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Friday, January 28, 2011

Tenancy Agreement Stamping Update

Yesterday I went to stamp the new agreement made with my last tenant of the SD Tiara apartment.  I took the opportunity to ask the officer what I should do about the last agreement that was breached by the last tenant.

She said that a cancellation is not possible as the LHDN will not refund the stamp duty paid.  Even if a new tenant moves in to replace the old tenant at the same terms and period of rental, a new agreement still has to be made between the landlord and the new tenant.
So it confirms my earlier search for answer that there is no need to cancel the stamping, the only thing would be to declare the rental income as it is by 2 separate tenants at separate period.
One more thing, there is a little white piece of paper that is stuck at the desk of the officer which she refers to for the stamp duty amount.  Let's say the monthly rental is RM300, the stamping fee would be RM5 for original and RM5 for the copy.  Do double-check with the officer. Because in this case, she miscalculated the fees, but I pointed it out to her because I had the experience of stamping the similar agreement before.  Otherwise I would have paid a total of RM30 instead of RM10 because of the error.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Unifi Hiccup

One day I saw a reseller agent sitting under a TM Unifi umbrella just outside the guardhouse of my apartment. It means Unifi service is available at my area, so I decided to switch from streamyx to Unifi. After all, the additional costs is only about RM20 and I can get a 5MB service.
Ever since Unifi engaged resellers, the process becomes easier.  No need to register at TM Point.  Just sign up with the reseller, then they give you a confirmation number the next day and set the installation appointment.  I got my appointment about 3 weeks after I sign up.  Unlike TM, these reseller agents are more flexible.  They will even come to install on weekends, whereas TM contractors only work weekdays.
On Sunday they came for installation. Everything went smoothly except that we were unhappy with the telephone number. The agent forgot to check with us on the preferred number when the earlier selections were not available.  So I wrote an email to complain to TM Unifi, and when they got back to us within the same day to let us select our telephone number, I was delighted.
I thought: Such great customer service from Unifi...

That was, until I discover that the VOIP cannot work after changing the number.  We cannot dial out nor can anyone dial our number - there is always an engaged tone.  So I called the technical department to lodge a complaint, and on the same night a Unifi technician called me to arrange for house call to check all the connections.  The appointment was set for today, 12pm.
But the technician did not turn up.  I called Unifi twice and they said they would find out the reason the technician did not come.  I said I don't need an explanation, I just need to solve my phone problem.  I called 2 times, and then the service operator who called me back said that after investigation, the report said that the technician came to my house and changed the DECT phone.
"Mana ada?!" I was most surprised.  This whole Unifi affair is really testing my patience.
As of now, internet works fine.  Still no phone service. And still waiting for Unifi to call me back, hopefully they will set things right tomorrow.
Oh, and one more thing, if you are applying for Unifi to replace your existing TM phoneline and streamyx, make sure you tell the reseller you want to include the cancellation of phoneline AND streamyx after the Unifi installation. In my case, the agent recorded the cancellation of the old phoneline, but not streamyx. You would think this is common sense.  Luckily I checked with Unifi, but they asked me to go to TM Point to cancel streamyx service. I think TM still has a lot to improve.
Post-note: Problem fixed today morning, 27 Jan, after the technician came.  Phew!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Property Auction At CIMB Home Fiesta

Saturday morning, I arrived the Home Fiesta at 9.30am. The auction agent, W, was there to meet me.
As I have identified a property that I would like to bid for at the auction, I came prepared with a 5% bank draft of the reserve price.  W took me to registration counter to register as a bidder for that property.
At the auction, these terms and conditions were clearly explained to the bidders:
1. The balance of the payment (95% of the final sale price) is to be paid within 90 days.
2. The bank is only responsible for paying any outstanding assessment, quit rent and maintenance fees up to the auction date only.  From tomorrow onwards, the successful bidder would be responsible for these fees.
3. There is no vacant possession to be handed over to the successful bidder.  In other words, there are no keys to be handed over, the new owner would have to obtain the keys himself. 
4. All fees including transfer and assignment, legal fees, stamp duty, admin charges etc are to be borne by the successful bidder.
OK, so about my experience. There were 2 different sessions by 2 different auction houses. The first property at the first session was a factory in Subang Jaya with a reserve price of RM250k.  There were 30 bidders. Each bid was RM2000 and it went up very quickly. Finally it was sold at RM436k.  Subsequently there were properties with fewer bidders.  There were even properties with single bidders so these were sold at the reserve price without competition.
At the 2nd session, the property I was eyeing was also put up for auction first, because there were many bidders. The auctioneer asked for permission to raise the minimum bid from RM190k to a higher figure.  One bidder said RM250k, so it was set at that.  From then on the bid went up every RM2000. I told myself to stay calm and stick to my target price which I set for around RM280k.  If the bid goes beyond my target, I would give up.  Still it was very intensive, I only got to raise my hand once.  The rest of the time it went so fast the figure on the screen kept on rising.  There were 2 bidders at the back who kept competing with each other. When it went over RM300k, many bidders lost interest, including my agent and I.  We started talking about other things, thinking that it will stop soon, perhaps around 320k it will be sold.  It turned out that after we borak-borak and then listen to the session again, the bidding was still going up!   Finally the unit was sold for a whopping RM392k!  This was really unbelievable as at iproperty.com.my, units are being put up for sale asking for RM320-330k.
I do not know if the winner got too emotional or he has another motive.  From this experience, I learnt that at an auction, as Azizi Ali said in his article, check the market price, set your target and stick to it. 
For more information on auction procedures, visit Starproperty:  Never been to a Property Auction? 

