It sounded like a win-win solution for buyers and sellers when two companies – Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) and Baize Technology – began offering free price evaluations for HDB flats last week.
Their initiative follows a recent tweak in HDB’s rules to reduce the focus on the cash over valuation, which was blamed for rocketing prices in the resale market in recent years.
But this could leave resale flat buyers and sellers in a bind.
Under HDB’s new rule, the buyer is allowed to obtain a valuation report only after a price is agreed. The problem is, he may realise later that he cannot afford the flat.
The seller, too, may fear pricing the flat too low.
Enter SRX and Baize Technology.
While they emphasise that they are not providing an official valuation, the companies hope that their information would help with the negotiation process.
Buyers and sellers could otherwise have to rely on the HDB website, which recently tried to provide more timely information by uploading transactions as soon as they are registered, daily instead of fortnightly.
But these companies, which usually provide price analysis reports to property agents, claim that they have something more sophisticated – a computer-generated analysis of the value of a flat.
I was curious to find out how their price analysis would compare with one another and with the HDB website. But I soon became more confused than enlightened.
Using their websites was simple enough.
All I had to do was type in an address, including specific details like unit number, and the value of the property would be presented.
For a five-room flat in Bishan, the prices provided by SRX and Baize Technology differed vastly – almost $200,000.