister. Simon engaged the services of Jeffrey and Elaine to effectuate that. Once that was done, the transactions still didn’t stop there. Next was Simon’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. How, wanting to sell off their flat in Yishun to help their daughter with her house payments and to shift in to stay with her. So once again, Jeffrey and Elaine were tasked to sell off Mr. How’s flat in the quickest time possible.
Mr. and Mrs. How were wonderful folks and they strike up a conversation with anyone as easily as one could have imagined. Conversations with them were never boring as they were jovial and possess a very optimistic attitude in life. Seeing that they looked really healthy and way younger than their actual age, Jeffrey and Elaine believes that it must be due to their positive lifestyle, coupled with much joy and laughter. The elderly couple will often share with everyone, that the greatest achievements in their lives, was bringing Simon and his sister into this world. Simon and his sister were great kids to their parents too, often bringing them out for holidays and spending tons of time with them. Looking at this family, it was almost perfect and nothing could really go wrong anymore. Or could it?
Mr. and Mrs. How’s house was in a location that wasn’t top notch in Yishun and this resulted in the sale taking longer than what Jeffrey and Elaine had hoped for. Being the nice folks that they already are, Mr. and Mrs. How, did not exert any pressure at all and often praised Jeffrey and Elaine for the amount of efforts that they have placed in selling the house. After a period of 2 months, finally Jeffrey and Elaine’s efforts paid off and a buyer came in and offer for the house. After some negotiations, the deal was inked and sealed. The buyer was a property agent himself and that made the process a little easier.
After all the necessary steps such as valuation and exercising of the Option to Purchase were done, both the selling and buying parties submitted the transaction to HDB and a HDB First Appointment Date was firmed up. So, everything was in good progress and everyone just needed to wait for the HDB First Appointment. It was Jeffrey and Elaine’s working style to remind the all the parties on what are all the documents to prepare and bring as the date draws nearer and a final reminder will be given one prior to the First Appointment day. This case was no exception and Elaine sent a final reminder to Mr. and Mrs. How just a day before. Mrs. How replied almost immediately saying that everything has already been prepared and they cannot wait to see Jeffrey and Elaine the next day. Jeffrey and Elaine were elated to see that message and they also replied that they cannot wait to see the elderly couple the next day. But little did they know, that they will be seeing Mr. and Mrs. How, much earlier than they expected........
Jeffrey and Elaine are not early sleepers but usually the day before an early HDB appointment, they will make it a point to retire earlier. That night, shortly after the lights are off, Jeffrey’s phone rang. The caller display showed Simon How and Jeffrey knew that it could never be good news. Over the phone, Simon told Jeffrey that his mum had fainted and was admitted to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. 30 mins later, Jeffrey and Elaine also arrived at Khoo Teck Puat hospital. To their surprise, they got to know from Simon, that Mrs. How had a medical condition and she was advised to cut down on her sugar. Mrs. How had always looked radiant and healthy so this really came as a shocker. Over the course of time, Mrs. How had overdone on cutting of sugar intake and she fainted because her body suffered a lack of sugar.
Looking at his watch which was showing 1.15am, Jeffrey knew that the HDB appointment in the morning definitely could not go on and he was thinking on when is the best time to inform the buyer and also the HDB officer. When Jeffrey and Elaine were finally allowed to see Mrs. How as she had regained consciousness, Jeffrey greeted Mrs. How softly with a smile but Mrs. How did not reply at all. She just looked at Jeffrey and Elaine with a very blank expression. After consoling Mr. How and asking him not to worry about the HDB appointment, Jeffrey and Elaine headed home. The whole night, Jeffrey and Elaine couldn’t sleep as they knew that even though they asked Mr. How not to worry, things may not turn out to be so simple after all. The buyer being a property agent himself, will know fully what are his legal rights. Even though it was a situation that Mr. How would not have wished for and it was also out of his control, that couldn’t stop the buyer from incurring financial damages. As the buyer had taken a bank loan and engaged a private solicitor for the HDB conveyancing, the buyer will be liable to pay the bank, loan cancellation charges and the legal cancellation charges. This could amount to be quite a sum of money. And the buyer can subsequently choose to sue Mr. and Mrs. How for this financial loss.
