That Compelling Overseas Call

by Steve Van Derodar

The year 2005 was memorable for me in terms of a major surprise. I was traveling to Singapore twice on different occasions. One, in August for soul-searching, a way to treat myself of gallivanting nature, which got extended. From the initial two weeks to a month more by exiting to Malaysia every two weeks in Johor Bahru.

The second one, around October. As an MTV Equitable Bank credit cardholder, I was one of the winners for a promo. This time, it is an all-expense-paid which I could not refuse, especially flying out via PAL, plus hotel accommodations, tours, and dining out. We also had the opportunity to tour the MTV studio and met with MTV Asia Channel VJs including Utt Panichkul; explored Sentosa Resort and City Tours as part of the perks. What a stroke of luck! As if my prior trip was not enough, I seem to believe that Singapore is suggesting at me to feel more at home, as if inviting to become a local.

In all of the time that I was there on both occasions and because of my being away for a long time, my colleagues in real estate thought that I may have left the country for good and was lured by the excitement of living abroad. Truth be told, I do not deny deep within that I was open to some possibilities. I enjoyed the walks around famous landmarks and the city center, the vibe, food, and its connectivity to the rest of Southeast Asia. I did like the Chinese, Indian, Dutch, and Malay influences and I was already slowly able to build connections.

On an unusual but joyous news, I was surprised to receive a call from my team manager that my buyer had signed a reservation contract and have paid their down payment. He was also wondering about my plans and was asking if I would be staying much longer there. He said, ”Be sure to come back soon, as all checks have been submitted including the lump sum for the balance.”

That transaction was almost Php 10 million and there is no way I will not follow through the process. Jokingly, I would tell myself that that sale was compelling enough to resign myself from my inner thoughts about entertaining the idea of considering looking for long-term opportunities in Singapore. I was young and easily attracted to something new. In all seriousness, I would be personally ill at ease if I do not service my client well especially, the turn-over and the after-sales. As soon as I got back, I reconnected with the buyer with their further concerns post-sales.

In project selling, the process of buying is detailed by a series of paperwork. Buyers must sign a Reservation Agreement with a reservation fee and a down payment (DP) after a month with a payment schedule for the said purchase. This means a buyer should commit to a term of purchase or pay term and then followed by a Contract To Sell or commonly known as CTS. The documents have then to be authenticated if buyers are based abroad to the nearest Philippine Consular office. However, if they are in the Philippines during their signing of the contract, they must show their passport stamp indicating the presence in the country when complying with the documents or the notary. IDs, TIN numbers are needed and sometimes proof of foreign address is required upon purchase agreement. A Special Power of Attorney is needed only if somebody represents the buyer on his behalf for usually punch-listings or inspection and for processing bank loans. The bank loan requires a separate set of processes.

As soon as the unit is ready and have the balance paid, though some developments allow move-in right after 30% is paid plus post-dated checks or when bank guarantee is received, keys are then given to the new tenant. Different developers would have varying turn-over parameters but RFO or ready for occupancy units are based on completion of all documents, DP and lumpsum balance, and bank loan. Move-in is just the most exciting part of the sale!

The Lion City remains a personal favorite destination for me when traveling in Southeast Asia where I frequent in the past few years and usually, is excellent with connecting flight choices for major destinations to Europe and the Middle East. I am always reminded of that compelling call every time I think of ‘Singapura’.

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