Category Archives: Real Estate

Home Selling Essentials Every Malaysian Must Know

Home selling can be as emotional as it is daunting. Even homeowners in Malaysia who have had their fair share of home selling in encounters could not help but feel emotional when parting with one home to another. First time home sellers feel about twice or thrice the anxiety. Maybe even more.

house in malaysia

House in Malaysia

And it does not even matter whether you’re selling with an agent, FSBO, or through auctions.The whole process of having to enlist a home, wait for it to sell, and having to move out makes for a great recipe of emotions. Not to mention, all the technical stuff that comes with it is confusing at best and frustrating at worst.

Essential tips that you should know!

In my previous post, I’ve discussed home improvement projects that don’t help your home sell. Now to lessen the anxiety and avoid the drama altogether, here are some very important and useful tips and  their homes on the market:

  • Knowledge of Malaysian market trends. It does not matter whether you’re selling the house on your own or with an agent – you have to know when it is a great time to sell your house. Your agent can only do so much for you, his capacity is limited as far as the market is concerned. You might be wasting precious money on the real estate listings if you stay there quite too long not because your house is bad but because the market is simply bad. On top of that, being on the market for too long does not do your home’s marketability any good. You might end up having to lower your market price if you’ve been out there for more than three months.
  • Knowing the essential people involved in the process. Apart from your agent (if you’re having one), you’ll have to know a lot of other people including a good Malaysian real estate lawyer. You might also need the services of a home inspector, contractor, and home appraiser before putting your home in the market to ensure that you can sell at a competitive price. Include the mortgage officer in this list who will likely handle your payments.
  • Interior design and home design magazines. This will greatly help you in improving and staging your beloved home. Get inspiration from model homes like one from the very nice Vipod suites, on how you should present your own home when presenting to your prospective home buyers. You may also get tips from these magazines about how to improve your home to increase its market price. This is especially important if you do not want to get the services of a decorator and you want to do things on your own.
  • All the necessary documents. From land and home titles to the detailed record of your home’s repair and renovation history. These documents – most of them a legal requisite – should be prepared beforehand to make the transactions smooth and easy and fast. It will be very discouraging for the buyers to get delays especially if they want to move into the home sooner.
  • A lot of patience. Home selling in Malaysia is a process, especially in hot areas such as KLCC, Mont Kiara and Sentul. It is not something that you can finish within a day or two. You might have to wait a bit more for the buyer, for the money, or for a lot of other things. Getting frustrated won’t help your home sell more quickly so make sure that you have enough patience for it.

See some more tips in this article from Bettyjarvis.com.

Hope that helped you! You can contact me anytime at hello@averynicedesignstudio.org for concerns.

Vipod

Home Improvement Projects that Don’t Help Your Home Sell

Did you now that a quick fix may actually be better than an outright remodel?

Many of today’s homeowners are looking at (extremely) expensive home improvement projects for the sake of selling their homes at a much higher price. They think that putting up this and that on improvements and additions would sell their house as high class as it looks.

To their dismay, they find out that it does the exact opposite. You thought you found the right homebuyer, but instead you’re back at square one.

See, not every home improvement project raises your home’s marketability. It may increase your house’s market price, but it does not necessarily make it more easily marketable.

SO if you’re thinking about putting up that posh Jacuzzi in the backyard to imitate your sister’s post The Pearl KLCC unit and installing your uber-elite wall-to-wall carpeting, you might want to take a pause and put yourself in the buyers’ shoes. There are a number of home improvement projects that do not help your home sale.

Building 1

And before you call that contractor, here’s a heads up of the home improvement projects you should likely avoid:

  • Exaggerated kitchen upgrades – thinking about the private wine fridge? Or turning everything in your kitchen into granite? Or gold-plating your handles from oven to kitchen cabinets? You don’t want to do that! Unless your whole house is placed in that kind of market (the market of the gold-plating crazy and similar crowds), that would cost you your whole home improvement budget. It would give your potential buyers the precept that it’s actually so much more expensive and that they might actually not afford it.
  • Large pools, home spas, Jacuzzis, and similar projects. They may look posh and beautiful on a summer day but unless you live in the Sunshine State, they may mean extra expenses on maintenance and heating. So if you’re targeting the middle-class to a little above-middle class crowd, adding a pool is unnecessary and is actually a wrong move.
  • Posh bathrooms – if you think a very private bathroom with all the amenities of a 7-star hotel bathroom would do your home sale any good, I hate to tell you that it won’t in a middle class neighborhood. Keep the tiles and colors and even implements low key and simple. It would sell faster when the bathroom is appealing to them rather than is intimidating them.
  • Too many colors on the walls and the floors. Your favorite red shade for the floors to go with your canary yellow walls may not exactly appeal to 90% of the prospective buyers. If you’re really looking to sell your house, leave as little a trace of you as possible. Don’t invest on something too personal because you’re leaving it. If you were to invest in colors of the walls and the floors anyway, go for the neutrals. They’ve been proven by real estate experts to appeal more to buyers because it is so much easier to imagine living in them than in something more personalized.

