First-timer BTO flat applicants will not get additional ballot chances

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Author: Ravi Philemon

First-timer BTO flat applicants will not get additional ballot chances confirmed the Minister for National Development in Parliament on Nov 4. He was responding to an MP who asked:

“How effective has the current grant of an additional ballot chance for each failed attempt by a first-timer in securing a BTO flat been; and whether HDB will review and consider alternatives such as the improvement of chances by multiples of 20% for each attempt so that the applicants will have almost guaranteed success after more than three attempts.”

In responding to the question, the Minister said that first-timer BTO flat applicants are given two ballot chances when HDB shortlists flat applicants to book a flat. first-timer BTO flat applicants who have been unsuccessful in two attempts for BTO flats in the non-mature estates will be given an additional ballot chance at their subsequent application for a BTO flat in the non-mature estates.

The Minister assured that as a result, in recent years, virtually all first-timer BTO flat applicants have been successful within their first three tries for a BTO flat in the non-mature estates.

The Minister said that his ministry will continue to review and update its policies where necessary to ensure that new HDB flats remain accessible to all first-timer BTO flat applicants.

First-timer BTO flat applicants can look out for this month’s BTO launch provides a number of options for Singaporean homeowners in estates like Tengah, Ang Mo Kio and Tampines. Check out what we think of each of these BTO launches in November 2019 BTO.

First-timer BTO flat applicants should check out our home loan comparison tool here to find the best home loan deal in town.

Ang Mo Kio/Yio Chu Kang BTO: Plenty Of Education Options vs Limited Amenities

First-timer BTO flat applicants

Map 1: Ang Mo Kio BTO, HDB

There are two very distinct points about this BTO launch in Ang Mo Kio.

The first one is that you can hardly find any amenities (i.e. shopping mall) within the area. The closest one is one MRT station away in Ang Mo Kio. Fortunately, there are still coffee shops and market nearby to help you settle your three daily meals. But if you are looking for a supermarket to do your groceries, you might have to travel to Ang Mo Kio to get your daily needs.

The second distinct point about this BTO launch in Ang Mo Kio is that there are many schools in the surrounding area. If you are a parent, you have a plethora of options to send your kids to. With Anderson Serangoon Junior College and Nanyang Polytechnic, you even have schools to the Junior College/tertiary level. If you manage to ballot for a unit in this BTO, it can alleviate your logistical worries of sending your kids to school. After all, the schools are few bus stops away from your house.

Ang Mo Kio/Yio Chu Kang BTO Facts

Nearest MRT Yio Chu Kang MRT, Lentor MRT (u/c)
Nearest shopping mall Ang Mo Kio Hub, Djitsun Mall, Jubilee Plaza
Nearby amenities Yio Chu Kang Stadium, Yio Chu Kang Swimming Complex, Yio Chu Kang Squash & Tennis Court, Ang Mo Kio Library

Thye Hua Kwan Hospital, Health & Medical Card facilities (u/c)

Schools in the area Anderson Primary School, Mayflower Primary School, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ Primary School, Ang Mo Kio Primary School

Presbyterian High School, Yio Chu Kang Secondary School, Anderson Secondary School, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ Secondary School, Mayflower Secondary School, Ang Mo Kio Secondary School

Anderson Serangoon Junior College, Nanyang Polytechnic, ITE College Central

Commute time to City Hall MRT 32 minutes
Commute time to nearest shopping mall 17 minutes (by train)
Types of flats offered 2R Flexi, 3R, 4R
Estimated number of units 450

Table 1: Ang Mo Kio versus Yio chu kang BTO amenities

Tampines BTO: The Dream Place For Easties But Only Apply If You Think You Are Lucky

Tampines BTO

Map 2: Tampines BTO, HDB


If you have been living as an Eastie, or plan to become and Eastie, then this Tampines BTO launch is the right one for you. Located just behind Our Tampines Hub, it is a gateway to all kind of amenities that Tampines has to offer. From exercise venues like swimming complex and stadium to shopping malls to the two MRT lines at Tampines, it is a highly liveable area that every Eastie dreams of.

However, there’s a catch. With only 650 units available, you need to be REALLY REALLY lucky (it’s not a typo) to get a good ballot number. Plus, even if you get a ballot number, you might not be able to get the unit type that you want. That’s because 650 units include flats from 2R Flexi to 5R. By the time it reaches your ballot number, the flats offered might have ran out. Don’t say we didn’t warn you that the Tampines BTO will be oversubscribed.

Tampines BTO Facts

Nearest MRT Tampines MRT (East West Line + Downtown Line)
Nearest shopping mall Tampines Mall, Tampines One, Century Square, Our Tampines Hub
Nearby amenities Our Tampines Hub Swimming Complex, Our Tampines Hub Stadium, Our Tampines Hub Libray, Tampines Polyclinic, Tampines Park Connector, Mosque
Schools in the area Poi Ching School, St. Hilda’s Primary School, Junyuan Primary School, Tampines Primary School

Junyuan Secondary School, Springfield Secondary School, St. Hilda’s Secondary School, Tampines Secondary School, Pasir Ris Secondary School,United World College of South East Asia (East Campus)

Temasek Polytechnic

Commute time to City Hall MRT 32 minutes
Commute time to nearest shopping mall 10 minutes (by foot)
Types of flats offered 2R Flexi, 3R, 4R, 5R
Estimated number of units 650

Table 2: Tampines BTO flat amenities

Tengah BTO: Living Among The Lush Greenery vs Distance From CBD

Tengah BTO

Map3: Tengah BTO, HDB


Did you know that the most expensive area in New York is actually the area that is right beside the Central Park? That’s because people want to live near to the greenery. But what if, instead of living beside the greenery, you can live within the greenery? That’s precisely what Tengah BTO plans to bring to Singaporeans. Living in Tengah will be like living among the lush greenery, which explains the name ‘Forest Town’. If you are a nature lover, Tengah BTO is definitely THE ONE for you.

