You never forget your first.
For actress-turned-realtor Melissa Faith Yeo, her first property viewing was a rather special one, as she helped to market one of the most notorious HDB flats in Singapore — the site of the infamous Toa Payoh ritual murders.
The 36-year-old revealed this during an interview with content creator Singaplex in June, when she was asked about some of the weirdest properties that she had to deal with.
Almost immediately, Yeo squealed and began sharing details about her first property viewing with a potential buyer back in 2016.
"It just looked like a normal HDB, three-room," she said, adding that the buyer had told her something about the flat in Block 12, Toa Payoh Lorong 7, which she "shrugged off".
However, bells began to ring as more people started calling her to enquire about this particular flat, asking if it was facing the garden, or if it was at the end of the corridor.
"I was like, 'how do you know this house'", a puzzled Yeo wondered then. "Am I supposed to know?"
Yeo said she later found out about the flat's origins from another agent, who told her the flat belonged to medium Adrian Lim — the man behind the murder of two children.
Speaking to AsiaOne on Wednesday (Sept 21) further about the experience, Yeo said the unit "felt normal" when she visited that unit with a prospective buyer who knew of the flat's history.
"Nothing strange stood out. You could tell it's been renovated some time back, very lived-in and homely. The viewing went smoothly," she said.
After getting past the initial shock about the grim origins of the flat, Yeo said she went to do more research on that unit.
"I read that the flat got impounded and despite the long process of securing its next occupants in 1987, it has been transacted a few times since.
Unfortunately, that deal never went through as the listing agent "got too spooked out" and dropped the unit, Yeo told AsiaOne.
"This gave me the confidence I needed in my career as a rookie. It was because of this flat that I realised there's no such thing as an unsellable property in Singapore," she said.
In fact, Yeo said she doesn't mind marketing houses with a "history".
"I tend to think the dead aren't as scary as the living," she added.
Toa Payoh ritual murders
Adrian Lim was a self-styled healer who claimed to have supernatural powers. Together with his wife and mistress, Lim kidnapped, tortured, and murdered two children in his Toa Payoh flat in 1981.
The trio were also said to have drunk the blood of their victims.
When police were searching Lim's flat, they found various religious items in the flat, including crucifixes, Hindu and Chinese idols, some of which were smeared with blood.
All three of them were eventually hanged in 1988.
Some homebuyers, however, are not haunted by the properties' dark past.
A HDB unit in Potong Pasir where the remains of an old man were found saw keen interest from at least one potential buyer back in 2021.
The remains of the deceased were discovered during dengue inspections by the National Environment Agency in July 2020.
One woman who expressed interest in the flat told Wanbao then that she was not afraid of buying a unit where someone died in.
"I've not done anything to harm anyone so there's nothing to be afraid of," she said.
"If the negotiations are successful, I will get a priest to chant some prayers and I will also set up an altar in the house, there's no need to worry."
In 2018, a terrace house at Sembawang Hills estate was sold for $2.23 million to a local contractor in a frenzied auction that lasted 12 minutes, reported the Straits Times then.
The house belonged to a pair of reclusive sisters and their skeletal remains were found about 10 years apart.