The key to selling a home, and improving a home for marketing, is to make the house look as generic as possible without taking the quality and style for granted.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Mortgage

Avery says: You are going to carry your mortgage loan for more than half of your adult life. That much is true. That’s also exactly the reason why you should find means and ways to make the most out of it.

You may have gotten the best deal when you first signed up for it, but you have to be on the lookout to keep it that way or improve it. Plus, you have to keep yourself on your toes so it does not go mismanaged that may lead to you getting in trouble and at risk for repossession.

High Rise

This information is pretty much useful to anyone– whether a homeowner, or even a resident living in the most exclusive condo in KL! It’s for everyone, actually– as we all have our stories– good or bad– when it comes to mortgage.

Here are some tips so you get the most out of your mortgage:

1. Pay as much as you can. Instead of getting a home theater system on your credit card (just because you can currently afford it), put your money instead on your mortgage. The more you pay, the more you save up and you know how valuable this can be for your mortgage loan. Prioritize your mortgage over anything unnecessary. When you pay in larger sums and more frequently, your mortgage lender will love you and reward you for it in the form of payment incentives and discounts. That, and the fact that you will get out of the debt faster than what is on your loan contract.

2. Keep your house well-maintained. The last thing you need when you’re paying for your mortgage is another loan in the form of home improvement loan. A house that is well kept will last a few more years without repairs and thus save you the hassle and the expense of having to renovate your house. Invest on home inspections every few years and consider this preventive maintenance.

3. Put all your debts together. Put all your mortgage, credit card and other loans together in the same place. It will make payment easier and more convenient with having a single due date each and in some cases, you can save up on the interest rates if they come from the same lender. It’s also much easier to budget for one amount every month.

4. Get yourself an offset account. I should’ve included this in my previous article that discussed the basics of property investment and management. An offset is simply a bank account that is connected with your mortgage. You pay off part of your mortgage with the interest you earn from your account. That’s hitting two birds with one stone: you get to pay off parts of your mortgage loans (seems small in the monthly rates but believe me, this will be a huge help when you look at the bigger picture) and as well get a bank account that you can get anytime.

5. Be updated of the newest offers on mortgage loans. If the offer is good or beneficial for you, then by all means don’t hesitate to get a refinance. This is also beneficial for anyone planning on selling their houses themselves. Don’t be unaware, too, of whatever gains you’ve earned over the years of paying such as your equity. Knowing these things and how to use them to your advantage will surely slash a huge amount off your debt.

The Rights and Responsibilities of the Tenant

Here’s a guest post written by one of my colleagues who has been living in Malaysia since God knows when. His name is Jake Carruthers, a brilliant web developer who is also keen on investing on several Malaysian properties or two. He currently resides at a posh KLCC 6-star apartment. Here are his tips on how to be a great tenant.

I’ve been a tenant for the last I-don’t-know-how-long. As I am not quite ready to have my own house, tenancy is the best way to (1) be independent, (2) be free to do as I please and (3) not be a burden in my own family’s house. Over the years of investing on property and meeting different landlords, (I move places every time I change jobs), I have memorized by heart what every landlord should and should do. I could easily represent a rights group for apartment tenants around the world!

But then again, I realized, just as much rights as I have as a tenant, I have responsibilities. I have every right to demand of my landlord just as he – after all, this is a mutual relationship. I have had tons of landlords ever since I got here in Malaysia, but my relationship with my current one has been the most fruitful. I stay at a serviced apartment in KLCC after I found about it online at klcccondominiums.com.my, and I’m pretty thankful that I did.

So in the name of fairness, and a wake-up call to all tenants around the world, here are my lists of Tenant Rights and Responsibilities:

Rights:

  • A tenant has the right to have a livable room or apartment unit that is fairly priced for its size
  • A tenant has the right to demand security for his/her unit and property and the whole unit; the landlord must provide for this
  • A tenant has the right to demand the landlord for the maintenance and/or repair of the utilities, furnishings that come with the room (i.e. lights, water pipes, bathroom furnishings, etc)
  • The tenant has the  right to demand from the landlord for damages not incurred by the tenant (i.e. flood, fire, storm, robbery)
  • The tenant has the right to a legal contract that states the duration of her stay in the apartment unit or room, the monthly rental, any down payments and other fees that the rental comes with, as well as the binding rules and regulations on rent
  • The tenant has the right to end contract with possibility of refund if the landlord violates any of the stipulations on the contract

