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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Birds Problem at Apartment

If you have birds creeping under your roof tiles and building nests and doing business there, what do you do?  I had a tenant who solved this problem for me, he called his own handyman contractor to climb through the plaster ceiling, cleaned the place and put wire mesh at the openings so that birds cannot fly in anymore.
Although I had to pay for the services, the problem was solved for me once and for all.
Bird droppings causing discoloration of ceiling

Hole cut into plaster ceiling to access under roof

Wire mesh added to prevent entry

Roof hole closed and repainted

Friday, November 23, 2012

A "New" Washing Machine

I needed a new washing machine to replace my old one.  Unfortunately, because of the space constraint in the kitchen that is designated for the washing machine, I can only choose top-loaders.
I have had my National washing machine since I first moved into my apartment.  It had to be serviced several times but it is still a hardy, working horse.

My trusted working horse

But now it is time to replace it and we choose the "same" brand again, Panasonic, to match the size closely.
Being an avid property buyer, I have had experience buying used washing machines and learnt that actually some people sell pretty new ones at good prices, because they were moving houses or leaving the country.
So I got mine today which is about 1 year old, at a bargain.

"New" model

Why didn't I just buy a new one?  Because I want to save money to buy a front loader when I move house in 2-3 years' time.
The catch is: we have to transport it on our own.  So I asked Rohaniah Noor, how she also used to transport a washing machine into her rental property. She told us we could transport it by putting it on its side in a car which you could fold down the backseats. That gave us some confidence. And we did it. J and I were the coolies.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ikea Malaysia Collects Used Light Bulbs

A few years ago, I learnt that we should not throw away used batteries and light bulbs like normal trash because the chemicals that they contain will cause soil and water pollution.
So I started to collect light bulbs, unable to throw them away and unable to do anything because I did not know who would recycle light bulbs.
Then just last month, while taking my used batteries to Ikea, I saw that there was another bin for used light bulbs.  I was very pleased.
So today, after work, I took my collection and went to Ikea.  I was also buying some new light bulbs.

Ikea Sparsam 11W light bulbs cost RM18.90 for 3 pieces, which is about RM6.30 per piece, and that is quite inexpensive compared to various other brands that I use.  So for the new light furnishings at Regalia, I will be using these light bulbs.  Inexpensive and you can take them back to Ikea when there are burnt out.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lend a Helping Hand 2012

Have you ever read about the plight of poor children or patients needing monetary help to go for medical treatment, because their family cannot afford it?  There are so many unfortunate people who sometimes go through such hard times and when we read about them, we think, I can help 1 or 2, but not all, how helpless we all feel!

That's why this year my blogger friends and I are out to help in one way which we think can benefit a lot of people. Interested property investors who are just starting out can come and spend a day listening to the experience of like-minded people, and all the proceeds of the sharing session will be donated to charity. Last year, we gave it to NSTP fund, to help people with medical needs.  This year it would be to a similar channel.

We cannot do everything, but we can do small things that make a big impact in other people's lives.
If you would like to register your interest in attending this property sharing session, click here to fill in your details.

Venue: Dewan Satu Solution, Bandar Sri Permaisuri, KL
Time: 9am - 6pm
For more information visit PropertyWaltz, Pinjamkan Tangan Anda untuk Tahun Ini.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Regalia Sneak Peek

Finally got the keys to our Regalia studio apartment.  It came partially furnished, so this is the 'Before' pictures. I hope to post the 'After' pictures really soon, but it depends on how fast the developer contractor can rectify the defects.

Comes with induction cooker and hood

Kitchen cabinet

Love the bright unit!

