Let The Good Times Roll

This is indeed a good time to invest in properties in Malaysia. If you are in real estate investment and you are on the lookout for good payouts, then look no further than this strategically located country in Southeast Asia.

We have just set up an office in Kuala Lumpur to house a group of 25 realtors and real estate agents to service our ever growing clientele consisting of property investors in Malaysia. If you are interested come get in touch with us and we will be happy to discuss your goals when it comes to investing in real estate and other related financial instruments.

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There are many opportunities when it comes to selecting a particular piece of property in Malaysia (particularly in the Klang Valley) – whether you want to buy a place for you to live in, or to rent out. You can also build up a portfolio of properties and wait for the capital appreciation many years down the road.

Some are leery of the current property prices – in particular these areas -

  • Mont Kiara
  • Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC condo)
  • Bangsar
  • Seputeh
  • Puchong

There is definitely a property bubble currently, and you are well advised to keep track of the prices of house for sale in Malaysia so that you always get a good deal. Real estate is always in good demand, and represents a good deal especially when compared to other alternatives (mutual funds, stocks, etc). Looking for property for sale in Malaysia is not hard, but to the foreign investor it can be really tricky because he typically is not well versed with the Malaysian culture. This is where property consultants (like us) can play an important role. We can link you up with local realtors and property agents who will drive a hard bargain for you.

Update: The recent plateau-ing of prices of high end properties in Kuala Lumpur means that real estate around the KLCC area as well as Mont Kiara and Bangsar is becoming more affordable. Units in areas such as Marc Residence as well as OneKL are becoming cheaper, and it’s really a good time now to start investing in premium real estate in Malaysia. If you need advisory services then email our in-house property broker, Adam Chan here – adam@willoaded.com and he will be able to advise you. Note that Adam’s specialty is in business space and asset management.

My Favorite Property Portal Guru – Simon Baker!

I am a huge fan of property portals like Trulia, Zoopla and Zillow as well as the venerable REA in Australia! There are many success factors when it comes to building a property portal, and the pre-eminent guru in scaling property portals is ex-McKinsey Simon Baker.

I have always thought of launching property portals myself but I do not have the experience. The learning curve will be steep, but I am willing to learn. In this respect, I hope to leverage on the expertise of the others who have been there and done it all.

I am not sure if I can even get a response from Simon, but I will try. :)

Percy

Wiiloaded’s Guide To Offer Acceptance (Kinda Funky)

Writing your offer and sending it for the Malaysia home seller’s approval is getting one step closer to getting the house that you desire; what could go wrong at this stage anyway? Well, let me tell you – a lot. One of the biggest things that could go wrong here is your offer getting disapproved.

If your offer falls behind someone else’s, you’d end up having to go a few steps backwards with another house with another set of negotiations, new set of people to talk to (or at least for your agent), and extending the waiting long just a teeny bit further, all of which are of course, frustrating to say the least.

This problem is quite prevalent among Malaysia property because of the government curbs are kicking in with full effect from 2014 Budget, and so it’s important to reject-proof your offer! Get in touch with us if you need more advisory! 

So the question is, can you reject-proof your offer? Are there ways that you can make sure your offer gets accepted?

Thankfully, YES. Here are five important tips thanks to our seasoned Wiiloaded consultant Winnie Jo (a specialist in Mont Kiara properties – in particular, Matahari,  Kiaramas Sutera and Seni Mont Kiara):-

5. Make sure everything is on the offer. Date of payment, mode of payment, amount to be paid, down payment amount, mortgage provider, contingencies – the more things they find lacking or missing on your offer, the more reason they have to reject it outright. So consult with your real estate broker or your real estate lawyer as to how to make your offer complete.

4. Take time to talk and negotiate. This step is more than just getting a negotiated, bargained price. This is about knowing what your home seller expects from you especially on the part of the contingencies. In a way, make this the verbal part of your offer in that your  written offer becomes nothing more than a formal and legal reflection of what you’ve agreed upon verbally.