The moment the sun rays started to shine, Jeffrey immediately called the buyer and the buyer couldn’t believe what he heard. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect to hear that the HDB appointment cannot happen on the actual day itself. Nevertheless, everyone still agreed to meet at HDB Hub at the appointed time. Jeffrey spent a lot of time, explaining the situation to the buyer and the HDB officer. Thankfully, everyone was compassionate towards Mr. and Mrs. How, and agreed to postpone the HDB First Appointment and HDB officer will arrange another date for them. Heaving a sigh of relief, Jeffrey and Elaine walked out of the HDB officer’s cubicle and Jeffrey’s phone rang. The caller display showed Mr. How. 45 minutes later, Jeffrey and Elaine were back in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. True to what Mr. How had told Jeffrey over the phone, Mrs. How could not recognise anyone including Mr. How. Mrs. How also cannot remember that she was selling a house. This was bad. Really bad. If Mrs. How cannot regain her memory, then the HDB sale will have a problem. Jeffrey and Elaine really didn’t know how to spill the news to the buyer.
No matter how reluctant it was, Jeffrey knew he had to call the buyer to announce the bad news. And this time round, the buyer didn’t appear as compassionate as before. Jeffrey had to spend much efforts before he managed to pacify the buyer to give them some time to think of a solution. Meanwhile, it was just daily prayers after prayers, praying that Mrs. How will regain her memory soonest. Jeffrey and Elaine visited Mrs. How at the hospital every other day but they always left the hospital sad and disappointed. Sad not because the deal cannot go on but because they have never seen Mr. How so sad before. Thinking back, Mr. and Mrs. How were always full of smiles and laughter and the conversations would just go on and on. But now, Mr. How seldom smile and Mrs. How would just give a blank look.
After some time, Mrs. How was finally allowed to be discharged to rest at home. That brought some happiness to Mr. How. In just a matter of weeks, he had aged terribly and all the back and forth between their home and the hospital had also taken a toll on him. But no matter how tired he was, he would never miss spending a single day with Mrs. How. In the meantime, the buyer was also getting impatient and did not want to wait anymore. If the case is cancelled, he will also want to sue Mr. and Mrs. How for compensatory damages. Jeffrey and Elaine came out with a solution to discuss with the buyer and after much blandishments, the buyer nodded his head. Before the meeting with the buyer ended, Jeffrey’s phone rang. The caller display showed Mr. How. Jeffrey really did not know what to expect from answering the call.
Moments after Jeffrey picked up the phone, Elaine saw his face gleamed with happiness! After Jeffrey hung up, he told Elaine that Mrs. How finally recognised everyone and she also remembered that she was in the midst of selling the house. That was really one piece of news that everyone was praying for. Happiness did not cloud the minds of Jeffrey and Elaine totally and they knew that they had to take certain actions to protect Mr. and Mrs. How. After discussing with Mr. How and Simon, Elaine arranged to for a lawyer to out-call to Mr. and Mrs. How’s place. After some assessment, the lawyer was comfortable to assess that Mrs. How was in a clear state of mind and they proceed to do a Power of Attorney, just in case if Mrs. How loses her memory again.
Things started to progress smoothly again. With Mrs. How getting better by the day, it was also time to make plans to compensate the buyer for all the time that he has spent waiting. So, Jeffrey and Elaine worked out a timeline for everyone and Mr. and Mrs. How will shift out of the house earlier to move in with their daughter. As the house was still under Mr. and Mrs. How, they signed the renovation indemnity letter for the buyer so that the buyer’s renovation contractor could start work even before the completion of the HDB transaction. This move helped the buyer to save close to 2 months of time and that brought a smile to the buyer’s face.
In the end, Mrs. How managed to attend all the HDB appointments herself and the transaction was completed without any further glitches. Jeffrey and Elaine could once again see the bright smiles beaming on Mr. and Mrs. How’s faces. This was really one case where the handshakes between the sellers, buyers, HDB officer, Jeffrey and Elaine, were really so precious and priceless.
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