Walking round the gardens

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Minor Repairs

A little update on my SD Tiara apartment, where the master bedroom was rented out last month.  After the tenant moved in, he found minor problems with the bed (missing screws and one broken bed support plank) and on the water heater.
As landlord of residential properties, we can only be thankful that sometimes there are minor problems like these to be managed.  So today, J went to the apartment to fix the bed first.  We got the spare parts from Ikea, and the broken bed lade was screwed in with another piece of wood.  The whole procedure took less than an hour.
I am glad that J is such a handyman,  he said it is due to some subject called Kemahiran Hidup in secondary school.  Thank goodness for that.  So if you are a landlord, be prepared that there are some maintenance to be done, now and again.
Water heater remains to be fixed another day.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Tenant In Domain

This is a post recording my gratitude that my old Japanese tenant moved out this morning, and a new tenant from moved in at night right away.
J and I went to the apartment to hand over the keys and collect the deposits and was flabbergasted to see the condition of the apartment.  It is so dirty!  The students don't clean up.  When my Thai tenant was there, it was so much better, because he acted as the housekeeper.

The apartment was messy like this

Even J, as a guy, couldn't stand the mess and dirt, he cleaned the toilet and mopped the floor. I threw out the trash, picked up the books and drawing tools from the floor, swept the floor and cleaned the kitchen sink.
It was amazing, that in the state that it was in yesterday when the prospective tenant came to view; he agreed to take the room.  Maybe, it was just the right timing and he had no other choice.
Whatever it is, after he settled in a bit, I am going to grant them a one-time maid service to thoroughly clean the apartment.  I think it is the least I can do to make the environment a little more bearable.

Photo used with permission from http://www.wiehanne.com/2009/03/05/talk-about-lazy-housemates/

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"0" Cashflow

I am actually very thankful.
I bought a property last year with negative cashflow.  
I bought it because of its good location, potential to appreciate and because of the rarity of properties for sale in that area, which I have been targeting for quite some time.  However, the bad point is I would be in negative cash flow every month.
I calculated the time to expiry of the current tenancy, and decided to bear with it.  So when it expired last August, I raised the rent.  I checked the current market rate and persuaded the tenant to accept it 2 months before expiry, we negotiated back and forth. Thankfully, they accepted it.
So now, I have gone from negative to "0" cashflow.  And my property paper value has appreciated.
So I am thankful!  Yeah!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

TNB change of name - Part 2

Following my previous post of the requirements of TNB change of name process when you take over a new property, here is my experience at Kedai TNB Jalan Selangor Petaling Jaya.
Of course, yesterday is the 1st day of work after the long Raya weekend.  I took a number for applying for changing name, and there were about 20 people waiting.  When the owner came, she said she has not paid the last bill yet, so we'd better take a number for the payment of bills.  There were 70 people waiting!
So when it came our turn, we asked about the bill, and the officer who was very helpful said, no problem, she could just knock it off from the owner's deposit, instead of the owner queuing to pay the bill.  We were relieved.
Then it was time to change to my name and I had to pay a new deposit for the new account number.  This time, she said I had to pay at the payment counter, and by this time there were 40 people waiting (from the queue number that we first took).  Luckily I didn't throw away my number slip for the payment!
So, lesson learnt, when entering TNB to do new account ownership, always take 2 numbers, 1 for payment and 1 for change of names.  Unless there are not many people waiting but you will never know.
So for the whole fiasco of going to LHDN for stamping (which has hardly customers) to the TNB, it took me a total of 4 hours going there and coming back.

P/S: One more thing: I discovered that TNB Jalan Selangor offers the stamping service for their clients (just pay them RM20), unlike TNB Taman Melawati who insists that you go to LHDN to stamp yourself.  For verification, call them before going.
PP/S:  If you need the soft copy of the TNB forms, please call TNB careline, they can email you in advance for you to go to LHDN for stamping, so you don't have to go to TNB twice.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Terminal Pahlawan, Hatten Launch, Aug 2012

Hatten group is launching Terminal Pahlawan which is a new retail hub integrated with bus station. 
It is the new expansion to the famed shopping district of Pahlawan City. With the launching of Terminal Pahlawan, new retail lots are linked to the existing Hatten Square and near the newly opened Hatten Hotel.