3. Attach the necessary mortgage-related papers on your written offer. Everything mortgage-related is a good indication and promise that you are serious about buying the house and that you have the capacity to pay for the house. Make sure that your pre-approval papers, signed mortgage papers from your agent among others are attached to your offer.

You may want to also see this article from Realestateexpress.com – it has got some good details on technicalities on real estate financials.

2. Get your written offer in your seller’s hands as soon as possible. Don’t wait any further to have your papers ready. Get them to your seller as soon as possible so he can review it promptly as well. You may have to wait but at least you know that you’re not waiting in vain. Besides, if your seller is trying to get the house sold as soon as possible, your fast delivery of the written offer will beat every other good (aka more expensive) offer.

1. Make a personal letter addressed to your home seller. They are homeowners, not hardcore businessmen who do not put a personal light on this home sale. So why not approach them this way too? Apart from all the legal and mortgage papers that you are attaching to your written offer, make a personal letter that tells them why you would love to be the next owners of their house. This is simple, this is nothing expensive, but if you do it the right way and touch them from one homeowner and head of family to another, who can say no?

Things you might consider too!

I conducted a research for some ideas for my next blog post and luckily I saw this very interesting article from channel4.com. It says:

“Look To The Future
Thinking ahead is a must when buying, so don’t just consider what you want from your house now – factor in what future buyers might want, too.

Even if you don’t have kids, your future buyers might, so try to pick an area with good schools. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a gym-dodger – potential purchasers may want one locally. No car? No matter – inadequate parking in an area will discourage car owners, so remember to bear this in mind too.”

Read more here at: http://www.channel4.com/4homes/buy-sell/buying-property/buying-advice/how-to-spot-an-area-on-the-up-08-05-22

That is very right, don’t just focus on the present but also try to consider what will happen next :)

I’ll post some new articles soon, I know it’s been a long since my last blog post. Please keep in touch, thanks!

Stress! Stress! Stress!

Real estate can be a very stressful industry to be in. And especially if you’re not in it professionally, it can seriously take the best out of you. And this is the case for most, if not all, regular home owners who have to part with their beloved homes.

According to a report that we have received last week (click here for the PDF), Malaysia real estate continues to be challenging. Therefore I am not surprised if home buying remains number one stress among Malaysians, ahead of petrol hike worries and the ongoing spat between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

HA HA!

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A nice home in Wangsa Maju. Believe it!

Jokes aside: home selling is one very, very stressful ordeal. It is a strain physically, mentally, and believe it or not, even emotionally. Physically, you have to pack your stuff, look for your next home (if you have yet to find it), and prepare your home for the sale (and that includes scrubbing it spotless to make a good sale). Mentally, you’d have to be up and about deciding on how much your house should sell, and which broker to hire, among all the other technical and legal things to worry and whine about. And everyone knows that having to leave a home and all its memories and great neighbors can seriously tug at the heartstrings of even the toughest toughie.

Wiiloaded’s resident chief consultant (and sometime tea lady) Nicola Aniston (she specializes in Johor properties) spoke to us during our annual WIILOADED CONFERENCE earlier this year and she gave us the following tips. All for free!

Relieve Malaysian Home Selling Stress! Tips From Nicola Aniston, WIILOADED EXTRAORDINAIRE

According to Nicola, as with any other types of stresses we encounter every day, there are ways on how to relieve home selling stresses. Here are some ways you can do to manage and relieve your stress on having to part with your home:

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Nicola when she’s too stressed about meeting her sales quota!!