There is some downside to living in Tengah though. One of the greatest drawback of living in Tengah is that it is a distance away from the Central Business District (CBD). So, if you are working in the CBD, you can expect to spend 2 hours per day on your daily commute. However, if you are working in the West (think Tuas) or planning to work at the upcoming Jurong Innovation District, you might find the Tengah BTO an ideal living location for you.

Tengah BTO Facts

Nearest MRT Tengah Plantation MRT (proposed), Tengah Park MRT (proposed), Tengah MRT (proposed), Hong Kah MRT (proposed), Lakeside MRT,
Nearest shopping mall Tengah Town Centre (proposed), Sunshine Plaza, Lot One, Boon Lay Shopping Centre
Nearby amenities Proposed Health & Medical Care Centres, Jurong Polyclinic, Blue Cross Thong Kheng Home, Nursing Home (u/c), Boon Lay Place Market/Food Village, Proposed Neighbourhood Centre, Proposed Park, Jurong Innovation District, Bukit Batok Driving Centre, Home Team NS Adventure Centre @ Bukit Batok
Schools in the area Jurong Primary School, Princess Elizabeth Primary School, Shuqun Primary School, Rulang Primary School, Corporation Primary School, St Anthony Primary School, Dazhong Primary School, Choa Chu Kang Primary School, Concord Primary School

Bukit Batok Secondary School, Fuhua Secondary School, Yuhua Secondary School, Hua Yi Secondary School, Dunearn Secondary School

Canadian International School, Dulwich College (Singapore), Millennia Institute, Eden School (Special Education), Grace Orchard School, Proposed School (Special Education), Delta Senior School (Special Education)

Commute time to City Hall MRT 51 minutes (Will be reduced once the MRT line is ready)
Commute time to nearest shopping mall 35 minutes (by bus & train to Lot One)
Types of flats offered 2R Flexi, 3R, 4R, 5R, 3Gen
Estimated number of units 3,460


Table 3: Tengah BTO flats amenities

Check out and join the page here to find out how we can help you source for the best home loan deal.

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Equinix and GIC enter US$1b joint venture for European Data Center

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Equinix, Inc, the global interconnection and data center company, on Oct 9 announced the completion of the formation of the greater than US$1.0 billion joint venture in the form of a limited liability partnership with GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, to develop and operate xScale™ data centers in Europe. As announced with the signing of the agreement in July, xScale data centers will serve the unique core workload deployment needs of a targeted group of hyperscale companies, including the world’s largest cloud service providers.


Image: Equinix – Equinix LD13x xScale Data Center

The facilities will allow these key enablers of digital transformation to streamline their continued growth, while strengthening Equinix’s leadership position in the cloud ecosystem, as enterprises increasingly embrace hybrid multicloud as the IT architecture of choice.

The initial six facilities in the joint venture will be located in the AmsterdamLondon (two sites), Frankfurt (two sites) and Paris markets, on some of Equinix’s existing International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center campuses.

Highlights/Key Facts

  • The Equinix LD10 IBX facility has been sold to the joint venture. The portion of the facility that has been dedicated to hyperscale deployments has been re-named the LD13x xScale data center and will provide 10 megawatts (MW) of capacity for xScale customers. The balance of the facility, which is dedicated to retail colocation deployments, will be leased by Equinix from the JV and will retain the Equinix LD10 IBX name.

  • The former Equinix PA8 IBX in Paris, which has also been sold to the joint venture, has been re-named the PA8x xScale data center. The first phase of the facility opened in Q1 2019, and the second and final phase is expected to open in Q4 2019. At full buildout, PA8x is expected to support 14 MW of capacity for xScale customers.

  • The FR9x xScale data center in Frankfurt will add 10 MW of capacity in Q3 2020 when the initial phase is opened. At full capacity, the facility is expected to support 18 MW of capacity.

  • The LD11x xScale data center in London will add 10 MW of capacity for hyperscale customers in Q1 2021 when the initial phase is opened. At full capacity, the facility is expected to support 19 MW of capacity.

  • xScale data centers provide hyperscale companies a differentiated value proposition from existing wholesale data center operators in two key areas:
    • xScale data centers offer access to Equinix’s comprehensive suite of interconnection and edge services. These services tie into the hyperscale companies’ existing access points at Equinix, thereby increasing the speed of connections to their existing and future enterprise customers.
    • xScale data centers are engineered to meet the technical and operational requirements and price points of core hyperscale workload deployments. This enables hyperscale companies to consolidate core and access point deployments into one global provider to streamline and simplify their rapid growth.

  • For years, hyperscale operators, including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Google Cloud, have partnered with Equinix to leverage its global platform of more than 200 IBX data centers to directly connect to their strategic business partners and customers. Today, Platform Equinix® offers the most access points—the “on- and off-ramps to the cloud”—to the top global cloud service providers. In addition to these customer access points, hyperscale companies are investing in large-scale data center deployments to accommodate their rapidly growing core workload needs. With xScale data centers, hyperscale companies can add core deployments at Equinix to their existing access point footprints, enabling their growth on a single platform that spans more than 50 global metros and offers direct interconnection—within a vibrant set of ecosystems—to their customers and strategic business partners.

  • Private connectivity between enterprises, strategic cloud service providers and network services is essential as digital transformation fuels higher demand for localized digital services at the edge. According to the Global Interconnection Index Volume 2, a market study published by Equinix, the capacity for private data exchange between enterprises and cloud and network service providers is forecast to grow nearly 10 times faster than public internet traffic by 2021.

Charles Meyers, President and CEO, Equinix, said: “The formation of our JV with GIC is a strategic milestone for Equinix as we continue to deepen our relationships with the world’s largest cloud and hyperscale companies and help them meet their core workload deployment needs and gain proximity to the thriving business ecosystems available at Equinix.”

“Similarly, as today’s businesses are increasingly moving to implement hybrid multicloud strategies for their digital infrastructure, Equinix serves as a unique on- and off-ramp to execute that strategy. We look forward to launching similar JVs in other operating regions and believe these efforts will continue to further differentiate Equinix as the trusted center of a cloud-first world.”