Terminal Pahlawan consists of two (2) main blocks interconnecting – Hatten Square Wing and Coaches Wing. Terminal Pahlawan will be providing 30 coaches bay for hotel and tourists.

 *2.5 Acres of Shopping Complex / Retails *4 Floors for Retails with 3 Floors Car Park * Total 250 units  * From 65sf – 1500sf * Expected Completion 2nd Quarter 2015  
* Earnest Deposit of RM10,000 upon booking and signing OTP/OTR
*Leaseback 2 years – Compulsory Lease Back 15% for 2 years
-  7% p.a. guaranteed return for 1st year
-  8% p.a. guaranteed return for 2nd year (hence add together is 15%)
-  Thereafter, the Developer may exercise the option to renew the tenancy for another 2 years at the rental of not less than 8% per annum based on Purchase Price
* Launch Discount of 10% on 10-12 Aug 2012, at Hatten Square Ground Floor  (see note below on 15% discount)

* Legal fees and disbursements on SPA, DMC, TA and PA waived (panel solicitors to be appointed by Developer)
* Legal fees and disbursements on loan documentation to be borne by Purchaser
For more info, call Hatten sales gallery: 06-2812882.
You can check out the unit layout plans here: http://www.hattengrp.com/WebLITE/Applications/news/uploaded/docs/TerminalPahlawan.pdf
Anyone who wishes to purchase a unit, please contact me for recommendation, we will share the cash recommendation fee of RM1,500 (RM750 each).  Happy investing!

An update:  Total buyer's discount is 15% if booking is made before 9 Aug 2012. From 10-12 Aug it is 10%, plus every buyer gets a Samsung note (please confirm with the sales dept, they keep on changing the info.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Regalia in pictures

Stepping into Regalia for the first time today, with "uncofirmed" information that the VP is in Aug/Sept 2012.
Infinity skydeck pool

Show units

Monday, July 2, 2012

Aircond con-man

Today I discovered that I have been conned by the aircond repair guy.
On Saturday, the company that I called sent 3 guys to service my airconds at Shang Villa, and discovered that 1 compressor is not working and needed replacement.  One guy called me and said that a replacement would be about RM400 inclusive of labour.  I asked when this can be done, and he said that I need to make another appointment with his company before they can set a date for me.  I decided to call on Monday.
Then yesterday (Sunday) I went to the condo to repair the minor things like the bed and the leaky pipe.  While that was going on, 1 of the 3 guys who repaired the aircond showed up and said he was going to change the compressor now.  I was surprised because he didn't call me to make an appointment, but since the tenant recognized him as the guy who came yesterday, I didn't suspect anything.
He made repairs and in about 30mins, said that he has completed the job.  We left the aircond on to test it, meanwhile the guy collected the money for repairs and for servicing the other 2 airconds on Saturday.  He even went downstairs to his car with the money, came back to write me a receipt and put his handphone number on the receipt, saying I was to call this number for a 5-month warranty.  Then we all went home.
At night, the tenant called to complain that the aircond wasn't cold at all, the replaced compressor did not make any difference.
So today (Monday), I called the office to complain.  I got a shock when the office receptionist said they did not send anybody on Sunday, because they don't work on Sundays.
Then I called the number that the guy wrote on the receipt, and a guy answered and said this was for a massage parlor service!
When I related to the office about the whole incident, then they realized what happened.  Indeed that guy was one of the workers of this aircond repair company, but he was terminated for dishonest behavior on Saturday.  My condo was his last job under that company.  So this guy had actually came in his personal capacity to collect the aircond service money from me, giving me bogus receipts and all.
At the end, to cut a long story short, the company's boss called up personally to apologize for all that has happened, and asked me to install a new aircond instead of trying to replace another compressor, giving me a discount, so that when I calculate the costs of aircond replacement plus the servicing (that the company didn't receive a cent for), both the company and I more or less broke even.  The only person who "untung" was that con-man, who earned from me and the company.
Anyway, as this is a blog of gratitude, I am posting this here because I am grateful for a few things:
1. The company dealt with this incident professionally and honestly, without demanding that I pay them the rest of the service money.
2. New Fujiaire aircond was installed the next day, with warranty card and all, and tenant was very happy with the service.
3. At the end of the day, I didn't "rugi" a whole lot, just learnt a lesson on safety as well.
So I will continue to use this aircond servicing company.   I learnt that aircond companies do not let their contractors contact client personally for service appointments, all of that has to be done with the office.  Anyone wants a reliable aircond contractor with professional and responsible services, here it is:  Fine Air Services, Sri Kembangan, tel: 03-89482213.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Shang Villa is tenanted