  • Think of what lies ahead. The biggest reason why people find it hard to let go of their homes is because they think too much about the homes that they’re leaving. Early on, train your mind to look forward to the joys of a new home, anew neighborhood, and the new memories that you are going to make. Sure it may be a lot to take in, to leave the home where you’ve built your life around, but it is a whole new chapter of your lives and new memories to make. Don’t get too stressed out reading about problems in the Malaysian press… particularly about abandoned projects!!
  • Prepare everything that you may need. Last minute rushes are never a good thing and are in fact the most common causes of stress. Clean out and repair your home as early as six months before putting it on sale. Have the papers ready about three months ahead too! You should also have prepared a report on the house’s history to make sure that you have time to check and verify it. If you need some references, see this excellent report on myHabitat (not my site).
  • Never miss or postpone an appointment with the important people involved in the sale. Find your real estate agent at least a month early; find your real estate attorney about the same time. And don’t forget to delay finding and meeting your home inspector. Your buyers might require that and it is just the right way to go.
  • Keep the Malaysian house clutter free all the time, and make it always look move-in ready. Your potential home buyers can come in any time and it is never a great idea for a home seller to reject a home visit just because he thinks it’s inconvenient. Remember, they have their own schedule to follow too. So to avoid having to cram every single time you get a house visit call from your agent, keep the clutter off of your house. Think like you’ve already moved out.

Don’t subject yourself to these stresses. Learn the tricks of getting through the home selling process without all that hassle.

Remember… money is not everything. Other things are important too (your family, your health, the size of your dong), and don’t lose sight of the big picture!

nicola.aniston@willoaded.com

Getting Sober… Credit Wise :)

Hi guys! It’s been so long since my last blog post, today we are  going to talk about how to start from a clean slate, finance-wise. Hope you enjoy. :)

One of the most important factors in getting a mortgage is a clean and clear credit record. See, more than your current financial capacity, your credit history tells of your borrowing and purchasing attitudes. This will give your prospective mortgage lenders an inkling of an idea on how well you can handle as big a loan as mortgage. I’ve spoken to many lenders from Maybank, CIMB, Hong Leong Bank and Bank Simpanan Nasional - and this is what they tell me.

I LOVE Malaysia

According to Lisa Tai Poh Lin from Maybank, if you have had a history of repossession of any kind, recurring overdue payments, or anything similar, your lenders might less than likely approve of your loan. It makes you seem like a bad and irresponsible borrower – someone who would risk a bad investment on their part. And after the great meltdown in the real estate market in recent history, you cannot exactly expect them to be lax about these things.

That is why Malaysian real estate purchasing and mortgage experts (like Ahyat “Abalone” Rose and Kenny Cheow) advise on clearing out your credit history prior to applying for a mortgage. This may take time, this may even cost you something, but it will be well worth all the trouble when you see your mortgage application approved.

Starting From A Clean Slate…

Let’s consider this hypothetical scenario. You wanted to buy IOI’s very exotic 16 Sierra down in Puchong South but the money you have is not enough. You need mortgage. But first you need to clear your credit record first. Here are some tips on how to clear your credit record to get a better mortgage:

  • Go to your credit officer and obtain a copy of your credit history. Check to see the accuracy of your credit records and make a record of things that you’d like to dispute with the officer. This is where keeping a record of your payments and purchases are important. According to Raymond Tai Yee Long (from Big Ears Lenders, a credit company based out of Kajang, Selangor), ”Not only could you use them for your tax claims in the future; they are also very useful for disputing these kinds of things.”
  • Pay off your remaining debts. This is probably the costliest of all the steps in clearing your credit record. Prior to making an application, the best way to clear up your history is one that says you don’t have any other debt that could compete with your income (and likely your clear capacity to pay for a mortgage loan). This sends your mortgage officer the message that you are actually embracing the gravity of a mortgage loan and you are clearing up space as far as debt is concerned so you could accommodate your new mortgage.
  • Pay for a better credit rating. Not much of bribery, part of the process of getting a clear record would be to pay for your new clear slate. This will make all your bad records out of sight of your mortgage officers – forever. Of course, this may cost you a lot but it may just be well worth it.
  • Cut off other avenues for borrowing and credit. Who needs too many credit cards anyway? Just the same as paying off any remaining debts, cutting off some less than important credit cards (and other loans, of course), you are showing your mortgage officer that you are making yourself more capable of paying off for your mortgage by reducing your other costs as well as other avenues and tools that create more costs.

