Hi, it’s Min
Pretty excited to write my first post in here– and I think it’s only appropriate to share with you some tricks and tips on when to buy real estate. I stumbled upon this New York Times article that I thought I’d cover more ground on. Real estate is something that is always good to invest in. Sure the selling/buying prices fluctuate every now and then but there is always a demand for it. As the real estate bigwigs put it, as long as we keep having babies and adding up to the population, someone will always need a place to live in. Timing in real estate is universal– whether you live in Detroit, or in Asia– you have to know when’s the best time to attack.
Buying real estate property is more a question of when, not why. When is it the best time to buy real estate property? The key to knowing this is by first understanding the Property Market Cycle. This is the more elaborate (quite easy to understand if you ask me) trend of supply and demand in the real estate property world.
So here’s a very simple almost-nutshell explanation of the property market cycle.
The Property Market Cycle
There comes a time when properties start selling at low prices. The prices are so low that the buyers flock the market to get their hands on them. This is called the buyers’ market because the market works at the advantage of the buyers. While the demand is rising, the sellers will slowly adjust the prices higher bit by bit. Imagine a weighing scale where the buyers are on one side and the price is on the other. The more buyers there are, the higher the price goes. This is leading to the phase called sellers’ market, and for very apparent reasons it is called such.
The prices get so high that the buyers think it’s getting ridiculously high they stop buying. This is a common scenario in the Asian real estate market, especially in Malaysia. The sellers will try to keep the prices up for some time, to see if someone would still take the bait. Many property reviews acknowledge this trend, and there are instances where no one budges – sellers won’t sell at a lower price, and buyers won’t move a penny for an investment because of the ridiculously high prices. This is called a stalemate.
So much property– but when is the best time to buy?
Because of the low sales, the sellers will eventually start readjusting the prices lower and lower and lower until it becomes attractive enough again for buyers.
When to Buy
The buyers’ market phase is what we have to look out for. And knowing the telltale signs that it is coming is the most vital part. Check for when the sales are going low and the prices are getting high. The prices are bound to go low after some time. Sometimes, the stalemate goes on for a bit too long that when the sellers finally decide to give in, the price drops really low.
Watch out for when the sales are low and start to pick up pace again. This is the best time to buy.
But that does not mean you jump right in and buy! Unless you are moneyed well enough to pay for it in cash, you may want to first look for the best loan offers to back your investment up. Otherwise, a high interest rate on loans would put to waste the great deal you got on the property.
Other Indicators of a Good Market
It would also be helpful if you keep yourself updated on the movements in the stock market. It also greatly affects the movements in the prices of the real estate industry.
Just bear in mind that when it comes to buying real estate investments, timing is everything. Oh, maybe some bargaining skills too.
Do you have any other tips you’d like to share when it comes to buying real estate? Share it with us by emailing email@example.com. Who knows– you might see your story on the next post!
We have not been posting updates lately because we are busy revamping this website. There are many activities in the pipeline for 2014 – notably, a visit to FIABCI. We are pretty excited about it!
Meanwhile, it is nearly the time to elect the new committee which is going to govern NoDutDol. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for nomination forms. Also, if you have got feedback on our latest guide (5 property listings to avoid) please also email me.
We’ll keep you posted!
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Real estate agents, like many other types of marketers, are great with dealing with people. They are among the friendliest people in the economy – they know how to talk to you and they know how to make you talk. While this can be good, especially if you’re looking for someone you can be fully comfortable with, you have to realize that he/she is still your real estate agent and not exactly your friend.
The business part of your relationship with your Malaysian agent will always, always prevail over everything else no matter how friendly you guys have become with each other. Anything you say can and will affect the home buying or selling process and outcome. While it is important to maintain a good and open communication line with your agent, there are things that are better spared off the sharing and get-to-know-each-other part.
And that is the exact reason why it is very important for you as the client to practice self preservation. Do not divulge every single detail about your life and your home buying and home selling to your real estate agent – and only for very good reasons.
