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NoDutDol – Korean Community Real Estate Development

Isn't life such an exquisite bird? Oh, the lovely white rabbit, how he flies through the skies as any old cat does. This is why I grow wings when I see you.

Hacking Your Home Is Easy… 뜻이 있는 곳에 길이 있다


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 mhl@nodutdol.com.

M.H.L. :D

Posted on 8th May 2013 in Real Estate Tips  •  Comments are off for this post

Ideal Korean Family Home (작은 고추가 맵다 !)

A few days ago someone emailed me asking about investment opportunities for the Asian community here in Traverse City. The email sender is Malaysian, and in exchange for some real estate tips in Michigan, he ended up giving me real estate tips if ever I plan on buying property in Malaysia. Apparently, houses in Malaysia are built with the family size in mind—since most Malaysian families have a lot of members, (콧대를 꺾다) a spacious and large house is necessary.


As it is universal, buying as a retiree is also a different story. Choosing between a house or a condo though, is relatively easier. Retirees would opt to buy a house rather than a condo– it’s more appropriate and gives off a more homey feeling. But remember, you have to buy a house that suits your needs, your budget and the needs of everyone else you are going to live with.

When buying a family house, the foremost consideration that I have noticed among parents is how convenient the house would be for the kids. And that is only right. After all, kids take a longer time to adjust to a new place. That, and the fact that we will have to make everything convenient, practical, and easy for them.

If you’re looking for a typical “Korean” family house, here are some things you would have to consider:

  • Location

A good gauge of location for a family home is proximity to basic facilities – schools, ballparks, hospitals, and supermarkets among others. Mont Kiara and KLCC districts, according to our anonymous email sender, are perfect locations in Kuala Lumpur because they are convenient and can be accessed easily.

If you are moving to a new place and it would be impossible to keep your old job while you’re in the new house, make sure you have a number of available job options in your new place. You cannot risk moving your entire brood over without an assurance of a job that will pay the home utilities. Another important thing– time your buyout of a new property– find tips here on this article I’ve written for this blog.

  • Size of House

The size of the house should depend largely on the number of kids you have. Ideally, each kid should get a room. Bigger families usually get creative with maximizing their home space by turning their attics and basements into bedrooms altogether.

Your property should have a good size of yard for the kids to play around. This is the foremost reason why parents choose to leave the city for the suburbs because suburban houses get more space around it.

It would also be good if your house has two bathrooms outside of the bathroom in the master’s bedroom. Especially if you have more than two school-aged children, getting ready in the morning would not be too difficult if you have enough number of baths to accommodate everyone. Singles and small families would love KLCC apartments, because they offer convenience and practicality because of its fairly-priced condominiums.

  • Neighborhood

Studies and history suggest that your neighborhood has a great influence on your children. As much as possible, choose a neighborhood with a good reputation. The last thing you want is for your kids to hang around with gang members, muggers and bad influences. 첫술에 배부르랴?

It would also be generally safer and more ideal if the houses in the area are spaced just right, and by that we mean, you should not see your next door neighbor while she’s making her morning pancakes (콩가루 집안이다).

  • Safety

General safety includes safety in public roads and safety from lawless elements. Try to find out from the internet or from people in the area how the security status of the area is.

You can increase your home’s security by installing a home alarm system if the house you are buying does not yet have it.

  • Transportation

A good family house should not be too difficult to access via public transport or too far from the bus stops. That, or you would have to invest in vehicles and driving the kids around everywhere. 잠을 자야 꿈을 꾸지!

Hope you learned a lot from my post here at NoDutDol. I love receiving emails so don’t be shy and just send them in at mhl@nodutdol.com. Talk soon :-D


Posted on 1st May 2013 in Real Estate Tips  •  Comments are off for this post

기쁨은 나누면 배가 되고 슬픔은 나누면 반이 된다 (The Best Time For Real Estate)


Hi, it’s Min :-D

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 (South Korea!) — you have to know when’s the best time to attack.

For sale 1

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 (just see the plethora of reviews at PropertyReviews.my site). The sellers will try to keep the prices up for some time, to see if someone would still take the bait. Many 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.

Community 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 mhl@nodutdol.com. Who knows– you might see your story on the next post!


Posted on 22nd April 2013 in Real Estate Tips  •  Comments are off for this post