The lady who delved deep into the soul of property is living proof that you can make a difference when you stand up for your beliefs.
Vina Ip, the alter ego of Property Soul, has broken many stereotypes. In 2002, when she bought her first property in Singapore, little did she know that it would plant the seed of her passion for all things property so much so that she took to the blog to express her heartfelt opinions. Her refreshing candour and acute observations resonated greatly with many which catapulted her blog, Property Soul, into inarguably the top property investor blog in Singapore. This gutsy lady followed that up with a no-holdsbarred guide to investing in the republic. Aptly entitled “No B.S. Guide to Property Investment”, it quickly shot up to the bestseller charts in Singapore by exposing the real goings-on in the industry.
Asian Property Review caught up with her in an exclusive interview:
APR: You have brought a fresh perspective to property investment in Singapore. How did this come about?
VI: I am a property enthusiast from young. I have always enjoyed flat or house viewing in my spare time. The more I learn, the more I became interested in property investing. And the more I know, the more I realise that I don’t know. That gives me the drive to dig deeper into the subject to learn the ins and outs of it.
VI: When I first started buying properties in the early 2000s, the economy was in the doldrums and there was a lack of public interest and media coverage of property investing. It was difficult to find any good and updated books about real estate investing. When the property market recovered however, there were more publications on the subject.
VI: Burning passion, hard work, persistence, patience and the ability to take timely actions.
VI: There are many experienced investors and analysts in the industry. However, we have to look at their background and listen to their comments with a pinch of salt. Many with vested interests are eager to reveal their ‘investment secret’ to the media in order to make use of the latter to gain free publicity. The truth is that no savvy investor will share with others what they are buying right now. On the other hand, a lot of socalled property experts make more money from organising seminars than investing in properties.
VI: Property Club Singapore is a neutral platform to provide learning and networking opportunities for buyers, investors and owners of private properties. We organise talks and workshops on topics of common interest for like-minded people.
We are an unbiased club with no vested interest in any propertyrelated industry. We do not source, market, or mark-up and resell Singapore or overseas properties to members. Instead, the club promotes ‘save and invest’, due diligence, market timing and value investing.
VI: I am not buying overseas properties now due to all the risks and uncertainties in foreign markets. I will only buy overseas if the return is much higher than what I can get at home.
APR: We regularly read of foreign HNWIs (High Net Worth Individuals) buying expensive properties in Singapore. In your opinion, how will this impact property prices in Singapore?
VI: I think the snapping up of Singapore’s precious land and residential properties by rich foreigners is more psychological than real. The imposition of Additional Buyer Stamp Duty for foreign buyers is one of the measures that has worked to keep purchases of private residential properties by foreigners to well below 10% of the total number of units sold.
APR: Your book, “No B.S. Guide to Property Investment” – purports to reveal “dirty truths and profitable secrets to building wealth”. Give some examples.
VI: Beware of the tricks in new property launches. Avoid buying on impulse at showflats. Get-richquick programmes are never as straight-forward as they sound.