I am so grateful that without having to worry too much, Shang Villa unit is rented out safely by a couple.  It was a case of today view and book, tomorrow move in.  Whao, I felt "kelam-kabut" for a while because there was a list of things to be done and in a hurry too!

Thankfully, I have so much help from the agent, an old "Uncle". It is funny how at first I didn't like this agent as I felt he was too overbearing and controlling.  Then I decided to let go of any unsatisfactory feelings towards him, and the whole relationship changed.  I actually found him helpful and he managed to rent out my unit to whom I hope is a good, prompt-payment couple.
Yesterday I got the aircond people to service the 3 airconds, and 1 of them needed a compressor replacement.  I didn't even have to be there as the agent opened the door for them.  Also the apartment needed to be cleaned thoroughly and I couldn't believe it, the old Uncle agent got his maids to come do the cleaning FOC.  He said it was on him for giving him the business.  Wow! Thank You!
Today we went to the apartment as J acted as the handyman to fix a bed and change a bathroom tap. Baby Xin tagged along, she is now at the age where we couldn't go anywhere leaving her behind.  As a treat she got a box of M&S cookies from my new tenants, and she was very well behaved.
So there, hopefully no more follow ups to be done, fingers-crossed.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Shang Villa is being painted soon

Yeah!  I was truly pleased to see this notice today.  It's really about time to spruce up the image of such a property in a good location.
However, it would possibly take 6 months for completion.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quit Rent due 31 May every year

A quick reminder on your quit rent payment which is due to the land offices in Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan, if you own land properties.  The deadline for payment is 31 May 2012, after which there is a penalty charge of RM6.
Online payment is easy and quick for PTGWP.  Just follow this link: https://www.ptgwp.gov.my/cukai_online/
and the instructions and the transaction is easily done by keying in your account number. There is a discount of RM2 if you pay online through this website.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Buying and Transporting

I am lucky enough to get the keys to the apartment early because I have a very easy-going vendor.  Of course it is also based on mutual trust as I was starting to repair some electrical stuff and also put in some furniture in the apartment, so that if we are lucky, we would be able to rent out early.

So on some days, you might see J and I, running around the streets in this to pick up furniture stuff from sellers.  This is a borrowed car, and this picture answers the question: "Can an Ikea Klippan sofa fit into a Proton Arena?"

Answer: "Yes!"

But better pray that it doesn't rain....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Double Insurance

Property owners out there, beware of double insuring your home with fire insurance.  This often happens in the case of owning apartments or condominiums.  Usually the apartment management would purchase a master insurance that is shared by all units in the building, and owners are billed through a once-yearly payment.  Then the end-financier (bank) would also require that a fire insurance (or even more comprehensive houseowner's insurance) be purchased and this is done automatically by the bank.  The premium of the insurance is then added into the owner's loan account, thus increasing the principal outstanding sum.
There is no need for double insurance in any case, insurance companies would not compensate you twice should a fire occur at your premises.  What you need to do, as I did in my case, is to inform the bank's insurance that my property is already insured by the management board of my apartment.  The insurance company then demanded that I forward to them a copy of the insurance certificate (usually this is only given to you after you have paid all the maintenance, quit rent and insurance charges by the management office).  I did that, and they cancelled the double insurance and I got the premium refunded.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shang Villa, Kelana Jaya - A Review

In my quest to find a reasonable residential property with good potential for capital appreciation, I researched many, many properties, and finally came upon Kelana Jaya.  This area was suggested to me by the seasoned property investor sinleong.

