Special Feature

TJ Choo: Navigating the Industrial Frontier of Property Investment

Breaking away from the residential and commercial crowd, TJ has emerged as a trailblazer in the industrial property market. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
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In a space where residential and commercial properties often steal the spotlight, real estate agent TJ Choo sits comfortably as a niche expert who has carved a name for himself in the industrial property market.
His journey, marked by deliberate choices and unconventional approaches, has positioned him as a trailblazer in a market often overshadowed by residential and commercial properties.
"As a starting agent, every other realtor was promoting residential properties,” Choo says. “I wanted to be a standout player in a less familiar, more promising market."
With a background in IT and over a decade of real estate experience, Choo seamlessly merges his roles as a property agent and an entrepreneur. His distinctive perspective, anchored in hands-on management of industrial properties and his own thriving F&B businesses, makes him a comprehensive adviser for investors seeking unique and lucrative opportunities.
In his journey as an industrial property specialist, he has dealt with over a thousand units, both for rent and sale. To date, he has personally transacted over 830 cases, with an impressive total sales of over $235 million and total rentals amounting to over $1.6 million of monthly rental.

Unveiling the Industrial Market

Choo's insights into the industrial market start with a fundamental premise: ease of entry.
"Why choose industrial properties? Because anyone can start with a relatively low investment of $600,000," he explains. This entry-level accessibility, coupled with the flexibility and potential returns of industrial properties, positions them as attractive options for investors seeking higher returns compared to commercial shophouses and residential properties.
While many property owners aspire to add landed residential homes or premium condominiums to their portfolio, the allure of industrial properties lies in their affordability, flexibility, and rental yields.
Choo, drawing from personal experience, highlights the potential of these properties compared to residential alternatives. Savvy real-estate investors, he observes, find an enticing proposition in industrial properties that offer not only passive income but also the potential for substantial capital gains.
“There is a significant difference in the valuation process between industrial and residential properties,” Choo reveals. “While residential and shophouse valuations are catching up to transactions, industrial properties often secure higher valuations due to their consistent rental yields, providing a more attractive proposition for investors.”
To this end, Choo’s clients have successfully enjoyed rental yields ranging from 5% to 9% based on the properties they have transacted with him, as well as capital gains of 25% and more within three years of purchase.
TJ Choo unveils an exclusive opportunity in Northspring Bizhub! A rare 48 years left on the lease, it is not to be missed. (Picture: TJ Choo)

A Property Investment Turnkey Service

Beyond transactions, Choo provides a comprehensive one-stop service for clients, guiding them through the intricacies of owning industrial or commercial properties. His strategic approach includes wearing multiple hats, such as advising on how to transform industrial spaces in alignment with the co-living trend, all rooted in his experience as a multiple-property owner.
One of Choo's intriguing ventures involves introducing a central kitchen project to investors who were profiting from leasehold industrial properties. Recognising the underappreciated potential of central kitchen properties, he proposed the project, emphasising not only potential returns but also considerations like cost, risk, and maintenance liabilities.
Thus, Choo's role extends far beyond proposals; he actively participated in the execution of the project, assisting clients in engaging contractors, obtaining necessary licences, and ensuring the infrastructure met the demands of a multi-central kitchen setup. The outcome is a substantial yield within a freehold property, akin to a miniature REIT model.
"In short, I helped clients manage the growth of their industrial property portfolio," Choo explains. "First, I helped them invest in B1 and B2 factories. Once their target for capital appreciation is reached, they cashed out and upgraded to invest in central food kitchens, serving a large pool of tenants with even higher rental returns and capital gain."
"My intention is simply to advise my clients well, no matter how big or small the project. It’s all about helping them make money and then grow it, in the best way possible." (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

The Business Side of TJ Choo

As both an industrial specialist and a successful F&B entrepreneur, Choo offers a unique blend of insights to guide investors toward lucrative yet stable opportunities. His seven-year-old café, Thus Coffee, is recognised as one of the top 10 in Singapore. He and his partners also own Social Smoker, a restaurant specialising in Western-style barbecued and smoked dishes, which attest to his entrepreneurial prowess.
“We started the cafe initially just for clients to have a place to meet me, to chat and sign documents,” recalls Choo, who never thought he could be a successful restaurateur. “To be honest, since owning an F&B company, I’ve been exposed to many more owners and operators of SMEs like myself.”
Hence, those who are keen to open a café or restaurant but have zero knowledge of it can leverage on Choo — not just for acquisition of property but also all the ins and outs of the F&B business.
“I can advise on all the rules and regulations, including food handling matters, licences to acquire — everything,” shares Choo.
Thus, Choo's multifaceted role positions him as a holistic adviser for investors entering the industrial property market. His blend of industrial knowledge with insights from the F&B industry creates a comprehensive guide for those venturing into this unconventional sector.

An Exclusive Industrial Property Offering

Choo is always motivated to look for undervalued properties in advantageous locations that offer potential for industrial growth as well as market appreciation.
“Because I am an investor myself, I would have done the research — the spreadsheets, and the comparative market analysis (CMA),” explains Choo of his methodology. “I am confident that I do have a right formula for success in terms of return on equity and will share relevant opportunities with my clients in the same vein.”
Currently, in an exclusive offering, Choo presents a rare space for sale in Northspring Bizhub, boasting a minimum of 48 years remaining on the lease. The space, ranging from 11,000 to 200,000 sq ft, invites relevant business owners and investors to explore the potential hidden within this prime industrial space.
The units for sale come with an entry level price tag of $6 million for 11,000 sq ft — not exactly pocket change for most people.
“Although the quantum seems high, the benefit is that industrial units like these, with more than 30 years lease, are super rare,” says Choo. “The government is no longer releasing such long-lease for industrial government lands sales.”
He highlights that the large spaces can be further subdivided into smaller units for higher rental yield.
Taken at 'Thus' a cafe owned by Choo and his partners. Pictured on the background, a coffee bean roaster taking center stage. His culinary ventures showcase a taste for success. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

Unlocking the Industrial Investment Code

With Choo's multi-faceted identity as an industrial specialist, seasoned property expert and successful F&B entrepreneur, it is no wonder that he has gained the ear of both local and new-to-Singapore investors.
“Any agent can help their client to purchase a property, but not everyone can help their client to transcend [their wealth],” says Choo, referring to buying property for capital gain and investment.
Choo's expertise in the industrial property market has unveiled it as a hidden cash cow of real estate investing, and clients who place their trust in him have enjoyed unique opportunities for growth and stability. As his business grows, he has remained humble in his outlook, being careful to consider his clients’ individual risk appetite and investment goals.
“I deal with spaces ranging from smaller, so-called Mickey Mouse-type units to entire buildings,” says Choo. “My intention is simply to advise my clients well, no matter how big or small the project. It’s all about helping them make money and then grow it, in the best way possible.”
For more information,
Contact CHOO YIN WEI (TJ CHOO) | 93368227
Senior Associate Division Director (R044927C)

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