Friday, January 14, 2011

How I got into my first experience at public auction

Last Tuesday while I was on leave from work, I came across the CIMB Home Fiesta. So I called them to register because I wanted to attend the event and also observe the property auctions.
After the phone registration, I received an email which contained a list of properties to be auctioned on Saturday.  One of the properties, Mutiara Villa, with its reserved price of RM190k, caught my eye.  So I called up one of the many agents who listed this property to inquire.  And suddenly this hyperactive agent wanted to come over to see me to explain the whole auction process.
And that was how I got into my first auction as a bidder ;-)
When I told Sara the story, this was her opinion of me:
"This Haruki cannot sit still even for a minute. 
Just because she is on leave for a day, this is what she got herself into."
Stay tuned for the actual auction experience....

Photo credit: Starproperty: Property investment: Opportunities at property auctions by Azizi Ali

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How to Sell Your Own House

I had the experience of helping my brother to sell his house last year.
In my opinion, you can opt to sell your house by yourself if you are:
1. living in the vicinity of the property
2. can afford to spend time showing prospective buyers your unit (for umpteen times, or more)
If you are not, then you may be much better off engaging a real estate agent.
Since I live very near my brother's apartment, and I was on maternity leave at that time, I met the above 2 criteria ;-)
First I took pictures of the apartment unit, including interiors, and posted it on the usual property-for-sale websites.  To increase the chances of people hitting my advertisement, I posted on as many relevant websites as I could. Then I waited for calls from prospective buyers to view the apartment.

When a prospect called, we would arrange for a time to view the unit. Usually I would bring a friend or family member along, for safety reasons.
When showing your unit to the prospective buyers, try to offer useful information that is relevant.  The availability of schools, kindergartens and daycare facilities, for example, is helpful information to a family with kids. Do not try to oversell and appear desperate, keep your cool and let the discussion take its course. Remember you might go through many viewings before finally encountering a genuine buyer.  There are many people who view houses without any real intention to buy, perhaps they are just surveying the area.
When a prospect offer to buy the house, arrange for a time to meet again to sign an agreement to purchase.  This agreement can be a simple document signed by both parties, and at this signing the buyer has to pay 2% earnest deposit. In the agreement, it is also stipulated that the buyer must execute the sale & purchase agreement (SPA) within 14 working days (or more depending on the arrangement with the seller), failing which the deposit is forfeited. Give a copy of the agreement to purchase to the buyer. The buyer will then get his lawyer to prepare the SPA and at the same time he would apply for a bank loan.
You should not reserve your unit for the buyer until he has signed the agreement and paid the 2% earnest deposit.  If you do, you might miss other prospects wanting to view and buy your unit, should the first buyer breaks his verbal promise.
After the agreement to purchase is signed, do pass your old SPA and a copy of the title to your lawyer, so that he has the details to deal with the buyer's lawyer. Otherwise the SPA will not be completed on time as agreed.
And there, it is done.  You have just sold your house!  It takes a lot of effort, but it saves you 2% of sale price in agent's commissions.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Dream Home - Plans Deferred

Worried about the rising prices of property, J and I decided to have a look at the property that we thought would make our dream home.  Perhaps there was some way we could buy it now, rent it out for a period of time and hedge against the value appreciation?  Then when the time comes, we would move into the property.
Renovated Kitchen

The most valuable view

View from the swimming pool

View from bedroom
So we got in touch with an agent who was courteous and professional and she showed us 3 different layouts of the condominium.  I fell in love with it even more.
However, we found out that the capital appreciation had already occurred way beyond our grasp.  Our finances right now would not be able to afford it.  So we went home.
As we sat discussing our finances, we found that our home right now is comfortable and familiar, even though it may be a bit small.  And we would be so much better putting our savings into other affordable property investments than embarking in buying a home like that. We would be taking a gamble on whether it could get rented out or not in the meantime. And so we deferred our plans of a dream home for a while.  One day, we will get our dream home, but right now, it is time to build a solid foundation.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Wholesale" Furnishings for Lagoon Apartment

An update of the Lagoon apartment that belongs to Sara.
Today Sara went to "borong" almost all the household items from an expat who is leaving.  She managed to get many things at good prices and transported the stuff by lorry.
When the stuff were put into the empty apartment, they were all stored into the middle room first. That's because the lights, fans, metal grill etc have not been completely installed and certain defects still have to be repaired.
So here are pictures of the stuff that she bought.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Settlement of Car Hire Purchase

Last year in November I was supposed to have paid the last installment on my car loan.  I always pay via an autodebit standing instruction from my Maybank savings account, so I thought the last installment would be the same.  However I noticed that in November the autodebit did not happen, so I thought I may have miscalculated the dates, maybe my last installment was in October.  You know, after so many years of paying car loan, you can forget which month it is.
So I happily called Maybank today to ask them to prepare the release letter. Imagine my shock when they said that I still owe them one last installment. Later I found out that for the last installment of car loan, the bank will not deduct through autodebit. That's because there are some JPJ charges, miscellaneous charges on top of the installment amount.  So for my 2 months' late repayment, I have to pay a penalty of RM3.  Finally I went to queue at a Maybank branch to settle the last installment by cash.

Luckily I took the initaitive to call them, if I didn't, I am not sure when Maybank will inform me. If the installment had lapsed more than 3 months, I would have been blacklisted in CCRIS.  That will cause me a lot of trouble if I want to get a loan on another property later.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Doing up Lagoon Apartment in the New Year

My friend Sara is doing up her first property for rental.  And because I am experienced (ahem!), I helped her to draw up a budget and find furnishings for her apartment.  The target tenants are students.
Today we made the first move.  She bought a dining table set and her hubby helped her to transport it to the apartment.  Later he would also fix some lights in the apartment as well.
Here are the current pictures.
Living room

Master room with attached bath

Middle room
We are excited about furnishing this apartment and renting it out in time for the new intake of college students.  Best of luck to us!