Sinleong recommended Kelana Jaya around SS7 area due to the fact that Paradigm mall is being built there, which will bring up the Live and Play factors. In addition, Kelana Jaya itself is home to many offices and also close to PJ where people work, live and play.   When I went to survey the area, I also found out that potentially the new KJ LRT extension will have a station somewhere near Kelana Centre Point (researched by Horlic).  

Also, I looked for freehold properties since Kelana Jaya is a predominantly leasehold area and my search turned up Shang Villa, Kelana Parkview and Kelana Sentral.

Further research took me to Shang Villa for a closer look.  A note about the freehold status here, this condo was previously leasehold, and got a conversion to freehold status as confirmed by the developer and the land search.  I was attracted to Shang Villa as it is located within walking distance (700m) to the Kelana Centre Point which is the presumed new LRT station location.

The guardhouse entrance has a card entry system for pedestrians.  The green grounds inside are wide and spacious.  The clubhouse is a short walking distance from the two Blocks A & B.  The clubhouse contains a decent-length swimming pool, a restaurant, a mini market, a hair salon, a squash court and a sauna. The clubhouse looked well-maintained.  I checked out the clubhouse toilet and it was clean. The fact that the mini market, hair salon and restaurant are in business attest to the decent occupancy rate at Shang Villa. 

Guardhouse post

Wide open space with green grounds inside

Walking distance to Manipal University

More greenery

Clubhouse facilities which include a decent size swimming pool

...and a squash court

The thriving mini market

So in my opinion, this is a good location due to:
1. Kelana Jaya is a good area where people work, live and play, although I am not sure about the number of young families staying in this area though.  It seems to me the occupants are working people.
2. Paradigm mall and potential LRT station factor
3. Freehold
4. Rental rate now going for RM1600-2000 (based on asking prices in websites)

Other factors to research:
1. Occupancy mix  (was told that MAS staff and badminton players always rent to stay here, not sure about others)
2. When is the repainting going to start and finish - that will bring up the image of the property which I think had not been repainted since its completion in 1997/98.
3. Actual occupancy rate - 1 agent told me it's 80-90%, but then we must do our own research.

Hope any owners/ tenants in Shang Villa can answer some of these questions.

Updated in June 2013:
Ok, disappointingly, the LRT station is built across the road from Kelana Business Centre.  Hopefully there will be a pedestrian access or shuttle buses to serve the residential area.

Image fromhttp://www.starproperty.my/index.php/articles/investment/starpropertys-map-of-lrt-extension-stations/

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Property N Co Lelong Seminar

Property N Co successfully shared another 1-day seminar, this time focusing just on auctions and the know-hows.  A good day concluded with lots of learning and sharing.  Good times are best shared with friends and like-minded people, as Rohaniah Noor says, "aliens" who are out-of-this-world who are mad about property investments.
Anie at the intro

Lawyers who are specialists in Auctions

The Participants

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Robert Kiyosaki at National Achievers Congress 2012, Malaysia

Robert Kiyosaki, famous author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, is coming to Klang Valley on 29-31 May 2012.  This event is the National Achievers' Congress, which Sara, Rohaniah Noor, and myself are planning to go.
But I was flabbergasted when I found out that the "early bird" price is RM297 per person.   Earlier, Rohaniah reported that the promotion through Groupon was only RM197 per person, but the Groupon offer is already over.

Having not received a regular email from the organizer (which I am on the mailing list), I was quite irritated.  How come they did not inform regular customers first?  So I wrote them an email to complain, especially when the staff who answered the phone was curt and not helpful.

Finally I got a reply today.  If I can get at least 10 people to join, we can still attend at RM197 each.  So we are calling on those of you out there who want to join us at this special price, and we register together.  However, this is only valid till end March, so please hurry if you want to join us; leave a comment below and I will contact you.