You may have a lot of paperwork to do to achieve this but it may just be well worth it. If you need more advice on clearing your credit, contact these good folks (whom we here at Wiiloaded know personally) -

  • Chia Choon Toi (CIMB Bank, Kelana Jaya) – 012-3984782
  • Axl Hai (UOB Bank, Bandar Puteri) – 016-2099834
  • Kenny Cheow Kien Yee (Kenny Cheow Credit Counselling Service), 010-204498
  • Mah Chow Hoi (RHB Bank Damansara Buloh), 012-3922881

Remember to say that you have been referred to by Dickson Dai Loke Chart, Wiiloaded Consultants for a good deal. :)

WIILOADED EXPOSE! Things Your Real Estate Agent Won’t Tell You!

WARNING! THIS IS PERHAPS THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL BLOG POST THAT WE HAVE EVER PUT UP. IF YOU FEEL OFFENDED EASILY, OR IF YOU ARE FROM ANOTHER MALAYSIA REAL ESTATE AGENCY, THEN KINDLY EXIT. THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING.

They know their cards and they know quite well how to play it on you. The better the realtor, the better they are at talking to you – making things seem better for you, without at all divulging the littlest hints of how it is going to be so much better for them.

Things A Malaysian Real Estate Agent Won’t Tell You

real estate agent

No, Willoaded Consultants do NOT like like this! Thank you!

  1. You can actually negotiate on the commission fee. This is the biggest drawback to getting a realtor to sell your home for you. While it is truly understandable that real estate agents should get what they have worked hard for, there was nothing in the books that says you could not try to negotiate and bargain on it. On average, Malaysian real estate agents get between 2% and 3% of the total home sales which will then be divided between himself and the other bit players in the deal including but not limited to the buyer’s agent and the broker. They deserve the commission but you can always ask for a friendlier fee, especially if the home sale is where your next home depends on so negotiate before inking that contract.
  2. You may not exactly need an open house. Open Malaysian houses have proven to be efficient ways for realtors to advertise themselves, more than advertise the house itself to its potential buyers. It’s a good option, could possibly bring in some people but in essence it really is not necessary. If you don’t have the time, the energy, nor the desire to hold out an open house, then don’t hold one. It would hardly make any difference on the sale success. You see, the developers of Taman Puchong Utama didn’t even bother to put up a show house but the stock still sold like hot cakes!
  3. Your real estate agent cannot fully assess the value of your Malaysian home. Hire a professional appraiser to get a sounder, more accurate number for the current price of the house. The current market value of the house cannot be pinpointed in just a single glance; a trained professional will give you the number that will make your house sell quicker. Also, a good, honest and objective professional opinion on how much your home is actually worth will give you an in depth perspective of what improvements you may need to make to improve your house’s value in the market.
  4. There may be an administrative fee or something similar to go with the commission fee. After all, the real estate agents do most if not all of the work. Some charge it, some don’t. So be sure to check out every single thing stipulated in the contract so these types of things don’t take you by surprise.
  5. You can actually sell/buy your Malaysian home yourself. If you have the time, the guts and the patience for the job, you can actually pull of a For Sale By Owner stint and save you the cash on commissions. Of course that would be a lot of work but if you have the skills and the desire to do it, you may do so. But still you can do it by yourself, like posting or advertise in newspapers or sites like GoodPlace.my or iProperty.my. Agents are highly recommended but they are technically not necessary. I know I am getting some really bad reviews after this but I don’t care!

Hate email? Then contact Percy!

percy.lui@willoaded.com

Wiiloaded’s Managing Director On Buying Repossessed Homes

Today’s article is contributed by Wiiloaded Consultants’ Managing Director and Non-Executive Chairman, Roger Dai Choon Doi, MBA (Westminster Academy), Hon PhD (University Of Northern Malaya), MBSA, A1REP, FICBA, Member of The International Academy Of Real Estate Consultants (TIAREC).

With home prices rising higher than ever, more and more prospective home buyers are looking at the possibility of getting repossessed homes from banks to save up. While these are great and amazing reasons to buy repossessed homes (one is that they are relatively cheaper than regular homes, another is that the negotiations are generally faster since you are only dealing with the bank that owns it), there are also great reasons not to.