Things You Can Skip to Tell Your Real Estate Agent
After reading When Is The Best Time to Buy Real Estate, here are some of the things that you can actually skip telling your real estate agent about – whether you’re selling or looking to buy a home:
- Your maximum and minimum amounts. When you’re selling a Malaysian home, you don’t really have to tell the realtor how low you are rearing to go. And when you’re buying a home, you don’t have to tell them exactly how much you’re willing to spend on a house. While it is okay to show them you are flexible, you don’t have to tell them exactly how far you’re willing to go just so they make more effort into giving you something that gets closest to your ideal price and home like some post of Zefer Hill Residence.
- The most nitty-gritty details of why you’re moving out. The nastiest details that the law does not require you to tell your agent about should be kept to yourself. Your agent does not really need to know that you’re avoiding a flirty neighbor who is about to break your marriage or you are running away from someone or something. Selling a home under these circumstances will make the agent, and in return the buyers, think that you are actually rushing to buy a home and will then make you more attractive to low offers. Buying a home under these circumstances are not any better either. Be the regular buyer who is not rushing but is not dallying either. Your agent is your agent and not your spouse or your yoga classmate.
- The details of your financial records and history. Unless it affects the monetary part of your home buying/home selling, your agent does not need to know these things. They don’t know how much you have in the bank, what your other properties are, what sort of bills you’re paying or how many bank accounts you have. As long as it does not concern them or the process, keep it to yourself.
You may want to see this article from RD.com. If you have anything to ask or to inquire, email at email@example.com. Thank you
Everybody wants to close a home deal quickly. I mean everybody – the homeowner, the agent, and the buyer – even more so if you are the buyer. On your end, you have so many things to do at hand after closing the deal. You still have to move out and move in and neither task is easy. Not to mention, you’ve already spent so much time looking for the perfect home and any delay after that is just most unwelcome.
Apart from its being convenient, longer and dragging home buying transactions are expensive. All those trips to wherever you need to go and all that time between moving out and moving in including storage rental can take a toll on your budget. That is why it is best to close a deal as quickly as possible, given that you’ve already found the home that you want.
When it’s the best time to buy real estate, here are tips on how to end and close a deal more quickly:
Prepare your down payment. You won’t be thinking about buying a home or a condominium if you know that you do not have the down payment for it. Are you sure that you can afford that downpayment at the Meritz? Or that fancy vacation house in Penang? Make sure the downpayment is on hand and ready even long before you’ve found a house to buy. When you’re ready to get things signed and sealed, at least you just need to get this out of the safe and onto your mortgage lender.
Inform your mortgage lender as soon as you’ve found the right house. This is the most practical way to do things: Get signed up and approved for a mortgage to know how much you can afford on a monthly, look for a house, and then inform your lender/bank that you’ve found the right house. Granting that you’ve gone through the first two steps, do not waste any minute getting the last step done. Your mortgage lender will have you
Find a good lawyer early on. As soon as you start your house hunt, find yourself a good lawyer too. You cannot do without a lawyer and in fact, they might be the make or break of your home purchasing endeavor. So make sure you have a lawyer – and a good one at that – to make sure he’s one call away when you’ve finally found the right house to buy.
Always have extra cash ready for other closing costs. While you can opt to include your closing costs in the monthly mortgage fees, there are costs that just could not be included in it. Do not let these surprise fees catch you unguarded; always have the backup cash to handle these kinds of needs. Also, get a good faith estimate that includes the closing costs as early as possible so you know how much cash you might need to close the deal.
Don’t wait for “tomorrow” or “later” to do things. Do not attract delays by delaying your actions. Act swiftly and at once as soon as you’ve made the decision. Sign whatever needs to be signed, bring all the papers to the table when they are needed, be where you need to be all the time. Procrastination is your biggest enemy here. Don’t let it win over you.
Lastly, always be a nice customer to your mortgage lender and a friendly buyer to the home seller and their agent; trust me, they’ll be more than happy to help you only for being kind.
Are you looking for a home to buy? Do you know which homes are worth your time and which ones are totally better off left alone on the listing?
The thing about some home buyers – most of which are rookies – is that they get so excited about buying their new home and getting the whole process done that they just go at everything that they think is worth their time.