You can check out their promo price here at RM297.

This is Kiyosaki live in KL, in person.  A chance not to be missed and at RM197, a good deal for 3 days of mind-changing, positive energy seminar!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

When Verbal Agreement is Not Good Enough

I was told this story by a real estate negotiator (REN), C.  They were in a co-broking deal.  One prospective buyer wanted to buy an office, and said that after the SPA, he wanted to move in and rent from the owner as a tenant.  The owner's REN said, that is of course not a problem; in fact, the owner would even let him use the office for no rent since he was the buyer and it was only for a few months. Based on this, the buyer was very happy, he didn't even negotiate the price very much, and then booked the unit with his deposit.

Then when the SPA was about to be signed, the owner refused to have the buyer move in with the so-called "no rental" before the completion of the deal. The buyer was disappointed, the owner was adamant with his decision, so much so that if the buyer refuse to sign the SPA, the owner can then forfeit his 2% deposit.  The buyer then confronted C (the co-broking REN, not the one who promised the free rental deal). C then spoke to the owner's REN and asked about this breach of promise. The owner's REN said, "Well, nothing can be done, there is nothing written on the agreement as conditions to the sale".  C was furious, and told him: "Look here, although it was not written, you said it, the buyer heard it and I was there. How can you do this?  Try to persuade the owner."

At the end, the owner still refused to allow early entry into the office, the buyer had no choice but to wait out the completion of the sale (because he didn't want to lose his deposit).
C, from then on, was very careful who he co-broke with, and tried to look after his client's interest rather than go through with any difficult deal.  While there are 2 types of RENs, the ones who don't care about anybody other than themselves, and the ones like C, who would really look their client's interest.
The lesson for all of us here is, whatever is promised, get it down in writing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ikea Expedit Bookcase - waiting to get into our new apartment

In anticipation of vacant possession of an apartment, we are now collecting furniture to furnish it.  One of the good deals I got is this Ikea Expedit bookcase, which I have been watching out for one since a few months ago. This is because the studio unit really needs a divider between the living space and the bed, so this is an essential piece of furniture.
New selling price is RM699, I got it at RM300.  It took hubby about 10mins to dismantle it, and then both of us loaded it into the car, in the hot sun.  Buying 2nd hand means we have to provide our own labour and transport. Then again, so is buying new from Ikea.  
I can't wait to start doing up the new apartment, but so far no news yet on the VP.   However, in keeping with the law of attraction, one should behave as if one has already got the keys!  Let's hope that this bookcase would not lie too long in storage.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Financial Mastery Course

This was a great 2-days course full of calculations by Freemen.  A good course to master your financials.
We started with our Financial Freedom Number.  Although I have done this before, it was great to refresh and remind myself what is my pension fund and what is my properties value in order to support my pension cash flow.
This was followed by a session on setting up a company and the accompanying math. The general rule of thumb is to set up a property holding company for properties worth >RM1mio, otherwise it becomes not cost-effective given the costs of setting up and maintaining a company.
Next, we were sent to Bank Negara to obtain our own CCRIS record.  A CCRIS record shows your capability and dependability to service your loan instalments, and is the reference document that banks use to check your loan records.
Photo courtesy of http://www.propertywaltz.com

After lunch it was another calculation session for debt-service-ratio, followed by a good question and answer session by Michael Tan and Sandeep.
Sandeep at the Q&A

On the 2nd day, guest speakers in the form of a regional mortgage banker and a valuer were brought in, to give us understanding on how the numbers in properties are calculated.  At the end, a short lesson on joint ventures and partnerships, including the Deed of Trust and the rules of engagement are also elaborated upon.

This is certainly a great course for seasoned investors to find out more about how credit can be used to work to our advantage.  And clearly this benefited Sara, and our blogger friend who has more details about the course at her blog: Do You Master Your Property Financing?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Apartment Hunting

My apartment hunt, which hopefully, results in an acquisition for 2012.

Watch this space for a review of my research ;-)