For one, not a few of these repossessed homes are in less than stellar combination. One of the most common reasons is that these homes, usually more expensive than what the previous owners could actually afford, are rented out or shared with tons of people (even more than the ideal capacity of the house) to cut on costs. Wear and tear of the home is increased twofold, maybe even threefold in comparison with a regularly maintained home with an average number of occupants. Another reason is lack in maintenance, due to the exact same reason – cutting on costs. Only logically, if an owner can hardly make regular mortgage payments, you cannot expect him to have extra for repairs and maintenance. Lastly, and most unfortunately, some homeowners get too frustrated upon getting their notice of repossession that they vandalize the home right before moving out.

But if you’re still keen on buying repossessed homes, at least arm yourself with these helpful tips:

  • Only go for homes whose damages you are willing to put up with. Banks don’t have the energy, effort, and interest in fixing repossessed homes. In our perspective, they’ve already lost enough money from repossession alone. For these banks/lenders, the ideal buyers of these homes are property investors who buy ‘bad’ houses to restore and resell at a much higher price. You do not have the depth of the pockets of these investors and you’re not selling it so there’s no way your restoration expenses will be returned. Get in touch with a quality real estate agent if you have your doubts. Just because the house is cheap does not mean that it comes inexpensively. Do a check and balance of the current value of the house against the projected costs of restoring the house.
  • Do a background check on the previous owners as well as the paperwork of the house. As I’ve earlier mentioned, the bank does not have the energy and interest of making the house look interesting to you as much as a regular homeowner would. You know you’ve done this, if you rented out houses or apartments (I’ve had experienced this when I rented a unit at the Suria Stonor– previous owners weren’t able to clear out previous bank charges, leaving me in trouble.) Especially if you do not have an agent, you have to do the research yourself. There may be other legal obstacles or any other similar problems that may come from the sale of the house, so it would be best to do a thorough research before making anything legal and binding.
  • Banks are harder to negotiate with than regular homeowners. That is why there is always a tendency for you to lose the house even in deep negotiation stage if someone comes along with a better offer, you’d lose it in a snap. While this could just as well happen when dealing with regular homeowners, it is more likely to happen in dealing with banks. So when trying to get a repossessed home, and you are certain you want it, get things on paper as soon as possible so you don’t lose it when you’re already deep into it.

Questions? Email me through my secretary Amy “DD” Yip – daipo@wiiloaded.com

Wiiloaded Home Seller Guide

Note: this is the standard home seller guide which we provide to our home sellers who engage us to sell their beloved properties. If you need a copy of our extensive WIILOADED GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR HOUSE LIKE A PRO, send a blank email to shaftme@wiiloaded.com

Making your house spotless clean or using the best and most impressive interior accents and design is something that would help your house. But they do not necessarily help your house sell quickly. If you’re in a rush to sell your house, for whatever reason including necessity or just to sell it right before the market turns bad on the sellers’ side, you’ll need more than just aesthetics to make a sale.

Dollarzz

Here’s the 411 on selling your house and making $$$ fast

See, everyone else can do what you’re doing, design-wise. Chances are, other homes are better than yours.  Or probably you’re getting some stiff competition from high-end residential areas like Taman Puchong Utama or condominium units such as One Menerung, Bangsar. They’d have better amenities, more exquisite-looking spaces, or fresher paint. Malaysians are really demanding right now, and given the property market that has gone from bad to worse, it’s really worth it to go the extra mile.

If fast selling is what you’re after, you’ll need to touch on the buyer’s other senses outside of what they see. Like a good marketer, you’ll need to touch and create a need for them – the need to buy the house urgently.

Outside of that, you’ll need to make the buyer feel like they will benefit from the deal better than you would. Somehow, state your words in a way that would make them feel like you are only making a deal as good as that because you really are in a hurry and not that it’s your ideal price.

Apart from that, here other helpful tips on selling your house faster (compiled from Wiiloaded’s many years of experience in Malaysia real estate!!) -

Create a higher price in mind, and lower it from there.