So they end up going after everything – spending time in open houses, meeting owners, meeting agent after agent after agent – and wasting time, effort, and energy and maybe overhead costs in the process. The most common mistakes they make is going after: (1) the cheapest home in the listing; and (2) the one with the best photo.
More often than not, they are a huge disappointment and by the time the home buyer realizes this, he’s already spent time and effort on it. Time lost. Energy lost. Too late now, as that other option to buy a condominium unit instead at myHabitat is gone, because it has already been bought.
So before you get so excited about the first photo on the listing, here are the 5 types of houses on property listings that you had better crash off your homes to visit list:
- The house that’s been there the longest. We all know that the best time to buy real estate isn’t always– and there’s this one property that seems to “sit pretty” for far too long among other houses for sale.There’s a reason why the houses are at the bottom – they did not sell. And homes that have been on the list for longer than three months is a red flag; one that’s been there for over six months should be totally off your list. There’s definitely something about the house that makes prospective buyers shy away from it and you definitely would not want to add up to the list of turned off buyers. Who knows – it can be anything from bad owners, sloping homes, bad neighborhood, and pest infestation.
- The cheapest one around. Do ignore this warning if you are actually looking for bad homes to renovate and remodel. That would be okay, since in that case, you’d likely be aware of the bad sides of the house. But if the house looks decent and the price does not seem to match the look, you might not get the ‘good deal’ you think you’re getting.
- The too-good-to-be-true home. Some realtors and some owners have had a little too much time and creative juices to spare that they make the best, most impressive thing on their listing. If the home is too perfect – too impossibly perfect – be warned. It may not be as good as it seems unless you live in a Utopia. This is much easier for the experienced home buyer because they would have realistic expectations for the home they’re getting. This is tricky for the first time buyers though.
- The best one in the neighborhood. One good way to gauge a house is to compare the ones that are most similar in the listing. If one home seems way too good in comparison with its neighbors, you might want to take a step back before getting into it. It could cost you so much more in actual price.
Home buying is never simply about giving the right price for the home. Sometimes, even the people who offer the best and highest price on the table do not get the home for some other reasons. Homeowners use their ‘feels’ too.
There is never really a generic way to become the ‘right’ buyer. After all, each homeowner thinks differently. But there are, somehow, ways on how to become a good buyer – the kind that homeowners would generally like and would more than likely get the deal on the house.
Here are some tips on how to become the ‘right’ buyer:
- Find time to personally communicate with the homeowner. Most home buyers do this by mail with an offer letter. However, to fully get that ‘human connection’ with the homeowner, send a more personalized offer letter. Tell her about how excited you are about the thought of living in their home, talk about your family. Basically, get to her ‘feels’. A purely businesslike letter is too impersonal and would be thus taken impersonally too.
- Send a small token. No, you don’t need to go overboard and send her the most expensive champagne or send her jewelry. Go for simple but touching, something homey. Maybe that aromatherapic candle you’ve bought her will be the icing on the cake in her Setia Sky Residences apartment. A box of brownies or cupcakes or maybe even cookies with a handwritten note will likely be well appreciated. Gifts like this touch at the heart of the homeowner; home-baked goodies are some sort of a homeowner-to-homeowner kind of thing.
- Negotiate with caution. Many home buyers fail to get their prospected home because they negotiate too much. When negotiating, consult your real estate agent and always give a price range – never a hard amount. Do not annoy your homeowner by bargaining carelessly. Always know your boundaries, know when to go further and when you’ve gone far enough.
- Visit the home yourself. See if you need to do some home improvements in the future. Give your homeowner a call ahead and ask if you can go see the house and talk to them yourself. Seeing the house yourself and taking that kind of personal effort to meet the homeowners yourself will help make the homeowners feel like you are intent on being ‘friends’ with the homeowners. Practice your manners though – always give a call ahead to check their availability and if they’re comfortable about the idea of you visiting them in their house. Don’t be openly critical about the home either! (Oh, and while you’re at it, don’t talk about the price or try to negotiate. Don’t make it look like you’re faking friendliness to get a good bargain).
