TikTok’s latest trends explained: Starting with absolutely nothing, this 24-year-old is trading his way up to a house

Khalish embarked on this challenge in late 2022, and is about “5 per cent” of the way through to completing his goal.

Tricia Kuan

A tiny coffee addict with a really weird frog obsession.

Published: 20 March 2023, 10:32 AM

Trading absolutely nothing for a house may seem like an impossible feat, but it is a challenge that 24-year-old Khalish Zaharin has taken on. 

On Nov 30, 2022, Khalish posted his very first video on TikTok explaining his endeavor to trade up to a house from nothing. 

His platform has since amassed over 190k likes, with many TikTok users showing their support for Khalish and his journey, despite its inconceivable nature.

In an interview with Youthopia, Khalish said that he first dipped his toes into the world of trading back when he was into sneakers. 

He started off by purchasing a pair of sneakers and traded it for shoes which were of a higher value. He repeated this process until he eventually got a pair of sneakers which were worth much more than what he originally bought. 

It was this experience that helped him get a taste of how valuable trading up could be. 

After being inspired by the story of a woman in America who swapped a hair clip for a house, Khalish decided to embark on his journey as a personal adventure, and document it on TikTok in the process.

“The fun thing about making content is having a shock factor …This trading thing won’t stop until I get a house, and it may be hard but that’s the fun of it. I don’t know if I can achieve this dream, but it’s something I can look forward to,” Khalish said.

In most cases, Khalish would start the trading process by finding people who have objects they are looking to trade or give away.

Working a full-time job as a videographer, Khalish tries to get at least one TikTok video for this passion project out every week, which he has found relatively manageable on top of having to source for items. 

However, his journey hasn’t been without any challenges. 

Although the sneaker community which Khalish first ventured into had many official communities in the form of Facebook groups and more, he said that there isn’t an established community of Singaporeans who participate in trading up. 

But that’s not to say that they are non-existent. 

@tradingwithkhalish Replying to @koi I got an xbox one HAHAHAHHA. Let me know if anyone wants to trade me for it. #trademeproject #sg #fyp #trademe ♬ A Voz Do Violão - Luiz Bonfa & Norma Suely

Shortly after posting his very first video on TikTok, a user by the name of @sam_cartel reached out to him offering to give him an XBox One for absolutely nothing. 

Khalish recalls being shocked but excited at the prospect of being able to start off his trading journey so strongly at such an early stage.

From there, he traded the XBox One up to a brand new Lenovo monitor, an exchange that he found surprisingly pleasant thanks to the kindness and friendliness of the father and son who gave him the monitor. 

He then proceeded to trade in the monitor for a bicycle from Dashlab.


To Khalish, every trade is memorable in its own way. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM @tradingwithkhalish


With his experience in trading free and unused items for objects that are worth much more, Sam was a huge inspiration for Khalish at the start of his journey. Khalish shared that Sam’s encouragement was what convinced him that his “impossible” dream was worth a try. 

From time to time, Khalish takes to Carousell to find people with items to trade. But since getting more attention on social media, he has also received many messages on TikTok and Instagram from Singaporeans who offer to trade items with him. 

Thanks to the responsive community, Khalish’s most recent trade has him holding on to the tyre rims of a Porsche from a TikTok user who reached out to him over direct message.

But things took a turn for the worst when he messaged a few rims experts to find out the value of his tyre rims, only to discover that they were not worth anything.

Despite the apparent setback, Khalish assures that he didn’t get scammed, as there’s more to the story which he will reveal in due time. 

In fact, he sees the situation as a “minor bump in the road”, and remains optimistic about how he will carry on with what he has.

“I don’t think I’m back to square one. I’ll have a lot more adventures to go on this journey, and this is just the beginning. Hopefully I can find another trade as soon as possible,” he said.


What Khalish initially thought was his most expensive trade thus far turned out to set him back quite a bit. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM @tradingwithkhalish


In the past few months, Khalish reflected that one of the greatest challenges he’s faced thus far has been turning people down if what they wanted to trade wasn’t viable. 

Although he’s met many people who express interest in trading up, one of the most important things they need to keep in mind is that there’s a chance that they may not be receiving something of equal or greater value. 

For instance, when he traded in the XBox One for the new Lenovo monitor, the father-son duo were well aware that they were “losing out” as they were receiving something of lesser value, but were willing to do so anyway. 

One of the most valuable things he’s taken away from the trading experience is the community which has motivated him throughout his journey with words of encouragement.

“When I first started, I thought Singaporeans wouldn’t be willing to support each other. But I discovered there are more people than I expected who are willing to help and don’t want anything in return. It taught me not to underestimate the kindness of others.” he said.


On his latest venture to find out the cost of the tire rims, Khalish enlisted the help of his friend Mitchell. PHOTO CREDIT: KHALISH


As of now, Khalish still has a long way to go before he can reach his goal of obtaining a house. But since he went into it knowing it would likely be a long shot, he doesn’t mind waiting to see his dream coming to fruition. 

Most importantly, he views this experience as an adventure for him to discover new things everyday, which motivates him to keep going despite the odds.

“If you have a good idea to try trading, just go for it. Since you start with nothing, you don’t really lose much. Even if you gain nothing material-wise, you still get life experiences and connections,” Khalish shared.

Though his journey has just begun, Khalish is excited for what’s to come. 

“Stick around for the journey and adventure, I’m not done just yet. There are still many many trades to come,” he said.

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