Mr Paul Ho, chief mortgage officer at iCompareLoan, said: “major corporations like Google, Alibaba Group, Amazon Web Services have all expanded their cloud infrastructure footprint to facilitate their respective expansion plans over the last few years. This momentum is only expected to continue. On this joint venture between Equinix and GIC could prove to be profitable and lucrative.”

One recent report said that the progressive roll out of 5G networks across the world is expected to fuel demand for data centres. A 5G network could be up to 20 times faster than the current 4G networks and would spur massive consumption of data and unlock new capabilities such as self-driving cars, cloud gaming and a thriving ecosystem of smart appliances that require a constant connection. In Asia Pacific, Singapore is one of the early adopters of 5G and is on track to roll out 5G mobile networks by 2020.

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Digital Realty closes $1 billion joint venture transaction with Mapletree

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Digital Realty, a leading global provider of data center, colocation and interconnection solutions, announced today it has closed the previously announced joint venture with Mapletree Investments and Mapletree Industrial Trust (together “Mapletree”) on three existing Turn-Key Flex® data centers located in Ashburn, Virginia.

The transaction values the three fully stabilized hyper-scale facilities at approximately $1.0 billion. The three facilities are fully leased and are expected to generate 2020 cash net operating income of approximately $61 million, representing a 6.0% cap rate. Digital Realty is retaining a 20% ownership interest in the joint venture, and Mapletree has closed on the acquisition of the remaining 80% stake for approximately $811 million. Digital Realty will continue to operate and manage these facilities, and the joint venture transaction will be completely seamless from a customer perspective.

The second tranche of the Mapletree transaction, the outright sale of 10 fully-leased Powered Base Building® properties for $557 million, is expected to close in early 2020.

Citigroup served as lead financial advisor to Digital Realty, along with CBRE and Park Hill who served as co-advisors. Latham & Watkins and Mayer Brown served as Digital Realty’s legal advisors.

About Digital Realty

Digital Realty supports the data center, colocation and interconnection strategies of customers across the Americas, EMEA and APAC, ranging from cloud and information technology services, communications and social networking to financial services, manufacturing, energy, healthcare and consumer products.

About Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd
Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd (“MIPL”) is a leading real estate development, investment, capital and property management company headquartered in Singapore. Its strategic focus is to invest in markets and real estate sectors with good growth potential. By combining its key strengths, MIPL has established a track record of award-winning projects, and delivers consistent and high returns across real estate asset classes.

MIPL currently manages four Singapore-listed REIT and six private equity real estate funds, which hold a diverse portfolio of assets in Asia Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States.

As at 31 March 2019, MIPL owns and manages S$55.7 billion of office, retail, logistics, industrial, residential and lodging properties.

MIPL’s assets are located across 12 markets globally, namely Singapore, Australia, China, Europe, Hong Kong SAR, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. To support its global operations, MIPL has established an extensive network of offices in these countries.

About Mapletree Industrial Trust
Mapletree Industrial Trust is a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) listed on the Main Board of Singapore Exchange. Its principal investment strategy is to invest in a diversified portfolio of income-producing real estate used primarily for industrial purposes in Singapore and income-producing real estate used primarily as data centres worldwide beyond Singapore, as well as real estate-related assets.

MIT’s property portfolio comprises 87 industrial properties in Singapore and 14 data centres in the United States (40% interest through the joint venture with Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd). The properties in Singapore include Hi-Tech Buildings, Flatted Factories, Business Park Buildings, Stack-up/Ramp-up Buildings and Light Industrial Buildings. As at 30 September 2019, MIT’s total assets under management was S$4.8 billion.

MIT is managed by Mapletree Industrial Trust Management Ltd. and sponsored by Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd.

Mr Paul Ho, chief mortgage consultant at iCompareLoan, said: “the joint venture agreement for the data centre in the US makes good business sense.  The infrastructure in the US market is fully developed, which poses little challenges for data centre providers.”

A recent research by Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) said that North America is the largest co-location data centre by market size at US$17.2 billion currently but the Asia Pacific region is expected to take over the top position by as early as 2021. The total market size for Asia Pacific co-location data centres is forecast to be around US$28 billion by 2024, 20 per cent higher than the US$23.4 billion market size of North America.

A detailed analysis of success factors across 38 countries and cities globally also shows the strength of Singapore’s data centre market. Singapore is ranked the third most robust data centre growth market, the only data centre market in Southeast Asia to have featured in the global ranking. Its ranking jumped four spots from seventh to third and retained the top spot in the Asia Pacific region since two years ago when the study was conducted.

digital realty

The index identifies the top competitive factors such as connectivity, ease of doing business, political stability, corporate tax rate, natural disaster,  energy and security that are likely to affect the successful operation of a data centre. Countries and cities are assigned scores based on the weightage allocated to each of the factors.

Singapore’s rise in the global index comes on the back of its improved high-speed connectivity, political stability and low risk of natural disasters relative to other countries. Being sheltered from natural disasters and robust infrastructure, many content operators continue to take advantage of Singapore’s prime geographical location to service their regional clients in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Taking these factors together, Singapore ranks top in the data centre competitive index in the Asia Pacific region.

Singapore has attracted a number of tech companies to set up data centres. Facebook set up its US$1 billion data centre in the city state. It would be its first in Asia, and 15th in the world, a strong testament to Singapore’s continued strength as a global data centre powerhouse. Apart from Facebook, we also saw Equinix, Digital Realty, ST Telemedia and at least two other operators having successfully tendered for land plots from Jurong Town Corporation to build data centres.

Although the rest of the SEA countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam rank relatively lower in the risk index, the potential commercial upside for data centre players is significant.

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Getting good business loans may be difficult, but there are options

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Getting good business loans will be a challenge for entrepreneurs especially if they have no guidance

By: Phoenix Lee

For entrepreneurs, the line between personal and business credit can be a fine one – if there’s one at all. Since most banks balk at lending money to start-ups with no track record, entrepreneurs often turn to credit cards, home equity loans and even friends or family members to raise cash.

Whether you decide to get business credit from a bank or find more creative ways to get started, you’ll want to maximize your personal credit. Here’s how:

getting good business loansCharge ahead. When a bank doesn’t come through with business credit, many small business owners pull out the plastic.