- Be cooperative. Don’t make the homeowners wait too long. If they need something from you, if they need you to sign or submit something, or they need to talk to you – always find the time. Them giving you a call is always a good indication that they are likely to give you the deal so by all means, make yourself available.
Displaying the right conduct and the right attitudes towards the homeowner will win you the house, and if you’re lucky, at your ideal price. Being nice takes you far after all.
We here at NoDutDol truly value your need to budget– come on, let’s face it– times are hard! You’re not alone in traversing that long and winding road of economic hardship!
We’ve given you a lot of tips on how to stretch that won or dollar or ringgit down to the maximum– just read our previous article that gave you tips on how to rent an apartment on a tight budget. So what’s next?
Probably you’ve upped the ante and found yourself a great unit over at Hampshire Place, after working your hardest for the last year. Well, congratulations– it’s time to move out of your old, dull place and start anew in a place so much better than your current one.
The agony of finding a home and closing a deal as well as selling your old house is pretty much over. Now all you’re left with is to move your bum out of the house – which happens to be more tedious and more stressful than buying or selling a house. On top of the usual pains of hard, physical labor of packing and transporting and unpacking, the most difficult part about moving houses is the expense.
You’ve paid much for your new house that practically everything you’ve sold from your old house went for your new place’s down payment. The closing costs were cringe-worthy. Needless to say, your move was painful to your pocket. How do you make the moving part a little bit less financially straining? What can you possibly do to squeeze in as little an amount as possible on your move? Here are some tips:
Don’t let moving get you down– or burn your pockets.
- Sort your stuff out. Some things you absolutely need, some you just partly need, and others, you can live without. Further, sort your ‘can live without’ stuff into ‘sell’, ‘donate’ and ‘throw away’ items. A mini moving out yard sale can add a significant amount of cash and take off a great deal of load for your move.
- Utilize old cardboard boxes. You don’t need to buy new boxes for your move. Run to friends and family for cardboard boxes that are lying uselessly in their attics. Go to the liquor store and buy their old cartons for cheap – this will save you heaps of cash compared to buying new plastic boxes or cardboard boxes from the moving company.
- Pack efficiently. You would not want to pack your baby’s stuff with the bed covers! Pro packing services will cost you a lot. There are tons of online tutorials about efficient packing, and really, it just takes some good amount of planning. List all the things you’re taking to the new house, sort them together and put like things in similar boxes. Your immediate needs – kitchen utensils, two days’ worth of clothes, ready-to-eat’s – put them in one box, and put them in your car trunk. That’ll make them very easy to access.
- Don’t move everything in one day. It may be more efficient to move your things in batches, one week after another. This will save you all the compacted stresses of a day’s move plus it gives you a chance to move to a partly settled home by the last batch of things to move.
- Carry what you can. Decide whether you really need a moving truck for your move. Moving trucks and pro movers cost a fortune so you may want to rethink the hire if you’re a little tight on the budget. Implore the help of your friends and family in exchange for a good meal when you’re fully settled and pay for their gas too. That’s a whole lot cheaper!
- Compare movers’ prices. If a moving company is inevitable, at least do not be lazy on the comparisons. Compare as many companies as you can and utilize coupons online.
The sky high biggie commissions are what draw people into real estate agency. But of course, who wouldn’t love the 5 to 6 digit commissions at every sale? The biggest challenge, however, is on the frequency of the sale and how to get past that period. It normally takes a few months before another sale is made and it is quite difficult to make it through that month with all the personal expenses as well as the overhead costs of being an agent. You’re mostly lucky if you are in a popular broker’s firm because winning a client buying property in a best time comes far more easily, but the same could not be said of the people independently working as agents.
How do you manage your income – that is almost always without security of when it can be replenished and is heavily affected by the market – to incorporate having to finance your marketing on top of spending for yourself?
Here are some budgeting tips:
- Always set aside budget for work. You will need to drive yourself from one client to another, one house to another, and meet buyers at public places. Sometimes you’ll have to spend some for meetings over coffee and lunch or dinner and you’ll definitely have to spend on that. Most people put 10% of their commission for these ‘overhead costs’, others even more. You decide on how much you’re willing to spend for it. What matters is you have a budget made for it and you don’t go beyond it.
- Max out inexpensive and free opportunities for marketing. Use some help from your friends and former clients. Ask for referrals. And best of all – maximize the internet. Set up your Facebook page, Pinterest and Twitter accounts, and set up your own blog. Oh, and get yourself on the local online real estate listing. Maximize the use of the internet – it’s cheap, it’s wide in range, and it’s easy.
- Go for quality over quantity in marketing materials. Real estate agents need to bank on the traditional means of marketing – yard signs, billboards, local radio and newspaper, and the good ol’ business cards. When getting these, always go for pricey quality over cheap quantity. Nobody wants to see pixelated photos of you in the neighborhood–especially if your target clients are setting their sights on One Menerung or properties in Mont Kiara :). Start a good marketing campaign for yourself if and when you’d have to spend on it anyway.
- Prepare your rainy day savings. Real estate agency has a lot of money involved but you can never be too sure when you’re making your next commission. When the rainy days come before your sale and therefore your commission, you’d be in deep trouble financially. So make sure you set a portion of your every commission to the bank for emergency purposes.
- Invest. There’s no one else who knows real estate investment better than you, real estate agents. When you can, invest in your own real estate properties that will have you financially covered even after you retire from your agent job. Use your own personal experience and skills in starting your own real estate property investments.
There’s never a 100% success rate in the relationship between a real estate agent and a client. Sometimes, it just does not work as ideally as both parties desire or expect it to be. If this is the case, a breakup between the agent and the client may ensue.
But that should not come without a warning.
See, breaking up with your real estate agent can be as complicated as a boyfriend breakup. Sometimes even worse. In some cases, money gets in the way– especially if the buyer is looking for a house or apartment to rent on a tight budget– and all the more entangles the people involved into a seemingly impossible situation.
What do you do when you realize you want to call it quits with your real estate agent? What if somewhere in the middle of you owning that condominium unit in Sunway Vivaldi, things get sour between you and your real estate agent? Here are some tips:
Breaking up is hard to do– but sometimes it has to be done.
Agent and Seller
Homeowners looking to sell their homes usually sign a six-month contract with a brokerage. In some cases,
the major broker assigns an agent for a client, and if things don’t work out, the broker arrange a shift internally to address the problem with as little impact on you – the seller – as possible. But if you are dealing with the need to change brokerage agency or the need to actually change an independent agent, you might be having a bigger problem.
You know that real estate can be tricky, and sometimes you never know when the right time is to buy or rent a property. Because you are legally tied to the agent, and vice versa, you might have to go beyond good riddance. The best thing to do is to talk about it with your agent/broker and to discuss the possible actions. You can either agree on solving the issue and finishing off the contract or end the contract. Choosing the latter may cost you several hundred bucks to cover the costs of ending the contract prematurely. They could even fine you for costs incurred by the listing/ad which could go up in thousands.
Finding your own buyer while on contract with the agent will still cost you the commission for the agent even when you so worked hard towards getting that buyer. So the best and only resort should be to talk about your disinterest with the agent.
Agent and Buyer
Technically, there is nothing legal or binding an agreement between a buyer and an agent. After all, the agent is tied to the commission from the seller and agents do not get a single penny from buyers. However, there is a consented agreement between the agent and buyer that the former still has to respect even when technically, they are not under contract with each other.
If a buyer decides to look for a house with a different agent, talking it out with the agent is still the best way to go. Just like in the case of the sellers, talking it out as early as possible is the best option. This will save you both the hassles of having spent – or wasted – a lot of time and money on each other. Tell them, constructively, about why you want to cut off your “contract” with them and do business with another agent. Wall Street Journal’s article on how to fire your real estate agent can be really helpful in times like these. It may not bring them back their effort and money spent on taking you around, but it will definitely save them more if you tell them sooner.
If you want to rent an apartment, but are on a tight budget, then you need to look for cheap apartment rentals that you can take advantage of. Since cheap rentals have several advantages and disadvantages to them, though, it would be vital for you to keep these things in mind:
Before anything else, you need to know that cheap rentals actually do exist. It’s not always about the grandeur of KLCC condominiums(Yes, I’m talking to you, Icon Residence!) or Mont Kiara properties! A lot of people seem to think that cheap apartments are complete dumps and aren’t even worth the time to look at, but this isn’t always the case. There are a lot of legitimate affordable rooms and units for rent out there. You just need to look around and, when in doubt, ask why the property is being rented for so cheap.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any rental scams out there, at all, either. If your go-to website for rental apartments is Craigslist, then you should be prepared to come across various scams on your search, a lot of which will try to get your attention by posting incredibly cheap rates. As such, it would be vital for you to schedule a showing first to make sure that the apartment exists before shelling out any money for it.
Once there, don’t be embarrassed to inspect the property as thoroughly as possible. As mentioned earlier, there are many cases, where the rental cost will be very low because the rental apartment itself is a complete dump. There is nothing wrong with renting a place that is below average, but that is only if you were expecting it from the beginning. What you shouldn’t do is get a crappy apartment in need of a ton of repairs or home improvement projects that you didn’t know exist in the beginning. If the landlord tries to keep these necessary repairs hidden from you, then you can be sure that he won’t be willing to fix them for you later on, either.
Ideally, you should ask about any additional costs, as well. Sometimes, rental units may look cheap upfront, but are actually much more expensive in the end because of the utilities that come with it, such as the heat, electricity, hot water, parking, and garbage disposal units. This is why you have to ask for all of the costs, so that you can figure it into the overall rental costs before making your decision.
Another thing you should do is check out the neighborhood. Some apartments tend to be cheap because of the neighborhoods that they are in. Areas that come with bad neighbors and a lot of crime, for example, are dirt-cheap because landlords know that nobody would be interested in the places otherwise. So, before signing the lease, try to get a glimpse of the neighborhood and your potential neighbors first.
On that note, don’t forget to review the lease thoroughly and make sure that all of the rental costs are already covered. Remember: even legitimate landlords might hike up your rental prices after a few months, so make sure the lease mentions that your rent is locked in for as long as you are there.
Remember, your ideal family home need not to be expensive. It’s who lives in it that counts.
Have you always wanted to buy real estate in other countries, so that you can spend your holidays there with your family? I know I do. Here are several reasons why it would be a good idea to do so:
For starters, you will be able to enjoy the history, culture, beauty and sights of another country. Besides, if you buy real estate in another country, then you can spend more time getting to know the country and its people more. This will also help satisfy your curiosity about the place and what it has to offer as a whole.
If you are a lover of certain activities that isn’t readily available in the country that you currently live in, then you can spend more time focusing on that pastime or hobby, or even develop brand new passions in another country. You can focus on skiing, fishing, golfing, hiking or simply being pampered, in general. The choice is yours.
If you happen to have a lot of friends and relatives spread out in a certain country, then owning a property there would be a great way to let all of you come together and relax while in each other’s company every now and then.
If you have children, then you might want to buy real estate in a safer country, where your kids can focus on various outdoor activities, learn, grow, develop and experience different things overall.
If you buy a second home abroad, you can take a baby step on a journey to work or live in a country that you are actually interested in – a country that might have a lot of opportunities in store for you. Just remember to know when is the best time to buy real estate and research about a country. Conversely, you can also spend your vacations there and just feel out whether it would be a good idea to move there permanently one day.
If you aren’t exactly sure if you will be able to use a home abroad yet, then don’t worry. You can still rent the property out when it isn’t in use and get enough income from it to pay for the mortgage and fund your trip to the place a couple of times a year. How great is that?
If you happen to love improving homes, then you can also take the challenge of purchasing a rural rundown place overseas and then restore it to its glory or make it even better than it once was. Either way, if you want to spend time abroad in a house that you can call your own, you shouldn’t let anything or anyone hold you back from doing so.
Yes, real estate tends to be a good investment overall. However, if you buy real estate overseas, you can invest in a capital appreciating and enjoyable asset that can help set things up for your retirement in the long run, as well. If you are already close to retirement, then buying a vacation real estate overseas in a country that has an affordable cost of living and a great climate can be the first step that you take to retiring abroad. Think about it.