Posts categorized Real Estate Tips
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!
좋은 하루 되세요
Real estate agents, like many other types of marketers, are great with dealing with people. I like making friends with them – in fact, 다다익선 (the more, the merrier!). 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.
Here are some of the things that you can actually skip telling your real estate agent about (since they don’t tell you everything either) – 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
Apparently PSY grew up in this Seoul house!
- 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.
Sidenote: we may have some unsold units at Puchong’s Zefer Hill Residence – if you’re interested in a good deal then please email email@example.com.
Finally:- 배보다 배꼽이 크다
정들자 … 이별이라 !
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.
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 down payment at the Meritz? Or that fancy vacation house in Penang? Make sure the down payment 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.
Also, remember: 바늘 도둑이 소 도둑 된다 !
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 is gone, because it has already been bought. Boo hoo…
So before you get so excited about the first photo on the listing, here are the five types of houses on property listings that you had better crash off your homes to visit list:
Graphics courtesy of Kim Dang Joo, KDJ Designers Inc
- 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. OK, maybe myHabitat is cheaper than, say, Setia Sky Hill, but you get what you pay for.
- 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. Often, people forget that 웃는 낯에 침 뱉으랴 ! It’s ridiculous!
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 aromatherapy candle you’ve bought her will be the icing on the cake in her 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. 과부 사정 홀아비가 안다 !
- 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.
- Be realistic. Don’t offer RM5,000,000 for a posh Setia Sky Residences apartment in KLCC. On the other hand, if you’re paying more than RM1,000,001 for Gangnam then you’re just a sucker! 하늘에서 별 따기
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. 친구 따라 강남 간다 !!!
As the popular Korean saying goes, 말하기는 쉬워도 행동하기는 어렵다 . We shall be talking about budgeting today.
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. 뚝배기보다 장맛이 좋다.
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. 뜻이 있는 곳에 길이 있다
- 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. 모로 가도 서울만 가면 된다. Nobody wants to see pixelated photos of you in the neighborhood–especially if your target clients are setting their sights on the super exotic One Menerung or higher end 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.
물에 빠지면 지푸라기라도 잡는다
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. 빈 수레가 요란하다 . 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 the process things get sour between you and your real estate agent? Fret not… here’s the best of NoDutDol advice distilled in one article. 시작이 반이다
발 없는 말이 천리 길 간다
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.
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… especially if you’re the prospective buyer of a high end Sunway Vivaldi unit in Mont Kiara! 선무당이 사람 잡는다!
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…
가랑비에 옷 젖는 줄 모른다
That’s right! 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! 모양이 비슷하고 서로 인연 있는 것끼리 편을 든다는 말! 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 (not very popular here in Malaysia, but a real hit in Korea), 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 (check out our previous article) that you didn’t know exist in the beginning.
Tip: 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. 거지도 부지런하면 더운 밥 얻어 먹는다 …
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. This is especially true for upmarket properties in the Kuala Lumpur city, specifically Bangsar, Damansara, Wangsa Maju and Sri Petaling. Like my grandma would say, 거미 새끼같이 흩어진다 !
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, like we have said the last time, your ideal family home need not to be expensive. It’s who lives in it that counts. 굴러야 더러운 이끼가 앉지 않는다는 뜻으로, 사람이 쉬지 않고 활동해야만 발전이 있다는 말.
Have you always wanted to buy real estate in other countries (apart from Korea and Malaysia), so that you can spend your holidays there with your family? I know I do. After all, 나무만 보고 숲을 보지 않는다. 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.
아무리 애를 써도 벗어날 수 없는 처지의 비유.
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 (see this), 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. 여러 대상이 모두 보잘것없어 비교할 만한 상태가 아닌데도 굳이 낫고 못함을 따져서 가리려 한다는 말. 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.
This wise man once said:-
하고자 하는 일을 준비하다가 그만 때을 놓쳐 그 뜻을 이루지 못 하였다는 뜻.
In other words, a lot of people buy homes without any intention of staying there for a long time. While selling the house is a long-term goal, in these types of scenarios, investing in long-term home improvement projects are very essential. This is where a lot of homeowners fail. They fail to see the value of investing a little money to increase their home’s market value that will be essential both in selling the house in the future and gaining home equity that will help them later on when they try to get a new mortgage for their new home.
Others, though they did spend on home improvement and repairs, fail to invest in the right areas of the house. The result is an investment without a return because the improvements failed to make their house marketable by the time they decide to sell it – and that is in spite of a very good real estate market trend. There is always a good time to buy real estate, as I previously discussed in my previous post– and it’s always better to make home improvements on a regular basis to make sure that your house to sell is going to be marketable.
Some tips on home improvements you can use:
- Kitchen Remodeling – everyone loves a good kitchen. The thing that people do wrong about doing kitchen improvements is on the kind of repair they make. The common mistake is investing everything in the kitchen and overdoing it and they end up with kitchens that do not match the look of the rest of the house.
- Deck – this is tricky. Decks are in every way beautiful and good for your house – everyone loves a place to lounge in on hot summer days or receive guests in for some cocktails at home. The problem comes when the homeowner tries to add a deck that is not durable enough. Remember that the deck is an outdoor feature of the house, and thus it is well-subjected to the elements all-year round.
- Plumbing and Electrical Upgrades – these are the veins of the house. They keep the house going and the slightest problem in plumbing and electrical systems could create a massive problem and discomfort. Professional home appraisers and inspectors give a lot of credit for impressive plumbing and electrical; they know how much a hassle a repair on either of these systems can be and no new homeowner would want to deal with that.
- Toilet and bath – in some countries in the world, the bathroom is called the comfort room. It is only right to make it as comfortable as possible since this is where we are most vulnerable and most “ourselves” so to speak. So lavish your bathroom with beautiful tiles, great bath, and a perfectly functioning hot and cold shower. Choose tiles and toilet bowls that do not easily stain so they look newer than they actually are.
- Flooring – there’s always something about a good home flooring. Done right, it gives your home a certain kind of attitude that makes it both regal and cozy. Invest in a good, durable flooring and do all sorts of measures that will keep it in its best condition.
Condominiums, on the other hand, are always a good investment. Making improvements such as adding fixtures, improving interiors and furniture is a good way to make your condominium unit marketable.
In Asian culture, especially in countries like Korea and Malaysia, a condominium’s net worth is valued higher for condominiums whose interiors reflect or incorporate the country’s culture and traditions– for example, Trump World Seoul in my hometown Korea and Binjai On The Park in Malaysia. 이웃끼리 서로 친하게 지내면 먼 곳에 있는 일가보다도 더 친하다는 뜻입니다.
In other circumstances, there may be situations where prices of real estate go stagnant, but in those scenarios, you should already be exiting the market well before it implodes!
Email me your real estate tips and tricks at firstname.lastname@example.org.