Research shows that more than 60 per cent of people who have recently started businesses have difficult getting good business loans, and 40 per cent of those entrepreneurs have used credit cards to get off the ground.

The advantage of using credit cards to finance your start-up is that they are often easy to get, and the minimum required monthly payments are typically small. Best of all, they put you in control of borrowing; no one will question your plans or second-guess how you’re spending your money.

But that flexibility can be a double-edged sword. If your business plan isn’t sound, huge credit card debts can eventually land you in bankruptcy court. Before you resort to credit cards to get business credit, develop a business plan and approach at least three lenders for a small business loan. If your application is turned down, ask for feedback and use it to adjust your plan. If you’re still convinced you can make your venture work, then pull out the plastic.

Secure loans from non-traditional lenders if you have high debt-to-income ratio

Another alternative to getting good business loans is to use your card for business credit, pay as little as possible.

If you do decide to use credit cards, save money by choosing those with the lowest interest rates. Review your statements to determine which ones have the lowest rates and use them first. Before you take a cash advance on one of your cards, check the interest rate and find out if there are any fees. Some banks charge much higher interest rates for cash loans than for purchases, and many charge cash advance fees.

If you use your credit card, personal overdraft facility of personal loans for your business credit, watch the cash flow. If you only make the minimum monthly payment on your cards and personal loans, you’ll keep your credit record clean. Don’t fall into the trap of letting the bills slide for a couple of months, then making one large payment to “make up for it.” Late payments will be reflected on your credit record for several years – even if you later pay off the account in full.

If you’re facing a cash crunch and aren’t sure you’ll be able to make your minimum payments, call your lenders before you miss a payment and propose to pay a smaller amount for a short period of time until your cash flow improves. For example, offer to pay three-quarters of the usual payment for three months, then resume your regular payments. If the lender agrees, ask for confirmation in writing that your credit report won’t be affected as long as you make the agreed-upon payments.

Urgent loans can help you overcome short term hurdles

Pay less, save money. Obviously, the faster you can pay your off your loans, the more money you’ll save in interest. But for many start-ups, just making the minimum payment each month can be a challenge.

Even if you’re “maxed out” on your credit cards and can only afford to make a little more than the minimum payment, how you pay those bills can dramatically affect how much those loans cost. By adding a little extra money to your total monthly payments (just $5 a month can make a big difference), and paying the highest-rate cards first, you can slash the interest charges and wipe out that debt much sooner than if you just make minimum payments on all your loans.

Check your credit report once a year or at least six weeks before you plan to apply for a business loans to make sure it is complete and correct. Millions of credit reports contain incorrect or outdated information that can hold up an application, or even result in a rejection for the credit card or business loan you need.

For new businesses, initial start-up costs can be overwhelming. When your cash flow runs dry, it’s often necessary to finish your shopping on credit. But take note using personal lines of credit for your business costs should be approached with much discerning forethought as it can be very risky.

Getting good business loans for new business is the biggest obstacle to starting a private enterprise for most people. When you calculate your startup costs and add in the amount of money you need to cover your personal expenses during the startup phase, coming up with money for a business can seem like an impossible dream.

The entrepreneur might have a great idea and clear idea of how to turn it into a successful business. However, if sufficient finance can’t be raised, it is unlikely that the business will get off the ground. No matter how daunting getting good business loans for your new business may be, remember that hundreds of thousands of individuals a year do find the money to start a business – and you find it best when you work with a loan specialist.


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Refinancing solutions work when you have a comprehensive strategy

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Financial institutions will carefully assess the risk of dealing with you before suggesting refinancing solutions. Before you venture out and choose your lender for refinancing solutions, be sure you clearly understand their expectations.

By: Hitesh Khan/

A strong management team
Any financial institution will want to verify that your company is well managed. Being profitable is one thing, but ensuring that you have the team in place to sustain growth is another. Start by demonstrating that your team members are competent and well-qualified to do the job.

Refinancing solutions

image credit: Alpha Stock Images

Before seeking business refinancing solutions, it would help to prove your successful track record by communicating past achievements and the soundness of your plans.

Comprehensive financial strategy
If you have a cash-flow problem, you need to show how you plan to avoid a recurrence of this situation. Present conservative financial forecasts to include different scenarios, i.e., best-case and worst-case. Be sure to clearly communicate how well you understand your financial needs and the factors affecting your business success.

Using credit wisely requires a lot of common sense and discipline

An important part before seeking business refinancing solutions is to understand how your level of risk is determined by assessing basic financial concepts, such as working capital, collateral and balance sheet.

Keep in mind that forecasting can be a complex task. It may help to rely on financial specialists to help you develop an effective business plan.

Proactive growth strategy
You need to demonstrate that you understand the risks and opportunities for your company. Your strategy is a result of looking closely at internal resources, the market, the economy, competitors, marketing and distribution channels and demographics.

A clear restructuring plan
If you are dealing with temporary difficulties, you should provide a restructuring plan. More detailed than a financial analysis, it includes measures to rectify an unprofitable position. The plan can present business refinancing solutions as one way to re-establish positive working capital by improving the terms and conditions of your current loans. Restructuring can include the sale of non-essential assets and inventory, which may generate additional one-time revenue.

A restructuring plan performs the same function as a business plan and must therefore serve as a guide for continuing operations. Like a financial forecast, it will be more convincing if it contains input from outside consultants who can help you with what can be a complex process.

Proof that you can repay
To obtain financing, you must prove your repayment ability, particularly if your company is in difficulty. Your earnings forecast should be conservative to avoid giving the lender any cause for concern. Before any new loan is approved, the financial institution will double-check your business credit and capacity.

Your chances of obtaining business refinancing are greater if you have:

  • good credit history by always fulfilling the repayment conditions on your previous loans,
  • credible financial forecast. and
  • an honest and courteous relationship with your account manager.

Personal guarantee is a must for most small business loans but should be made with caution

If you do feel that the debt you have might be a problem, here are a few tips for improving the situation:

  • Determine how much debt you have, and put together a plan for repaying it. If you’re currently paying the minimum amount required on your loans, stop doing so, and pay the maximum you’re able to. If you pay the minimum, it will take you 20-40 years to pay off the balance, meaning you’ll pay more than five times the actual debt in interest.
  • If you have multiple loans, pay off the ones with the highest interest rates first.
  • Consider refinancing to a loan that offers a lower interest rate.
  • If you’re a homeowner, consider a home equity loan. The rate will usually be significantly lower than that of a personal loans, and the interest on these loans is generally tax deductible.
  • Avoid luxuries, impulse buying, and any unnecessary spending.
  • Keep track of your expenses so you can determine where your money is going and keep a tight lid on expenditures that are higher than they need to be.
  • Limit your credit usage to the bare necessities. If the situation is dire, try to stop using your credit cards entirely.

Before applying for refinancing solutions, you will need to gather key information and required business documents to support your application. The requirements will vary greatly depending on the type and amount of credit, from basic information for a credit card to full financials for a major term loan.

It is important for the business owners to have a clear understanding of their financial situation and objectives – keeping them in mind in order to acquire the best refinancing loan for them. Business owners with good credit can get special deals on their closing costs from various lenders. In these cases, getting the best refinancing loan may make sense as it helps them to achieve lower interest rates.

Achieving better credit scores is another great reason to get the best refinancing loan. If business owner’s credit score has gotten better because mortgage payments have been made on time, the owner may be able to take advantage of that improved credit by refinancing into a loan with lower interest rates decreased payments.

If the owner has paid off a car, inherited a sum of money, or received a bonus at work, if the owner is planning to own their home into retirement, refinancing down from a 25-year loan to a 20 or a 15 year loan may be a good move financially. The payments will rise, but the extra money can be used to cover the difference.

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Two industrial properties at car showroom belt up for sale

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Two industrial properties along popular Leng Kee car showroom belt up for sale for S$15 million and S$23 million

Two industrial properties nestled along the popular Leng Kee car showroom belt have been put up for sale by Expression of Interest (EOI).

Two industrial properties

Two industrial properties along popular Leng Kee car showroom belt up for sale for S$15 million and S$23 million (Image: Knight Frank)

Located at 3 Leng Kee Road and 19 Leng Kee Road, the two industrial properties sit alongside showrooms for Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi and Toyota, amongst other well-known brands.

The two industrial properties are jointly and exclusively marketed by Knight Frank Singapore and Yeo & Yeo Properties. Redhill MRT station and matured housing estates in the vicinity are within a brisk 5-minute walk to the properties. No ground rent is payable for either property.

3 Leng Kee Road

The property at 3 Leng Kee Road is a 2-storey workshop/showroom cum office building with a land area of 1,506.6 sq m (approximately 16,216.89 sq ft) and floor area of 1,372.94 sq m (14,778.19 sq ft). It is currently under light industrial use, with a car showroom and workshop on the ground level and a balance leasehold of 33 years. The standalone, detached building is currently tenanted by Stuttgart Auto Pte Ltd.

The guide price for the property at 3 Leng Kee Road is S$15 million.

19 Leng Kee Road

At 19 Leng Kee Road, the property is a 5-storey showroom cum factory building with a half-basement carpark. The property has a land area of 1,358 sq m (approximately 14,617.38 sq ft) and floor area of 2,696.76 sq m (approximately 29,027.65 sq ft). The building has a balance leasehold of 35 years.

According to the Master Plan 2014, the site is zoned “Industrial (B1)”, with an allowable Gross Plot Ratio of 2.5. Future owners can repurpose the space for various uses, such as for furniture/electronics display on the ground level, self-storage, car accessory businesses or even for eCommerce.

The guide price for the property at 19 Leng Kee Road is S$23 million.

Tan Boon Leong, Head of Industrial, Knight Frank Singapore, shares, “For qualifying industrial users, especially those in the automobile industry, this is an opportune time to own a corporate building. Due to its size, this might also attract more prestigious, branded dealers and distributors.

“The superb location right next to Redhill MRT station, plus a ready pool of labour from the nearby catchment of residential developments, will definitely enhance the value of the properties in the median term.”

The EOI for the two industrial properties along Leng Kee Road will close on 3 December 2019, at 3.00pm.

With broad based demand, Singapore overall industrial property market rents have been bottoming out, said a recent research by Colliers International. It added that with deteriorating manufacturing and trade statistics, industrial property market rents and occupancy could come under fresh pressure.

The report pointed out that industrialists have already become more cautious on their space requirements, renewals and expansion plans.

  • “Business park rents increased 0.5% HOH and 2.1% YOY while factory and warehouse rents saw marginal declines.
  • Ageing factories will likely be under the most pressure as more than 78% of the supply pipeline is factory space.
  • We recommend landlords of ageing properties consider asset enhancements, such as increasing the floor loading capacity, to be ready for Industry 4.0.’

Widening rental gap between the “new economy” and “old economy”

“Based on advanced estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Singapore’s GDP grew by only 0.1% YOY in Q2 2019, the lowest in a decade. As of 22 July 2019, Oxford Economics has further downgraded Singapore’s GDP growth forecast for the year from 1.9% to 0.7%, on weaker Chinese import demand and persistent trade war uncertainties.

According to Colliers, business park monthly rents increased 0.5% HOH and 2.1% YOY to SGD4.33 (USD3.20) per sq foot in H1 2019 amid very tight supply. We notice that tech firms continued to gravitate towards newer business parks and high-tech spaces for good amenities and cost savings.”

The research pointed out that monthly industrial property market rents for high-spec industrial buildings located outside of science parks and business parks increased 1.0% HOH and YOY to SGD2.93 (USD2.16) per sq foot. Meanwhile, average gross monthly rents of warehouse-logistics properties slipped 0.8% HOH and YOY to SGD1.24 (USD0.92) per sq foot.

“Going forward, new business park properties and high-spec spaces should continue to enjoy favorable rental growth due to their premium quality and limited stock, while older factory space may see flat to declining rents. As such, we expect the rental gap of business park / high-specs spaces and the general factory/warehouse space to widen towards the end of 2019.”

The report said that factory space dominates upcoming supply

In taking reference from JTC data, the Colliers Research said that total industrial stock completions in H1 2019 stood at 5.5 million sq feet (511,000 sq metres, net), of which more than 56% are single-user factory spaces.

“These total completions were close to the full year 2018 completions of 5.8 million sq feet (543,000 sq metres). Demand followed supply closely in H1 2019, resulting in a stable all-industrial vacancy rate of 10.7%, unchanged from the end of 2018.

In H2 2019, JTC expects another 10.2 million sq feet (946,000 sq metres, gross) of industrial space, 77% of which are single-user factories. Assuming 90% efficiency, total completed industrial space in 2019 would be around 15 million sq feet (1.4 million sq metres, net), an increase of more than 2.5 times from 2018. New supply across all industrial types is set to further intensify in 2020 to 18.8 million sq feet (1.7 million sq metres, gross), led by multiple-user factories at 47%, before tapering off from 2021 onwards.”

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Prime shophouses in Kampong Glam and Serangoon Gardens up for sale

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Knight Frank Singapore announced on Nov 5 that it is pleased to offer 2 prime shophouses in Kampong Glam and Serangoon Gardens respectively, for sale via Expression of Interest (EOI).

18 Bali Lane – one of the two prime shophouses

Located at the heart of Kampong Glam, 18 Bali Lane is nestled amongst excellent eateries and trendy retail shops. The 2-storey conservation shophouse with attic has a total built-up area of approximately 1,919 sq ft. With the support and promotion of the Singapore Tourism Board, the locality is popular among tourists and locals alike for its hipster vibes and colourful, vibrant neighbourhood.

The shophouse is zoned Commercial under the Master Plan 2014 and has a 999-year tenure. It is currently tenanted.

Ms Mary Sai, Executive Director of Investment and Capital Markets, Knight Frank Singapore, says, “With nearby 11 Bali Lane recently sold for S$18.8 million, the owner was encouraged to put up the shophouse at 18 Bali Lane for sale. The transaction at 11 Bali Lane translated to S$4,017 psf, and with a guide price of S$6.9 million for 18 Bali Lane, this reflects to about S$3,600 psf over the floor area.

“Another shophouse at Bussorah Street just a few lanes away with a balance lease of 83 years and land size of 1,741 sq ft also sold at S$5 million, in July last year.”

prime shophousesAnother one of the prime shophouses is located at Serangoon Gardens

Serangoon Garden is one of the oldest estates on the island, and was built in the 1950s. The estate was built to house the British officers based in Singapore. The roads have British road names. The estate was upgraded in 2001 as part of the Singapore Government’s plan to improve the older private housing estates in Singapore. Open roadside drains were covered up. It has new streetlights and road signs, and the estate’s parks were also upgraded. Serangoon Garden Circus was used as one of the locations for the country-wide millennium celebrations.

Serangoon Gardens is a private housing estate in Singapore. There are a variety of types of housing, including terrace homes, semi-detached and bungalows. This area is popular with well-heeled Singaporeans and expatriates, with its close proximity to amenities and top international schools.

In the Serangoon Gardens estate, a corner, 2-storey shophouse with a land area of 1,618 sq ft and a built-up area of about 3,000 sq ft has also been put up for sale. The property has a 999-year leasehold tenure and is currently fully tenanted.

Ms Sai shares, “Serangoon Gardens is well-known for its rows of shophouses providing amenities such as F&B outlets and restaurants, banks, enrichment centres and beauty salons. The famous Chomp Chomp Food Centre and Serangoon Country Club are also situated nearby. The last transaction in the area was at 65 Serangoon Garden Way, which sold for S$8.8 million at the end of last year.”

The food and beverage outlets are located in the estate’s central area. Serangoon Garden Circus is at the centre of the estate. In this vicinity, there are cafés, restaurants, coffee shops, fast food restaurants and a shopping mall.

All the roads radiate from the circus, and the houses are located within walking distance. The estate has a tennis and squash centre at Burghley Drive. At Kensington Park Road, there is a country club known as Serangoon Gardens Country Club. Although the Country Club serves its in-house members, members of the public can also enjoy delicious food such as cantonese cuisine – Swatow Garden – which serves popular Hong Kong Dim Sum and dishes.

The guide price for the Serangoon Gardens shophouse is S$8.5 million.

As the 2 prime shophouses are zoned Commercial, there will be no Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty and Seller’s Stamp Duty payable. Foreigners and companies are also eligible to purchase the properties.

The EOI for the 2 prime shophouses exercise will close on Thursday, 28 November 2019, at 3pm.

Mr Paul Ho, Chief Mortgage Consultant at iCompareLoan, said that despite the property curbs introduced by the Government last year, Singapore is still an attractive residential market for investors.

Although the property market exuberance has been curbed to some extent with the property cooling measures introduced last year, Singapore as a property market investment destination still remains among the top – shoulder to shoulder with other cities in the world like London, New York, Shanghai and Sydney.

“We have to be mindful that there is a lot of excess capital fluidity here and at 1.9 – 2 percent, Singapore has one of the lowest interest rates for home loans in the region,” he added.

Mr Ho, added, “the location of the two prime shophouses makes it an attractive buy. The prime shophouses are located in neighbourhoods which are renowned for their F&B outlets and restaurants.”

The biggest gainers following the 2018 property cooling measures is likely be owners of strata portfolio of offices and shophouses approved for commercial use. The property cooling measures affected almost all categories of buyers and is predicted to achieve its intended objectives of cooling demand and moderating price growth.

One report said investors looking for alternatives to park their money in the wake of property cooling measures, would divert their attention to the strata office and shophouse markets as they are not subjected to this round of purchase or sales restrictions/encumbrances.

Mr Ho said, “shophouses are perceived as attractive investments because they can hold their values because of their central locations and the freehold/999-year-leasehold of many of these properties. Shophouses are also valued because they give prominent presence to a business entity for them to be visible in a highly competitive environment.”

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Bluenest threatens traditional property agents by cutting transaction time

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Amidst surging investor interest in the Singapore property market, Bluenest’s tech-based model streamlines the entire purchasing and selling process for consumers.

bluenestWith Bluenest, seamlessness and transparency will soon become the new hallmarks of property transactions for savvy consumers. Bluenest is Singapore’s first tech-based real estate agency. Our full-service local consultants use the latest technologies to help you sell smarter and faster. We are your trusted advisor, all the time.

Backed by Rocket Internet, tech-based real estate agency Bluenest eliminates the inefficiencies currently present in the purchasing and selling process.

“Property agents these days are like entrepreneurs, managing the entire customer journey themselves from lead sourcing to paperwork at varied commission rates,” says Bluenest founder Jeff Lim.

However, these one-man shows typically mean a long, time-consuming process for both agents and consumers. Real estate transactions can last around 6 months from start to finish, covering everything from house viewings to legal processes.

Bluenest’s A.I. and data-based platform closes the loop between buyers and sellers and aims to cut in half the average time it takes to transact a property.

The technology available to its agents also allows the firm to deliver greater cost savings to end-users. For instance, Bluenest charges only 1% in commissions for premium brokerage services compared to the standard market rate of 2%.

Like the owner-listing platforms that have grown in popularity in recent years, Bluenest’s goal is to enhance the transacting experience for consumers.

However, the company’s competitive edge lies in the advisory services that its agent pool offers. Using tech to automate the repetitive processes involved in the sale, Bluenest agents are better able to focus on advisory and can deliver a higher-than-average closing rate for their clients.

“Digital marketing is our strength,” Lim notes. “We market properties as an agency rather than as lone individuals.” This integrated approach enables them to help homeowners sell their properties at higher prices and in a shorter time frame.

The Bluenest platform is also designed to give sellers full access to the relevant data and incoming offers, affording them greater control over their transactions. That way, clients need not worry about under-the-table dealings by shady agents, as with the recent case of agent fraud in Singapore.

If the results are any indication, Bluenest’s approach of leveraging technology to change the real estate landscape seems to be working so far. The company closed its first deal in less than a week and has gained good traction in the island-state since its launch in September this year.

Mr Paul Ho, chief mortgage officer at iCompareLoan, said, “the real estate industry is rapidly changing, and customers expect better experiences and turn-around-time when they purchase a property. This multi-million dollar partnership will further drive innovation for the benefit of customers.”

In keeping up with proptech revolution that is exploding everywhere, property agents “must upgrade or die”, said Mr Ho. 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.

Proptech is technology and real estate coming together to propel the real estate industry forward. The proptech ecosystem is flourishing now in many parts of the world, thanks in large part to ample venture capital, community efforts in local tech hubs, and an increasing realisation that there is a real need for innovation in the sector.

Proptech will have an impact on traditional business operating models. Whether this impact turns out to be positive or negative depends largely on how real estate players will use them to their advantage. These technologies are however still a long way away from replacing human judgment, touch, and ability to react to dynamic changes, which are all critical to the decision-making process.

A recent research report by Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) said, “proptech will be used to drive tenant experience. A smart building can drive operational performance but it can also enhance human experience. Without tenants, a building as an asset will perform poorly, regardless of how operationally efficient it may be, or the amount of capital growth targeted. This change is already being recognised, with tenant experience a top-three driver. As operational efficiency increasingly comes under control, we expect the next wave of proptech to focus on satisfying the future needs of the occupier, wherever and however they choose to work.”

C&W added that the overarching opportunity in proptech adoption is to generate data-driven reporting more quickly, which in turn will facilitate more insightful decision making. Doing this will link the building to the corporate occupier and ultimately to the asset’s financial performance in a clearer, more systematic way.

“Surprisingly, respondents told us there is comparatively little concern around security, privacy or the complexity of the task at hand. Undoubtedly data encryption and storage have become increasingly secure, though data breaches remain a regular part of the media cycle.

“Lesser concerns on security risk may result from the perceived lack of value in the data to potential hackers. However, we argue the focus should be on securing access to a building’s management system rather than the actual data it logs.”

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New business owners should always start on strong footing

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Start your new business off on a strong financial footing. Experts agree it’s the best strategy for success

By: Hitesh Khan/

In fact while poor management is cited most frequently as the reason businesses fail, inadequate or ill timed financing is a close second. There are several reasons funding can be a major challenge for someone planning a small business:

  • It can be difficult for an entrepreneur to put a dollar value on a new business idea.
  • Some people who are eager to start a new business are not prepared to “talk money.” They either don’t know how to or don’t want to plan, research, ask for, consider choices, think about, and spend money – that is, business capital.
  • They don’t seek the help of loan specialists who will help them find funding for their new business.

To get small business funding, you should start now to develop or improve your skills and gain the knowledge you need to “talk money.” It can be your most valuable new business asset.

Start with a Good Look at Your Personal Finances

There are several important reasons to begin thinking about Funding Your New Business with a review of your personal finances:

  • A new business seldom generates enough to replace a regular salary, at least in the beginning. Be sure you can meet your personal expenses with a minimum — or no — contribution from your new business.
  • For every story you read or hear about someone who “used all my savings and maxed out every credit card” to start a successful new business, there are hundreds of other people who did the same thing – and after a few years of hard work, they had no savings, no credit, and no business.

You can avoid such bad luck story in trying to get small business funding by maintaining your personal financial health is the key.

new businessWhen seeking small business funding remember that it’s essential to keep personal and business funds separate.

This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how often mixing personal and business funds becomes a serious issue for small business owners. The best idea, as soon as you decide to move ahead with your business concept, is to set up a separate business bank account.

The discipline you use to keep personal and business expenses separate will help you to avoid the “trickle out” theory where funds just seem to evaporate – or projects do not generate the profits they should.

Options for how to pay yourself for expenses and salary.

Many small business owners think of themselves as suppliers to their small businesses. Of course, you need to be paid for the items you provide to the business:

  • space for a home office
  • mileage on the car for business meetings
  • electricity, and other utilities

One option to consider is paying yourself for any expenses above $100.

For example, if your total mortgage expense is $2,100 and you use one room of your apartment for your business, charge the business $300 rent and pay for it. You might combine the other smaller expenses in one bill for miscellaneous expenses, perhaps $200. Each month, you would receive $500 from the business for the use of your home facilities.

