Redbrick Conversations with Jansen Kok, KEO, AsiaPac Real Estate Services (APRES)

Redbrick Mortgage Advisory is honoured to interview Mr. Jansen Kok, Partner and Key Executive Officer of AsiaPac Real Estate Services (APRES), with 16 years of experience in the Real Estate industry. Jansen’s role involves outreach and business development.

With years of real estate experience, Jansen and his partners started a company – AsiaPac Real Estate Services (APRES). Its core business is on corporate leasing and works mainly with corporate clients of big MNCs. APRES represents clients as their leasing partners – helping in corporate relocation for expatriates.

In September 2021, Jansen had joined the management team of Alliance Connect (AC), an alliance comprising of 42 real estate agencies and over 700 salespersons. Alliance Connect (AC) is a marketing platform for medium and boutique-sized agencies to pitch for marketing rights to new developments.

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Credit: Jansen Kok

Q: Can you bring us along on your home ownership journey?

Jansen: My first real estate purchase was a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat. It was a 4-room flat at Buangkok, purchased at a price of slightly under $200,000 and eventually sold at $600,000.

As my job requires me to drive around Singapore, I had to go through numerous ERP gantries on a daily basis. Gantry fees chalked up quite my expenses and didn’t made sense. Hence, my wife and I decided to move towards town.

My wife and I eventually bought a 1-bedroom apartment in Martin Place Residences by Frasers Property Singapore located in Robertson Quay at $1.33m in 2014, before selling it for $1.58m a few years ago. It was a great achievement for me as it was the highest transacted at that time. We then decided to purchase another HDB in Punggol, as I believed that it would be an upcoming area.

Early last year, we purchased a unit at Riviere by Frasers Property Singapore after consulting with our Feng Shui master. In the same year, we also manage to secure a purchase of another unit in the popular CanningHill Piers by CDL as I believed that it would be a profitable purchase.

Q: What would you say about the real estate market in general?

Jansen: The real estate market is very calculative and volatile. Once you see something you like, you should go for it.

Q. Aside from location, what other factors do you look out for in a property?

Jansen: When choosing projects, I always take into consideration the traits that end-users will be able to enjoy, such as accessibility to nearby facilities such as shops and transportation. Besides accessibility, I always think ahead and consider what a new buyer would look for when purchasing a property.

Projects with a high rentability is another important factor. When tenants are willing to pay more rent, the sale price will inevitably be higher as buyers see it as a good investment opportunity.

Q. In terms of home loan financing, do you choose fixed or floating rates?

Jansen: I always go for floating rates. When the market is doing well, interest rates would rise. In Singapore, the disparity between fixed and floating rate is not large. To me, the premium for certainty is not attractive, so I believe that it is worth taking a risk.

Q. Did you finance your home loans via banks or through HDB?

Jansen: My first loan was taken with HDB. Besides that, all other loans were bank loans. My wife and I consistently take note of how much interest payable. Throughout the holding period for my BTO, my total housing loan interest was slightly above $13,000, as I continually paid off my principal.

Q. Where is your favourite estate in Singapore?

Jansen: I have never thought about it, but I would say Robertson Quay. I stayed there for around 5 years and liked the environment there. It all comes down to convenience for me. I drive a lot, so this is an area where I can get around Singapore conveniently. When buying property, I find myself going back to the same estate. You can find both locals and foreigners, and I like that mix.

Q. Is there a renovation trend that you always go for?

Jansen: Something more minimalistic and contemporary design. My wife and I love renovating. I renovated my first BTO twice, and my Martin Place kitchen was done by my wife and me through a contractor. I enjoy playing with different concepts. Most of the time, we would go for neutral, light-wood colours.

Q. What is your best investment decision so far?

Jansen: My BTO. I received a 200% rate of return. I strongly suggest young couples to find the right location and get a good BTO. Hopefully, you will get a reasonable profit at the end of the Minimum Occupancy Period.  Just a tip: Always take note of the interest you are paying as a first-time owner.

Q. If you could relate the wealth creation journey to a ride in a theme park, which would it be?

Jansen: My journey has always been predictable and calm one, just like a merry-go-round. I am always confident with my selection. I am not emotional when deciding on real estate, and always base my selection on property I believe would be the most profitable in the future.

Q. If you could turn back time, what would you have done differently 5 years ago?

Jansen: I would probably have bought a landed property rather than a condominium. Both my wife and I are self-employed, so covering a large loan of amount in excess of $10,000 a month was not a risk that I was willing to take at that time.

The Redbrick Team
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