Responsibilities:

  • It is a tenant’s responsibility, foremost of all, to pay his or her monthly rents on time and in the exact amount. It is also his/her obligation – both moral and legal – to inform the landlord if she or he cannot make the payment on time.
  • It is a tenant’s responsibility to take care of his/her rented unit. Keeping the premises clean and the furnishings in tiptop shape are part of these responsibilities.
  • A tenant is supposed to obey whatever the conditions on the rent contract say. The landlord has the right to kick a tenant out for violation of such contracts.
  • The tenant is also responsible for whatever or whoever lives with him/her in the unit, as well as for everything he decides to put in it. This includes keeping the pets off the common areas or where they cause disturbance as well as on people who live with the main occupant and the visitors we take in once in a while. Oh, and playing disturbing and extremely loud music is a violation of this.

Just because we pay rent does not mean we own the house or we have the right over our landlords. Remember, do your research online before doing property acquisition to make sure that you’re making the right choice. Again, mutual benefits should also mean mutual respect. Here’s from one tenant to another!

Email your thoughts and opinions on this piece by Jake at jkcarruthers@gmail.net.

The Basics of Property Investment

I have always been driven to reach success by setting goals that will make me financially stable. Everyone wants a life of luxury, but not all are entitled to reach success because of unwise decisions and the occasional relapses towards procrastination and other distractions—believe me, I’ve been there. But struggling has always been part of the game. It’s just a matter of hard work, determination, discipline, and patience to get there. Of course, knowledge about the ins and outs are definitely essential—in life, growing up means not depending entirely on those thick textbooks you were required to read years ago—it takes a lot of guts, streetsmarts, and passion.

A Wise Choice

If you are just on the verge in building a bright future for yourself or for your family, making the right decisions are critical. There are a lot of opportunities presented to us daily, but success isn’t easy to find. Property investment and real estate are two great options that you may explore. Modern times have dictated how property management and dabbling in real estate can truly be a great addition to your investment portfolio. Forbes.com explained in detail how buying property in the United States at the moment can yield exceptional results.

Truth is—like in any investment, there will always be risks involved. However, real estate produces a high rate of investment, when done right. It’s not always an easy road, but it’s all worth it in the end. If you are planning to buy your second property as investment, make sure you have an idea on how it works. Here are some basics that may help you start planning for a successful future.

  • Find a credible real estate agent. It’s always a good idea to seek assistance from a real estate agent who knows his thing. Having a little help from someone who knows the ins and outs of property sure won’t hurt—it’s your hard-earned money we’re talking about here, and you will want to do anything to make sure that it will be put into good use. A good realtor knows where to start, which places and locations are in demand and have full potential, and also knows the right people to make things simpler and easier for you.
  • Research, research, research. Do you remember your most recent first date? Of course you do, no matter how horrible or awesome it went. I’m sure you did a little Googling(which is also a polite term for snooping) before so you may have an idea on what your date’s likes and dislikes are. In property investment, it’s important to have a background about the location you’re keen on—its neighbourhood, potential tenants, demographics, and site accessibility and convenience. Remember—knowledge is power!
  • Consider the location’s future. Sure, you see an inexpensive property for sale in the local newspaper—but have you considered the long-term benefits and location potential? Is the location fully-developed or still in the stages of development? My recent post about Malaysian real estate talks about the importance of a good location–the Marc Residences is a concrete example. Bottom-line is, you want to be future-oriented all the time if you want to become a successful real estate investor.

UnderConstruct

 

Closing Thoughts

Investing on property and dabbling in real estate is your step in becoming financially-stable, especially during these times, when the market is booming. The benefits definitely outweigh those little stumbles that you may face along the way. In time, and with enough experience, property investment will allow you to live that life of luxury that you have always deserved.

More on this Soon!
Avery

The State of Malaysian Real Estate

Many people emailed and asked me about my ideas and opinions about the Malaysia real estate market in 2013. The frank answer is that my crystal ball is broken, and for the first time in my many years as a real estate broker I have no clue how the Malaysia property market is going to perform this year.

BrickHouse The reason for this is simple enough, really. General election is coming soon, and as any seasoned real estate investor will tell you, the key to growth in any property market is political stability. Now there’s a general “wait and see” attitude among property buyers and sellers, and as a result, the property market is suffering.

But still, I remain bullish with the prospects of the Malaysian real estate market. Land is scarce, especially in places like Penang where prices of properties have jumped over the recent years. There are pockets of growth at places such as Mont Kiara, Subang Jaya (especially in SS15), Bangsar, Sentul and the famed KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre). The key is to identify these hot areas, and carefully research these properties. With the availability of online tools (such as MetroSherpa.com which is a map search tool) and property reviews, it is a breeze to gather data about real estate developments and land properties.

