United Overseas Bank (UOB) and SoReal Prop Pte Ltd (SoReal), a property technology firm, have launched Singapore’s first all-in-one commercial property solution to feature an instant valuation service that is recognized by a bank.
The solution, known as RealCommercial, makes it faster and easier for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners to buy their ideal office, warehouse or retail space – from searching for and valuing the property to obtaining a bank loan. In 2018, there were more than S$8 billion (US$5.82 billion) worth of transactions in Singapore’s commercial property market.
According to a survey by UOB, one in two SMEs plans to invest in fixed assets including buildings and factory premises. After finding a suitable property, SMEs need to obtain a reliable valuation for their loan application – a process which currently takes up to seven days within the industry, thus extending the time required to complete the purchase.
However, UOB’s digital valuation service provides SMEs with a bank-backed valuation in under a minute, enabling business owners to fast track the buying process by proceeding with their loan application straightaway.
In addition to instant valuation, SME owners can immediately see the loan quantum for which they qualify based on their average monthly cash flow or affordability. The SME owner then uses their CorpPass to log into MyInfo Business, integrated within the solution, and the online application form will be automatically filled in with their company details.
Mervyn Koh, country head of Business Banking Singapore, UOB, says, “From our experience in helping SMEs purchase their ideal commercial property, we know they want certainty and speed in the process. This means not having mismatched expectations in the property’s valuation or the loan quantum, both of which could lead to the SME not being able to secure their desired property. To help SMEs with their purchase quickly and conveniently, we worked with SoReal to bring together the various partners in the commercial property ecosystem to streamline the commercial property buying process.”
The launch of RealCommercial builds on the bank’s efforts to help property agencies transform their business models and processes via digital solutions and also supports the real estate industry’s transformation under the Industry Transformation Map. The bank launched the first fully digital loan solution for homebuyers in August last year, reducing the time needed to apply for home loans from an average of 2.5 days to 15 minutes.
The service will also help property agents to provide faster turnaround and better customer experience as they serve SME buyers. SoReal supports more than 200 property agencies, including the four biggest agencies in Singapore – ERA, Huttons Asia, OrangeTee & Tie and PropNex – which represent 72 percent of all agents.
Thomas Tan, president of Singapore Estate Agents Association, says, “In today’s digitally-connected world, there is increasing expectation for services to be provided on demand. As such, the real estate industry must also innovate to ensure that we have the right business models and processes to meet customer expectations. The launch of RealCommercial equips property agents with digital tools that are essential to providing their SME buyers a more efficient and customer-centric experience.”