Any expenses you have made for the business, such as buying office furniture, can be reimbursed immediately or amortized (paid in segments over time). Again, write yourself a business cheque with a clear description of the expense.

What about a salary? It all depends on the cash flow your business is generating. You have to balance your financial requirements with the business needs for funds. Keep in mind that the less money you take from the business during the start-up phase, the faster your business will reach the break-even point, the more likely it will be to generate profits and be in a better position to get small business funding.

As a new business owner you can choose to get small business funding from several different sources including a bank, as well as private finance, and investment firms. Some people prefer to work with a single financial services provider, while others may want to use a combination of resources to meet their business financial needs.

Getting funding for new business is the biggest obstacle to starting a private enterprise for most people. When you calculate your startup costs and add in the amount of money you need to cover your personal expenses during the startup phase, coming up with money for a business can seem like an impossible dream.

The entrepreneur might have a great idea and clear idea of how to turn it into a successful business. However, if sufficient finance can’t be raised, it is unlikely that the business will get off the ground.

Raising finance for start-up requires careful planning. The entrepreneur needs to decide:

  • How much finance is required?
  • When and how long the finance is needed for?
  • What security (if any) can be provided?
  • Whether the entrepreneur is prepared to give up some control (ownership) of the start-up in return for investment?

The finance needs of a start-up should take account of these key areas:

  • Set-up costs (the costs that are incurred before the business starts to trade)
  • Starting investment in capacity (the fixed assets that the business needs before it can begin to trade)
  • Working capital (the stocks needed by the business –e.g. r raw materials + allowance for amounts that will be owed by customers once sales begin)
  • Growth and development (e.g. extra investment in capacity)

One way of categorising the sources of finance for a start-up is to divide them into sources which are from within the business (internal) and from outside providers (external). No matter how daunting seeking funding for your new business may be, remember that hundreds of thousands of individuals a year do find the money to start a business – and you find it best when you work with a loan specialist.


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Business loan success hinges on several key factors

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Business loan success depends on several factors, including how you present yourself

By: Phoenix Lee/

If you want to succeed in getting a loan, you have to be prepared and organized. For business loan success, you must know exactly how much money you’ll need, why you need it and how you’ll pay it back. You’ve also got to be able to convince your lender that you’re a good credit risk.

Getting your loan request approved depends on how well you present yourself, your business and your financial needs. Lenders want to make loans, but they’re only going to make loans they know will be repaid.

Well-written proposal is key to business loan success

The best way to maximize your chances of getting a loan is to prepare a written proposal. A well-written loan proposal should include a number of things:

General Information

  1. Business name, names of principals, personal identification number for each principal and the business address.
  2. Purpose of the loan: exactly what the loan will be used for and why it is needed.
  3. Amount required: the exact amount you need to achieve your purpose.
  4. Business description: history and nature of the business, its age, number of employees and current business assets.
  5. Ownership structure: details on your company’s legal structure.
  6. Management profile: a short statement on each principal in your business, including background, education, experience, skills, and accomplishments.

Market Information

  1. Clearly define your company’s products as well as your markets.
  2. Identify your competition and explain how your business competes in the marketplace.
  3. Profile your customers and explain how your business can satisfy their needs.

Financial Information

  1. Balance sheets and income statements for the past three years. If you are starting out, provide a projected balance sheet and income statement.
  2. Personal financial statements on yourself and other principal owners of the business.
  3. Collateral that you’re willing to pledge as security for the loan.

Review of Your Loan Request

The lender is primarily concerned about repayment. To help determine your ability to repay a loan, many loan officers will order a copy of your business credit report from a credit-reporting agency such as Dun & Bradstreet. Therefore, you should work with these agencies to help them present an accurate picture of your business.

Using the credit report and the information you’ve provided, the lending officer will consider five key issues:

  1. Have you invested savings or personal equity in your business totaling at least 25 percent to 50 percent of the loan you are requesting? A lender or investor will not finance 100 percent of your business.
  2. Do you have a sound record of creditworthiness as indicated by your credit report, work history, and letters of recommendation? This is very important.
  3. Do you have sufficient experience and training to operate a successful business?
  4. Have you prepared a loan proposal and business plan that demonstrate your understanding of and commitment to the success of the business?
  5. Does the business have sufficient cash flow to make the monthly payments?
business loan success

image credit: Alpha Stock Images

Business loans are especially helpful when you are expanding your business as it can help maximize your cash flow, provide more flexible structures and greater access to capital.

Such loans are specially beneficial for small and medium sized businesses that may not have access to other financing at reasonable terms. Business loan success depends on owners knowing which business measures — debt-to-equity ratio, for example, or net margins — lenders focus on when evaluating loan applications in their industry. Bankers say would-be borrowers should demonstrate exactly how they plan to use the money and why the plan makes sense.

Owners have to be mindful that for business loan success, the human side of lending requires as much attention as the technical aspects.

Small-business owners should cultivate a relationship with a loan specialist — ideally, long before they need a loan — and treat that relationship as a long-term partnership. As business loan applicants should expect to be closely scrutinised before loans are dished out, they should have done their math on the viability of their business proposal. There are several free tools, such as affordability calculators, which are freely available online for business owners’ use.

One major mistake business owners make is assuming that the loan process would be as easy as getting a mortgage. Business loan success does not happen quickly because we were so well-prepared. So, don’t approach one bank at a time, waiting weeks in between each for an answer. Unless you work very closely with a trusted loan specialist, a bank may not be willing to part with their cash despite you having the best of presentations.

Always be mindful that banks do not approve all applications from small businesses, in fact up to one in four fail (depending on the prevailing economic environment). The reasons can be many and varied, so this is why it is important to seek feedback from the bank as to why. This feedback can provide some valuable insight into the weaknesses of the business and/or your application. This is also the reason why business loan negotiations are important.

One best small business loan tips most people won’t give you is to not wait until you are desperate to ask for money. This is not a good foundation for a successful loan application. The bank wants to feel secure in its decision. It does not want to hear that your business needs the loan to survive; it wants to hear that your business needs the loan to grow.

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