There is also huge growth in terms of real estate agencies over the past few years, with huge agencies such as Reapfield and Hartamas dominating the mass market. There are also boutique property agencies which focuses on the higher end of the market. Correspondingly, commercial real estate is also growing despite a glut of office space for rent in the Klang Valley area, especially in Damansara Heights and KL Sentral.

If you are looking to invest in your very first property then my advice to you is to stay put – at least until the general election is over. With political stability property growth is a sure thing. Also, consider investing in foreign properties – markets such as the United Kingdom (i.e. London) and Singapore are hot with Malaysian real estate investors. If you have sufficient cashflow then consider going overseas to look for real estate investment opportunities.

Now looking at the domestic market, consider investing in places like Mont Kiara. This area was super hot a few years ago with some choice developments by reputable developers such as Sunrise Berhad, but is relatively quiet over the last two years or so with some slight overheating of the market. This area is popular with expatriates, and continues to fetch good rental prices. Commercial developments such as One Mont Kiara are popular, but older places such as Plaza Mont Kiara is already showing some fatigue. Still, Mont Kiara gets my vote of confidence given its strategic location near the center of Kuala Lumpur and also its position as the number one preference for expatriate families next to Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Some good Mont Kiara condominiums are MK10 and Lumina. Go check them out!

Avery’s Maiden Thought – Landed Property or Not?

Hello, Avery here – from your friendly neighborhood web design studio! I am going to talk to you today about the relative advantages and disadvantages of landed properties. These are the considerations I made when I started building up my web studio. I had wanted to rent a service apartment to be converted into my studio and then I had second thoughts…

Property Decisions…

Buying a property should never be a light decision. One of the main issues that a buyer will need to think about before buying one is whether he should look at condominiums or landed properties. Find out the advantages and disadvantages of landed properties here… in my humble opinion of course. 😉

The Advantages

  • Better Appreciation

Landed properties are known to appreciate better than condominiums in terms of value as more time goes by. In fact, this particular trend is seen in the majority of landed properties out there.

  • More Space

Landed properties are also a much better choice when you look at the living space itself.That was my main consideration when I was shopping around for a place for my web studio.

We used to be renting a place near the Sunway Pyramid shopping centre, but we have since moved on to Desa Parkcity

We used to be renting a place near the Sunway Pyramid shopping centre, but we have since moved on to Desa Parkcity

While condominium owners only own their units and have to share certain common areas with the rest of the residents in the condominium, landed property owners actually own the house and the land that the house is on. This means that they can do whatever that they want to with the land.

Some of the things that you could do with your land if you have a landed property is create a landscaped garden or simply use the extra space to rear your pets. These are some things that condominium owners cannot do. Some condominium owners aren’t even allowed to have pets in the building to begin with! This poses a problem as I am quite attached to Rover and Sammy, my two golden retrievers. :p

The Disadvantages

  • Higher Price

If the most important thing for you is to find a property with a low price, then you might not want to opt for a landed property. Generally speaking, condominiums are known to be much cheaper compared to landed properties, though this will also depend on the layout and size of the properties. In some cases, for example the condominiums in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) area, properties may have sky-high prices – indeed they can be more expensive than bungalows in the suburbs. For more information, check out http://klcccondominiums.com.my – a good resource on condos and apartments in KLCC.

  • Fewer Amenities

Some buyers might not be interested in buying landed properties because they do not have the extra amenities that condominiums tend to have in their pre-packaged sale prices. Upmarket condominiums usually have top-notch facilities that fit the top living standards of the people who live in them, for example, such as badminton and tennis courts, a swimming pool, a gymnasium and 24-hour CCTV security systems.

Condo

Think about it.. Luxury or practicality?

If you own a landed property and want the same conveniences as mentioned above, then you will have to join a gym or a sports center, as well as buy your own security system.

  • More Maintenance

Condominium owners do not need to worry about maintenance a lot of the time because the property’s upkeep will be dealt with by the condominium’s management company. This will cost a fixed monthly sum, though.

The Verdict

In the end, the choice to look at condominiums or landed properties will depend on why you want to buy one in the first place, though. If you want to invest in a property, then you might want to opt for a condominium since it will yield a higher return on investment. Plus, it costs less to maintain a condominium unit overall.

However, if you plan on living in the property that you buy, then it would be best to opt for a landed property due to its higher appreciation and bigger living space. In the end, it will simply boil down to your personal living style and preferences, though.

As for me, I finally settled at this place near my house called Desa ParkCity. It’s an awesome place, and I like it a lot. If you wanna come around, give me a call and coffee’s on me. 🙂 Here’s a handy map –


View Larger Map

Much love,

-Avery