US consumer prices increase more than expected in November

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U.S. consumer prices rose more than expected in November, which could further support the Federal Reserve’s intention not to cut interest rates again in the near term after reducing borrowing costs three times this year.

Getting SME loans – 10 common mistakes applicants make

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Author: Ravi Philemon

There are several common mistakes which can hinder the chances of getting SME loans.

By: Hitesh Khan/

And these are 10 of the most common mistakes people make when getting SME loans:

  1. Not knowing your credit rating. Before you apply for a loan, you need to know where you stand. Get copies of your credit score from credit bureau so you will know if you’re likely to get the loan approved.
  2. Not reading the terms carefully before signing. In your haste to get a loan, you may commit the common mistake of jumping the gun and signing without reading the details and terms of the loan. Not only should you take the time to read everything very carefully, but you should also ask questions about anything you do not fully understand.
  3. Not locking in a rate. Interest rates change. If you think you’ve found a good rate, lock it in before it goes up. Too often, people make the mistake of getting greedy and waiting for interest rates to drop farther.
  4. Not explaining what the loan is for. When applying for a business loan, you need to indicate how the money will be used. Lenders want to see that you know exactly what your needs are and how this loan will meet those needs.
  5. Making major changes. Just as you do not want to open and close various credit cards before applying for a personal loan, you do not want to make significant personnel or other changes to your ongoing business structure before applying for a business loan. Lenders want to be able to see stability in how you do business and with whom.
  6. Applying only to the most convenient lender. Although there are various lenders available, many people still head to their familiar bank first without shopping around. Credit cooperatives and other sources are worth investigating. For example, if you are a small business owner, you should consider how the different Government-backed loan programs can benefit your business.All Government programmes for small business loans require a good business plan (showing good cash flow) and good credit history. Government programmes may provide assistance when a borrower’s collateral may not meet conventional lending standards and may helps overcome some financing challenges, but not bad credit.The Government may guarantee a portion of the loan which include funds for the purchase of existing land and buildings (owner-occupied), expand or modernise facilities, purchase machinery, equipment, leasehold improvements or inventory, and finance increased receivables and augment working capital.
  7. Not having your finances up-to-date.

    When getting SME loans, you should not apply for funds without having the proper financial documentation.

    This is an area where many people put the cart before the horse, and try to get a loan without making sure their financials are up-to-date.

  8. Failing to have some equity in the project. Not unlike a down payment when buying a home, having some equity in a business project significantly enhances your chances of securing a business loan. If you are not invested in the project, or in the business itself, the lender will be less enthusiastic about taking on such a risk.
  9. Having no collateral. When getting SME loans, you need to provide some collateral, should there be a default in payment.
  10. Not having a business plan. If you’re starting a business, you need to demonstrate how the business will operate and make money. A business plan is essential for a lender to see your goals and specifically, how you intend to reach them. You must include all applicable supporting data, including financials.

    getting sme loansThere are numerous loans programs to assist entrepreneurs with starting, managing and growing their businesses. Thousands of businessmen are turning to such resources because financing remains a formidable challenge. When getting SME loans you must not be disheartened if a lender refuses them loan.

    Many small business owners use loans to help rapidly growing businesses, or to help fund change in ownerships for businesses. When getting SME loans, be mindful that the benefits include of taking loans when your business is successful includes increased cash flow, and flexible repayment options (such as monthly installments of principal and interest and no balloon payments).

    When getting SME loans, it is prudent to work with an experienced loan specialist who understands the ins and outs of the agency and small business financing. All business owners – whether their businesses are large or small, well-capitalized or operating on a shoestring ‑ should develop a working relationship with their primary lender for obtaining business loan.

    However, remember that the lender’s first responsibility is the financial health and profitability of the lending institution, just as your first responsibility is to your business. You would not jeopardize your business to save the lender, so don’t expect the lender to jeopardize the lending institution to save your business.

    In obtaining business loan be mindful that your expectation should be that the only way the relationship will continue is if the relationship is in the best interest of both parties. Obtaining business loan is important because capital outlay is a requirement of almost every business regardless of whether it is a start-up or an on-going business. When applying for a loan for capital outlay be prepared to present all aspects of your request so the lender can make an informed and accurate decision. Put in writing what you want to do. This may involve preparing a business plan.

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Bank finance is what businesses need to succeed in tough environment

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Author: Ravi Philemon

A bank finance is the primary financing vehicle, other than the owner’s savings, for small businesses. Banks like to use hard assets, such as buildings, motor vehicles, or equipment, as collateral against loans.

By: Hitesh Khan/

Bank finance, being the primary financing vehicle, will loan against receivables and inventory, but, especially in the case of smaller businesses, tend to heavily discount the protection these assets offer. They are afraid the inventory and receivables will be converted into cash to cover operating losses if the business experiences any financial difficulties.

While banks like the ultimate protection of hard assets, they also want to feel that there is little chance that the business, or the bank, will have to call upon these assets to pay off the loan.

bank finance

How to get the best bank finance for SMEs?

Banks Don’t Care Whether Your Business Has Sky-High Profit Potential

Bank finance is the primary financing vehicle, other than the owner’s savings, for small businesses.

Banks like to use hard assets, such as buildings, motor vehicles, or equipment, as collateral against loans. They will loan against receivables and inventory, but, especially in the case of smaller businesses, tend to heavily discount the protection these assets offer. They are afraid the inventory and receivables will be converted into cash to cover operating losses if the business experiences any financial difficulties.

While banks like the ultimate protection of hard assets, they also want to feel that there is little chance that the business, or the bank, will have to call upon these assets to pay off the loan.

Banks being primary financing vehicle, don’t care whether your business has sky-high profit potential

Banks are only interested in the business’s ability to cover the principal and interest payments, not whether you will someday make huge profits.

In making a proposal for a loan, the bank will want to see all of your recent tax returns, financial statements, and cash flow projections. They will also want to know how much you would like to borrow. If yours is a small business, they will expect you to conduct all of your business banking activities through its institution.

Banks are reluctant to loan to businesses that cannot show at least two years of profitable operation. They want to see that the owner of the business is heavily invested in the enterprise. Typically, they won’t make loans in amounts that exceed 50 percent of the firm’s capitalization.

Many bankers feel that they are extending a loan not only to the small business, but to the owner-operator as well. Being primary financing vehicle, banks will feel more comfortable loaning business funds to someone with community ties, someone who has experience related to the business he or she is conducting, and someone who has made a complete and total commitment to that business.

Small business loan criteria seldom vary greatly from one bank to another. It can even vary from one loan officer to another. If you have been turned down by nine out of ten banks, then go ahead and try the tenth. While all banks and loan officers consider the same factors when weighing a loan request, they will place different emphasis on those factors. Some bankers place great store in hard asset collateral, some in the profitability or continuity of the business, and yet others will go with their impression of the owner as the deciding factor.

Takeaways you can use

  • Banks, being primary financing vehicle, want to see an owner heavily invested in the enterprise.
  • Loan criteria vary greatly from bank to bank, so don’t give up!
  • Banks are usually evaluating the business owner as much as the business.

If like most entrepreneurs, you’re ecstatic and happily agree to sign the papers to close the deal and get the cheque after the phone call from the bank, it’s time to put the brakes on you enthusiasm for a moment.

It is good to understand the legal jargon in that stack of papers you will have to sign before the small business loan is disbursed. A close look at those documents now could save you a lot of headaches later. Be mindful that your bargaining power over your small business loan vanishes completely after you’ve signed the documents.

The small business loan documents could be a bit overwhelming, but with the help of a lawyer of an independent loan specialist, you can get a full understanding of what the legalese means. In fact, many independent loan specialist encourage loan applicants to understand the loan documents before they even complete a formal application for a loan.

Bank finance is the lifelines for all types of business expansions. Getting financial credits long before you need money for business start-up or expansion is important because it’s hard to quickly get large loans when you need some.

Despite the fact that banks are highly vocal about their woes of people going bankrupt and not paying them back, banks are more aggressive than ever regarding giving people personal loans and lines of credit. The thing that you want to do is to begin to build these lines of credit long before you have a business opportunity in your lap.

The fact is that unless you already have excellent credit and accounts open, it’s hard to quickly get some large loans. The best kind of loans that you will want are personal unsecured loans. Your credit cards are personal unsecured loans. You can march down to your bank and get a cash advance against them.

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Finding finance in tough times is difficult, but not impossible

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Finding finance for starting a business, especially in these difficult economic times, is tough but need not be impossible.

By: Hitesh Khan/

finding finance

Image credit: YouTube

The process of finding finance for starting a business, or financing a business, will serve to make sure that your business idea is a good one. If you can get financing that means that somebody has confidence that you will succeed and is betting money that you will.

Generally, the higher cost your business startup, the faster you should see a return on your investment. Take into account interest expense when calculating your return.

There are also low cost businesses with a great deal of potential. The person who can start his own business with very little money and perhaps no outside financing will usually invest “sweat equity” into the business instead of financial equity. This means that a low cost business may take longer to produce results. In the long run, however, if it has enough potential, it may be the right business for those that have few financial assets.

How to Get Money for Starting a Business–Start with Your Money First

Finding finance for starting a business is one of the thorniest parts of starting a business.

The first key is to save money so that you can put your own personal savings into the business. Nobody is going to want to invest in your business if you do not invest in your business yourself.

It is difficult enough to get a loan with a business startup and next to impossible if you don’t invest in your own business. When finding finance, remember that lenders want a track record and you may have none. Live frugally and save money so you can show potential lenders that you are committed to your business.

The Importance of the Business Plan
Before finding finance from outside sources for starting a business, make sure you have completed the entire business plan. The business plan template is your road map. It will tell you how much money you need, when you will need it, and when you expect to pay it back. Potential lenders will want that information and you should want it also. You should always prepare a business plan before asking anybody for money.

Understanding the Language of Business Financing
There are several business terms you should understand in order to make good decisions on getting money for starting a business:

A credit score is a numerical expression based on a statistical analysis of a person’s credit files, to represent the creditworthiness of that person. A credit score is primarily based on credit report information, typically sourced from credit bureaus.

Lenders, such as banks and credit card companies, use credit scores to evaluate the potential risk posed by lending money to consumers and to mitigate losses due to bad debt. Lenders use credit scores to determine who qualifies for a loan, at what interest rate, and what credit limits. The use of credit or identity scoring prior to authorizing access or granting credit is an implementation of a trusted system.

A secured loan is a loan in which the borrower pledges some asset (e.g. a property, jewellery) as collateral for the loan, which then becomes a secured debt owed to the creditor who gives the loan. The debt is thus secured against the collateral. In the event that the borrower defaults the creditor takes possession of the asset used as collateral and may sell it to satisfy the debt by regaining the amount originally lent to the borrower.

Unsecured loans are monetary loans that are not secured against the borrower’s assets.

Collateral means a security or guarantee (usually an asset) pledged for the repayment of a loan if one cannot procure enough funds to repay. The amount of collateral determines how much lenders will lend.

Personal guarantee is a promise made by an entrepreneur to repay the company debts in the event of default by the business. If the business doesn’t have enough assets to pay the debts, the owner has to pay out of his personal assets. A personal guarantee tells the bank that the business owner is serious about his business and about repaying his debts. When the owner is unable to cover the debts personally, the bank will start to seize personal assets. In a startup situation it is virtually impossible to borrow money from a bank and not give the bank a personal guarantee.

If you are finding finance for a small business loan, loan consultants can set you up on a path that can get you a it in a quick and seamless manner. Loan consultants have close links with the best lenders in town and can help you compare various loans and settle for a package that best suits your needs. You should also find out about money saving tips.

You should also use Affordability Tools to help you make better property buying decisions. Mortgage Calculators cam help you ascertain the fair value of a property and find properties below market value in Singapore. You should also find out more about Peer to peer lending versus that of SME loans so as to make an informed decision: SME Loans or Peer-to-peer (P2P) Lending – What is the difference?

Do you have the best advice to secure a new SME loans? How about  home loan or refinancing advice? Do you have  trusted hand to help you?

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Smartest property portal tag affirmed for

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Author: Ravi Philemon signs on Century 21, affirming its position as Singapore’s Smartest Property Portal. Ad-free property portal- boasts over 260,000 search keywords and more than 70,000,000 geodata points, which includes nearby amenities and facilities, allowing agents to list with greater ease and transparency.

Proptech startup-, has signed an MOU for partnership with Century 21 Singapore Holdings (Century 21 Pte Ltd).

smartest property portal

Singapore’s smartest property portal

Already creating buzz in the property market since their launch in November last year, “Singapore’s Smartest Property Portal”,, has been pushing the boundaries of the property market by evangelising their proprietary keyword search and geospatial data technology to the agent landscape in Singapore.

Already garnering much support from new generation home seekers in Singapore with a user traffic of over 110,000 users (monthly), has always had their focus on helping the agent demographics; helping to streamline the listing process and verifying the geospatial data, this Geo Tech start up based at GeoWorks (a geospatial community incubator subsidised by Singapore Land Authority) is hoping to ease up the agent pain points for property listings and matches.

CEO of Century 21 Pte Ltd, Mr Reeve Ho said, “We have been observing for a while now and having consulted my management team, we did our homework and found them to be different. I am excited to be on board with” Mr Ho continues, “After months of meetings, discussions and testing the platform, I found to be very receptive to our requirements and they are very forward thinking. Coupled with their intuitiveness towards understanding the new generation of homebuyers searching for their dream homes as they would search for things by entering keywords on Google. The auto population of the verified geospatial data is a very much welcomed feature especially for the busy agent demographic on top of their Ad-Free policy.”

Utilising their knowledge in geospatial data technology,’s platform is able to help agents list all their property’s surrounding amenities just with an input of a postal code. Verified by over 40 government agencies, this means agents have lesser fields to fill and enjoy truly verified data in their listing’s surroundings. Coupled with the systems AI that will learn the users search habits and needs and wants according to their lifestyle needs and past search parameters, the platform can help match home seekers and their property with the agents listing at a granular level.

Singapore’s smartest property portal matching system perpetuates relevance. There is no ad-boosting in the smartest property portal like other portals, because its main focus is to match people with homes having features they are searching for, not which agent paid the most to put their listing up on top of the homebuyers search result.

Gerald Sim, CEO and Co-Founder of expressed: “Since the initial inception, we have been working meticulously to make our portal the game changer in the Real Estate arena. The challenge was to educate people to move away from their traditional search habits, ad boosting and focus instead to integrate all these data from OneMap, satellite imagery and our 70 million geodata points into a transparent property ecosystem. That will make their work easier and more productive”.

Mr Ho continues to share: “We knew with this game changer (, our agents would be able to extensively tap on geospatial data technology, which directly allows seamless searches to be done with key indices. It is always refreshing to onboard our agents onto a new platform.’s portal features is innovative and their vision of creating a transparent property landscape aligns with our groups vision as well.”

The smartest property portal is currently available on web and mobile. Users can register on the platform using their Facebook and Google accounts for free unrestricted access. Agent’s are able to register using their CEA number and will get to enjoy one year complimentary usage for the basic tier (Tier 1).

Agent subscription tiers are priced at $365 (Tier 1) which is currently FREE to use and $500 (Tier 2) for a more comprehensive benefit.

Key features: (Homeseeker’s Benefits)

Search by lifestyle needs:

Type in the requirements according to your lifestyle needs. (eg. Gym nearby, Hospital nearby, High Floor, South Facing, parquet flooring, Girl School Nearby, etc). The search bar allows multiple keyword searches.

Smart Matching:

Homeseekers can now look for properties using custom keywords and receive in-built AI recommendations. Once their search criteria are saved, the AI continues to search for those parameters when the user is logged off and will alert them when a match is found.

Home-School distance mapping:

Parents who are planning to move close to their child’s choice primary school (benefit of Phase 2B & 2C) can now see exactly which zone their chosen home is, in relation to the distance of their child’s primary school so that they have priority on children placement in their choice primary school.

Favouritise, revisit and share:

Users can now sort their favourite selections into folders and share the folders out in customised groups to their spouse and family members.

Key features: (Agent Benefits)

Geospatial Tagging:

When a listing is created,’s AI tags agents listings from a pool of 260,000 geospatial keywords tagged to the postal code. (i.e. Boy School nearby, Orchard MRT, Church nearby, Shopping Centre Nearby etc)

All surrounding amenities and places will be auto populated into the listing and all entries and content are verified by 40+ government agencies.

Data Keyword unique to each property:’s listing interface allows agents to tag in data/keywords unique to their properties. (i.e. High Floor, Parquet Flooring, 4A, Jumbo, City View, Chandelier, island kitchen, newly renovated, South Facing, etc)

Intelligent Matching:

Upon user login and search, the system builds up the clients profile and understands the clients preferred location, emotion, pricing and other needs. The backend AI then forwards the matching agent’s property listing to them, informing them of the listing match and to contact the agent.

No Boosting Fees:

With intelligent matching (shown above), the boosting of listings (model) that is used in all other property portals does not work on Due to the way the matching on, agents will not be able to abuse the matching system just by paying more money to be put on the first page of the homeseeker’s search results.

Homeseeker’s will finally get relevant results to their needs and wants for that perfect dream home.


Started by a group of entrepreneurs in 2018, is a Singapore property search portal designed to reinvent the entire real estate journey for buyers, sellers and agents. uses Singapore’s OneMap, and is one of the pioneer start-ups housed at the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) recently – launched GeoWorks at Alexandra Road.

About Century 21

Century 21 is the largest real estate sales organization in the world. With its humble beginnings in United States of America, Century 21 has evolved into an integrated service provider for real estate services. Spanning across 81 countries, 8,800 offices and 122,000 professionals, Century 21 has primed itself as a market leader in the real estate industry and will continue to create borderless strategic alliances spanning across the entire Asian region.

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Home-grown proptech company introduces upskilling initiatives

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Augmenting a culture of innovation, home-grown proptech company Ohmyhome has introduced a series of upskilling initiatives for its team to excel in their current role and beyond. As part of the ongoing strategy of providing an end-to-end, one-stop solution for the customers, the initiatives of the home-grown proptech company will allow the team to become experts in their areas of expertise and continue being in the forefront of real estate.

Each of the initiatives is designed for ongoing talent development – conference sponsorship, knowledge-sharing meetings, in-house training, and career growth opportunities, and are essential for expanding the knowledge base of the team members.

Besides, the home-grown proptech company implements a mentoring scheme to accelerate knowledge transfer within the company, which has proven effective when team members well-versed in a new programming language actively coach other team members to master the language.

Intending to foster a strong culture of ongoing learning, the fast-growing, home-grown proptech company also offers its team members dynamic career paths and provides them with opportunities to helm leadership roles.

“A culture of continuous learning, curiosity and being involved in personal progress are core tenets integral to our company culture. We take great pride in being able to upskill our team members and watching their talents flourish. Only by growing their expertise can we as an organization continue to develop innovative ideas, and bring better solutions for our customers,” shared Rhonda Wong, CEO and co-founder of Ohmyhome.

A key component of upskilling at Ohmyhome, is its industry-leading training programme for its in-house real estate professionals. It not only equips them with essential skills for a smooth property transaction, but also digital skills that leverage on Ohmyhome’s cutting-edge technology to achieve the fastest sales speed at record-breaking prices. The programme is comprehensive and effective, covering financial calculations and timeline management, and teaches advanced insights like property market fundamentals, as well as the best practices for buying and selling a property.

For professionals looking to update their skill sets and knowledge, they can take advantage of the refresher courses offered by the company. Through the programme offered by the home-grown proptech company, professionals can boost their learning journey and are encouraged to continue providing excellent customer service for their clients.

Ohmyhome in August announced the introduction of four new services on its property tech platform. The services in property tech platform include home renovation, moving, painting and handyman.

home-grown proptech company

Image credit: OhMyHome

With the continuous goal of providing an end-to-end, one-stop solution for their customers, Ohmyhome decided to extend their service offering beyond just the buying and renting of properties, by identifying good service providers that can assist their customers in the renovation and move-in process.

Each partner that Ohmyhome works with is meticulously selected based on their reliability, professionalism, workmanship and customer service. They are also assessed across multiple areas such as track record, promptness of services and speed of execution, and have been tested by the Ohmyhome team.

“At Ohmyhome, we’re always looking at ways to improve our customer experience, and saw a growing need for home buyers to have easy access to services such as renovation and moving. At the same time, it was also essential that we only worked with partners that shared the same vision of providing good quality services to our customers,” said Nicholas Tan, Business Development Lead at Ohmyhome.

He adds, “Renovation and moving are the next steps, so it’s only natural that we incorporate them into our suite of services. Customers can count on us as we take care of the entire transaction process from search to deal-closing, conveyance and now renovation and moving in.”

Singaporeans to benefit from Ohmyhome’s all-in-one property tech platform

With the new services introduced to its ecosystem, Ohmyhome now has a total of ten property services on its platform including – DIY platform (free), agent services, conveyancing, mortgage advisory (free), home-staging, Feng Shui, renovation, painting, moving and handyman – to cement its status as the first, and only one-stop property solution.

Customers using the property tech platform can now enjoy the convenience of utilizing multiple services on a single app. Direct booking with Ohmyhome partners are also allowed on the app for the convenience of both the customer and the contractor.

“The whole of transaction process provided by the OhMyHome property tech platform, points to the signs of the times where property agents must upgrade to keep up or die”, said Mr Paul Ho, chief mortgage officer of iCompareLoan.

He noted that many property agencies struggle to keep up with all the regulatory changes in the industry, as well as the changing financial calculations for acquiring a property. He urged property agents to master the basics in property financing, refinancing, taxation and CPF.

Mr Ho said that runs a full 2 – 3 days course on how property agents can produce such reports for their customers. He added that the trademarked course teaches Property Agents how to generate complicated Financial calculations using –  Home Loan Report (TM) – in 3 mins flat. This helps Property agents to close deals faster and serve customers more professionally. helps agents and financial advisors stay ahead of the game in a highly competitive industry

The Home Loan Report tool is a Singapore’s first one-of-a-kind analysis platform that provides latest updates of detailed loan packages and helps property agents, financial advisors and mortgage brokers to analyse home loan packages for their clients and give unbiased home loan / commercial loan analysis for their property buyers and home owners.

As buyers of the future grow more discerning, agents cannot afford to just rely on their personality or their experience to attract clients. Buyers and sellers of the future will increasingly rely on agents to have knowledge on property finance calculations and this is where the Home Loan report comes in.

This trademarked tool is a one-stop solution that can help deliver a detailed home loan report to property agents in 3 minutes flat. This is especially helpful when agents who do not have knowledge on property finance calculations make cold calls to potential clients and need to have a thorough analysis at hand in order to best direct each client on what their property buying and selling options are.

Such a report will not only help agents deliver the best possible property options to their clients, it will also help prevent the agent or potential buyers or sellers from wasting each other’s time since they already have all the information they need on the potential client’s buying or selling prospects at hand.

Property agents who want to continue working in the industry must set themselves apart and position themselves as thought leaders, especially in this day and age where digital marketing largely drives the economy.

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