While a lot of people real estate gurus say it is never advisable to go way beyond your house worth when you’re trying to sell, in some ways it is also beneficial. Say, your house’s current market value is $200,000. Make up a price higher than that, say at $250,000. When someone asks how much your house is sold for, you can say you’re selling it for only $200,000, although its value is about $250,000 because you’re trying to get it sold faster. That’s not lying, that’s marketing.

Sell your house like mall merchandise.

So you’re actually selling your house at $200,000. If you want to make it seem more attractive, go for something that makes it less like $199,999 or $199,995. This may sound ridiculous but trust me, it works up the psyche. It’s not how it looks to you; it’s about how it’s perceived in the brain of your potential buyers.

Tell your agent valuable information about the house – literally, valuable.

Don’t make up stories, go for the facts. The tiles are Italian ceramic? The floors are made of hardwood? Or the hinges on every door is brass? All the door knobs are uniform and are limited edition from a top brand? Is your home energy efficient? Go ahead and talk about it! Your agent will share the exact same information about your house and it will all work to your advantage! This will give your house an edge over the others.

Make it look and sound ready to move in.

This goes beyond staging. To encourage your buyer that your house is ready to move in, use words like ‘you know, this will make a perfect room for your son. The cabinets have all been fixed and repainted and it would easily fit all his things I bet’ or that ‘we’ve cleaned up the attic so you don’t have to worry about dirty attics when you move in’ even before they make a final deal. It instantly makes them feel welcome.

Contact our home selling specialist Margaret Choi Siew Lynn (012-2918881) or come look for us at MAPEX (Booth 222)!

Making Your Home Energy Efficient – Contributed By The Malaysian Association Of Green Builders

Malaysian Association Of Green Builders (MAGB) Periodical (May issue)

To download your copy of the periodical (free), click here:- http://issuu.com/guerrerohowe/docs/gbd28_issuu 

When it comes to home energy efficiency, the first thing you need to know is that the smallest things matter. From the light bulbs to your large heating and ventilating systems, the simplest effort on saving energy matters a lot.

So here are some easy and largely doable tips in making your homes energy efficient:

  • Hire an energy auditor.

The foremost thing that causes energy inefficiency in homes is leaks and cracks as well as damages in your HVAC. No one can do a check for leaks and energy wastage better than an energy auditor. There are, apparently, energy auditors in Malaysia who can help you out– if fact, they help me set up my dream place in becoming the next big thing in green living. :D They can help you assess which areas of your home electric systems need to be addressed.

  • Make the switch from incandescent to fluorescent.

Incandescent bulbs are sooo yesterday. Fluorescent bulbs are cheaper, more energy efficient, and the white light from these bulbs are much brighter and easier on the eyes. Most eco-friendly properties and buildings use fluorescent to save up on bills and utilities. Read more about this on our previous article about going green.

  • Replace old appliances.

Old electronic devices, because of the less advanced technology, carry a less efficient mechanism. Today’s appliance makers are aware of the growing trend of consumers of becoming more environmentally conscious so they start to make appliances that adhere to the Energy Star standards on energy efficiency. Refrigerators, televisions, air conditioners and heaters are the most costly of appliances, energy-wise. You may want to ditch these for Energy Star-rated appliances. You’ll see the cost of your investment come back to you in the form of your much smaller electric bill.

  • Work for better insulation.

Leaks on your air ducts are the most common and most notorious causes of huge electric bills. These leaks cause the warm (or cool) air from your heater and air conditioners to escape. When the air escapes, your machines are forced to increase its work and thereby increase its energy consumption, and thus your bill. And all because of your leaks in the air ducts. Repair these leaks and then provide additional insulation so you can maximize the use of your appliances and reduce the tab on your bill. You can also provide additional insulation on your walls and attics! You’re limited only by your own imagination!

  • Invest in solar panels.

Solar panels are expensive. But if you can afford it, you had better make that investment. A good real estate agent can refer you to contractors who can install solar panels to make things easier for you. Not only are you independent from extremely high electric bills; you can suffice for your energy consumption needs even when the rest of your area are having blackouts.

ADDENDUM:

Some of the places which might have already been certified: