Guidance For Negotiators: Client Winning Mode

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This first post from VerdeauxCondos.com is dedicated to the real estate agent– real heroes, in our opinion. Without them, imagine the chaos that could happen! It’s only best to provide helpful tips to real estate agents who need to close a sale. It only starts with winning clients– and this is how we think you should do it.

More and more homeowners these days take more precautionary measures before hiring the services of a real estate agent for when selling their homes. They now take more time screening and interviewing their prospective real estate agents.

It’s only right.

The move is beneficial for both the homeowner and the agent, since it would take a good relationship between seller and agent to make a good sale. More homeowners these days are getting involved in the selling process and they only naturally want an agent they could work rather easily well. Just imagine the inconvenience of having to change an agent midway through the selling process – the opportunity costs are bound to hurt both parties definitely!

Also, owners understand that the real estate agents are primarily the source of prospective buyers, homeowners know that they have to pick one who is likely to get the deal done and more quickly and efficiently.

This has made the client market a bit more challenging for the real estate agents. To win more clients both from the sellers’ and buyers’ sides, here are some helpful tips:

  • Be confident.

Confidence is a very helpful and essential tool in business. While employees have to go through interviews one job at a time, real estate agents have to do it one client after another. No matter how condescending or nice your clients are, confidence will have you winning them all. Also, confidence helps you win referrals, and that is always a good thing. Referrals are definitely important, as Zillow explains here, so make sure you have all that confidence to help you succeed.

  • Have a plan ready.

More homeowners are looking for a solid strategic marketing plan from their real estate agents. Some may ask you about it, some don’t but it will always be helpful to be ready with it. No it does not have to look like a whole year’s worth of reading material. Chances are, she won’t even have the time to skim through a few pages outside of all the contracts and papers you are to shove into their faces soon as the selling process begins. Create your own strategy– do your research, meet the market, or click here to read a lot of good reviews so you can find out if everything is according to plan. Just at least be ready to present a marketing plan to them, explain how you are planning to sell the house and if your competitors do not have it, the points are on you.

  • Smile.

It can win hearts of girls/boys, it can also win hearts of clients. I am clearly opposed to being friends with clients, but being friendly and displaying a constant friendly smile is always a plus. Smiling and being generally nice to clients make them feel more comfortable. It makes them feel like they could tell you about anything and that they can trust you.

  • Keep constant correspondence.

After the initial meet up with either buyer or a seller, always do your follow ups. Check your emails and blog messages (maybe even Facebook messages) too so you can respond. The thing is, constant communication makes them feel like you’re actually interested to help them. (PS. Constant communication is not equal to flooding them with messages like a total creep!)

Win it all with your professionalism and friendliness. GO GET ‘EM, TIGER!

Penned by Patricia Morrison in 2014. All rights reserved. Do not copy!

Hot!

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Patricia says…

Getting a property in a hot real estate location does come with its perks – probably a rich neighborhood with picturesque homes, great access to everything important like schools and the business district and the shops, and a close proximity to the major thoroughfares – sure, the perks are endless.

But as with anything that seems too good, it can never be too good without a little drawback. In this case, the drawback is always the price; yes, the Malaysian houses that are on the hottest areas in the city are usually the most expensive. After all, you get to pay for the quality of it, right?

Three (3) Killer Tips On Buying Properties In Hot Locations (like KLCC)!

So if you’re just dying to get your hands in any of these hotspot properties (fancy Grand Medini much?), but you want to make sure that you’re going to get it with very little hassle, and that you’re getting your money’s worth, these tips might be all that you’ll ever need:

  1. Figure out why the properties in the area are expensive. Sometimes, all the makes a place expensive is the make-believe prestige. This is especially true in those exclusive gated communities, where the realty developer’s prestigious name is all that makes it expensive. Is the location convenient? Is the place highly secure, especially for growing children? Are the major public utilities more easily accessible than if you get a place elsewhere? Weigh in the odds and find out if it really is kinda worth the price tag or if it’s all just a big hype (like 2 Hampshire in KLCC!) :)
  2. Search for other similar property areas. There are probably more than four corners in one city. And there is probably two or three areas in the entire city that could offer everything you want and need in your dream home without boring such a huge hole in your pocket. So do your research, look for a semi-similar place and compare the prices, compare the pros and cons of living in these places and see if one is better than other, without necessarily being that expensive. Or, maybe, find a place that would be a bit more expensive but would be more worth every penny of it. Just remember to ask the right questions!
  3. Search every nook and cranny of your preferred neighborhood. If you’re in that exact same area that you actually desire to get a Malaysian house in (and you have applied the auction tips that I have shared previously), then you’d better be finding the perfect house for you in there – every nook and cranny of it. So go ahead and look around the houses in the area, weigh every pro and con and do a comparative analysis. Don’t jump right into the first nice house you see; in the kind of hot location neighborhood you’re in, there are probably tons of other nice houses there. Remember, for you not to lose some valuable cash on the wrong home, you had better get the house that suits you perfectly.

It is practically easy to get carried away with all the perks of getting a Malaysian house in a hot location. But don’t let all these ‘perks’ and good qualities make you commit bad financial decisions. Good luck on the new house from all of us at VerdeauxCondos.com!

Penned by Patricia Morrison in 2014. All rights reserved. Do not copy! Email me if you want to reprint it! Don’t be a thief!

Auctions

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Whatsup all my fans! :)

Auctioning homes has become the fast way out for Malaysians looking to dispose of their homes. This has also been the go-to place for home buyers and investors who are either looking for bizarre home structures, or cheap ones. It holds practically almost the same concept as buying a home the traditional way; you might still need the services of an agent or a solicitor, as well as a lender for the financial aid.

Auctions are a great place to find hard-to-get items, profession materials, and items needed for quests. -from an article by wowwiki.com.

But buying a Malaysian house at an auction is fast and has lesser complications than its traditional counterpart. You pay the house outright and expect the house to be vacated and ready for you to move in (depending of course, on the condition of the house) within 28 days from payment.

And if you’re selling a house, that makes selling much, much easier for you in a sense that you get the pay right off the bat. Or at least, get the down payment on the day your house is bought, and expect the rest within the next 28 days. You don’t have to worry too much about advertising because homes on auctions are hardly ever sold for their looks or quality (unless your unit is a looker like Binjai On The Park, Vipod Suites or even engTex. Perhaps the only setback of putting your home on auction is that you would have less control over the price of the house.

But when is it ever okay and ideal to put your house on auction? Read on and know that your house is best for auction if:

  1. If you need to sell your house quick. More often than not, time isn’t on our side and we need to sell the house (and the money) fast enough. This is very much true if you are trying to get out of a debt or mortgage repossession. Auctions are less complicated and so houses sell faster in this type of market so if a speedy sale is what you’re after more than the price, then go ahead and put your house at an auction.
  2. If your house is in a bad shape. Buyers come to auctions to save on money. This is also the hub for investors looking for homes to restore and resell. Buying them in traditional ways would pretty much cost them a lot and so they go to auctions to save up. And your less than ideal home would make the perfect fit for these bargain hunters. You can expect a higher bid if your house sits in a prime location. It would not have sold otherwise, anyway, so might as well take this chance!
  3. If your house is bizarre. Apart from bargain hunters, auctions are also the place for home buyers looking for their fill of bizarre structures. There are tons of homes – the rare and weird ones – found in these auction houses: shaped like an elephant, crafted from a plane or a boat, glass houses, homes made of cork – those types of homes that won’t sell with regular homeowners can be found in these auction homes. HA HA!

If your Malaysian house or situation fits the bill on these categories, please by all means, go ahead and put it out into auction. But make sure you know the basics of home auctioning!

Penned by Patricia Morrison in 2014. All rights reserved. Do not copy! Don’t be a scummy thief!

Nasty Neighbors Blues

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Hello fans! Pat here again :)

This is a follow up from the last article

So you’ve done practically everything to make your house the best house on the listing and in your neighborhood. You’ve channeled your inner Martha Stewart and have transformed your house into something straight out of Forbes magazine. You’ve spent dollars upon dollars on home repairs that it’s practically good as new. Your home is priced competitively on the market and on top of that, you have a superstar real estate agent. This is it– you are ready to sell your house (through an agent like me, or you might also want to consider auctioning your house).

Things could never get any more perfect than this – within your yard that is. The only thing that’s stopping your house from selling is something that’s just right outside of your own home: your neighbor.

Realistically, home buyers look not only into the condition of your house but the condition of your closest neighboring homes as well. This doesn’t just go for houses, it is also applicable in condominium communities, too. It’s important to know that many homeowners have lost several thousands of dollars off of their selling price over their neighbors who just can’t seem to keep their yards clean and their house kept, or just have plain bad reputations.

Unfair as it seems, that’s the reality. Here are the facts on how your bad neighbors can hurt your home’s market value:

  • Neighbors with bad reputations.

If your neighbors have a bad reputation, like several run-ins with the law, history of crime or public disturbance, or maybe even a haunting story or something, your house is likely to be only attractive to secret agents, detectives, and ghost hunters. It is disappointing to know that you can hardly trust the people living right next to or across from your future home. If you’re unlucky, your condominium neighbour may be the worst tenant in the world. Quite frankly, your prospective buyers will think that you are actually leaving your house to avoid your bad neighbors.

You know how much effort and credit goes to a very clean and very impressive curb appeal? Your buyer does not stop looking at where your yard ends; it goes all the way to the neighbors’ house. See, everyone wants a picturesque house in a picturesque neighborhood – something that you’d love to make a postcard of. And a single, bad, dirty house close to yours could easily become the eyesore that destroys the whole view.

  • Bad neighborhood.

If your neighborhood is known for being a hub for gangsters, petty crimes, and lack of police visibility, then it is bad, bad news for your home selling endeavors. No one wants to live in a neighborhood with security issues – especially not the ones who are trying to raise a family. I understand that not everybody can afford a place like 8 Napier in Singapore or Platinum Park in KLCC, but there’s no price tag on the safety of your family.

  • Unfriendly neighbors.

Whether it’s the way they acted when they saw your prospective buyers, or how they behaved when they were asked during the buyer’s ocular inspection, an unfriendly  gesture is always a turn off. Who wants to live with snobbish neighbors anyway? Don’t be too alarmed though – this is only a minor setback compared to the others on this list.

No one can please everyone. Your neighbors are certainly not trying to do any of that if they fall to any of the categories listed above. If you are unfortunate enough to have these kinds of neighbors, you have to be ready to make adjustments either on your selling price or your marketing strategy to get your house sold.

Penned by Patricia Morrison in 2014. All rights reserved. Do not copy!

Considering Rental Properties?

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First of all, a distraction! Here’s a screen recording of a Rick Ruby real estate seminar which I have attended – enjoy!


I LOVE RICK!

I am writing this to address the questions asked in this seminar.

You see, many newbie real estate investors find that their safest first investment choice would be buying rental property. It is safe in a sense that, if done right, there is a constant flow of income. Someone somewhere will always need to rent a house or an apartment. And compared to buying and selling, you won’t have to lose your property out right when you open your doors to clients.

But how do you play your cards right? How do you make sure you are doing the right thing so your investment brings out the returns you wanted? It starts with buying the right property.

Not sure how? Here are some heads up for starters:

  • Know which type of rental property you’re getting. No real estate property is ever too cheap, so you should know and be certain about what you are actually putting your money into. Are you buying an apartment complex or a simple home? If it’s a home is it a villa, is it a bungalow, or a duplex? Knowing which type of property you’re investing in for rentals will greatly help determine how you are going to market it.
  • Identify your target market. Who are you going after with your rental property? Are you targeting yuppies? Small families? Students? It’s best to filter them to avoid tenant problems (read this if you want to know more), that may arise in the future. Who you’re going after with your property will tell you early on not only how to best market your rental property, but as well as your projected return of investment time and amount.
  • Check the location. In real estate, the property’s location can make or break your investment’s value – whether or not the market is good. Is your preferred location accessible to your target market ? Is the area teeming with the type of people you’re after (example: RuMa in KLCC is near the clubbing area where the yuppies hang out)? What are the things and places within your immediate and extended vicinity that could help boost your marketability (example: GoodWood Residence is near a cluster of upmarket malls)? Which ones could hurt it? How is the peace and order of your preferred area?
  • Check for the condition of the property. Just like any kind of real estate purchase, personal or business investment, it is extremely important to buy something that is worth your money. You don’t want to be losing your money over damages and repairs. To avoid buying a secretly dilapidated property, invest in the services of a good home inspector. What little amount you have to pay for the inspector’s services, you will save yourself from the expenses incurred by hidden damages.
  • What contingency plans are available and open for you should your rental place be vacant long? Vacancies are inevitable in rental properties. You cannot fully expect 100% occupancy all the time. So should your rental place be vacated a bit long, what available options do you have? Does your prospective property open up for opportunities of vacation rental? Or does your current location offer it?

When buying a rental place, the price of the property is hardly an issue – it’s the actual value of the house. And before getting knee-deep into it, do know that investing in a renting out properties requires a hands on management. So make sure that’s something you’re ready for!! :)

Penned by Patricia Morrison, MBA in 2014. All rights reserved. Do not copy!

FSBO… Is That A Dirty Word?

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Ahoy Readers!

Today o’ Pat is gonna rant a little :). Contrary to what your real estate agents would say against homes sold FSBO (if you want the dictionary definition, click here for Investopedia definition -> FSBO) there are actually a lot of benefits to it compared with real estate agent-sold units. And besides, you can’t really fully rely on agents’ opinion on FSBOs because they are the ones directly affected by these types of home sales. Don’t listen to the naysayers!

For one, you have a better chance at getting a good bargain when you’re directly dealing with owners. They make the final decisions after all and they don’t have the fixed commission to worry about if and when they lower their home prices. Although they are normally more attached to their homes, there is a reason why FSBOs sell faster than traditionally-sold ones. I know this may sound weird coming from an agent, but it is true!

So if you’re keen on buying an FSBO home, and you are ready to take on the challenges that come with it, here are some helpful tips and do’s and don’ts (special thanks to Gordon Lee for the pointers!)

Do:

  • Take time to know the homeowner. Unlike real estate agents, they are mere homeowners who just want to get their homes sold at the best price possible. They are not competing for commission and recognition and they are not master marketers. They would appreciate friendly buyers anytime. It also pays to know the concerns of your neighbors. So do some research. For example, if you are planning on buying a property in the Bangsar area, you have to note that there are prime and not-so-prime locations (older properties like Gaya Bangsar tends to occupy good locations). If you are planning on buying a property to rent out, you might want to read our previous blog post on common tenant problems. At least you won’t be surprised if a concern comes up!! 😉
  • Hire a good home inspector. One of the biggest pitfalls into buying FSBOs is falling into the dramatic presentation that homeowners put their house on. Some homeowners do it so well they convince home buyers to pay for a house that has a lot of hidden problems. To avoid this get a home inspector that will check every nook and cranny of the house thoroughly. Trust me, you’ll save yourself from so much stress if you do this.
  • Get a C.L.U.E. or a Competitive Loss Underwriting Exchange. This type of report tells you exactly the insurance claims of the owner on the house. Some homeowners will intentionally forget these types of information so make sure you take the initiative to dig into these things.

Don’t:

  • Forget to get a competitive market analysis. You can get this from local authorities or buy this bit of information from local real estate agents. Others may even give it for free. Get the market values of homes around the area to see if you’re getting a good pricing.
  • Fail to negotiate. Just because they are headstrong at saying they are not moving their price does not mean they would not accept a good offer. As long as your offer is competitive and fair, homeowners would not let you on too long because they themselves are in a hurry to get their money to make their move. Bear in mind that you are the client, so don’t be shy in negotiating. I have a friend who recently bought a unit at One Menerung and got a real bargain!
  • Hesitate to do some of the paperwork yourself. Don’t leave all the paperwork on property transfer to the homeowner, especially the ones that would require your signature and ones that you can handle yourself. You’ll be surprised at how much you would save on closing costs just by being a little less dependent on someone else.

FSBO buying is never too different from traditional home buying. It can’t be all that different except in the way homeowners deal with their potential buyers. It may actually require a bit of work but if done right, your savings on the home offer will be worth the extra effort.

Penned by Patricia Morrison in 2014. All rights reserved. Do not copy! Also, special thank you to Corey Tan for proofreading.

My Client’s Questions Checklist

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Selling a house is a huge decision. Apart from the emotional attachment involved, there are always the bigger issues like money, mortgage, not to mention the hassles of having to sell a real estate property. So before making a home sale, make sure you are ready to face the issues that await you.

To arrive at the right answer – in anything – we must also ask the right questions. So to help you arrive at the correct answers to help guide you on your home sale, here is a list of questions you need to ask yourself before selling your house (I provide this list to my clients) –

You can download this checklist in PDF format – right click this link and choose “SAVE AS”

Where do you go from here?

Before selling the house, you have to have a contingency plan ready. You cannot give up a home without finding a home to move into afterwards. Do you have a target relocation home? What do you do with the money you get from getting your home sold?

Why are you selling your house?

The purpose of selling your house helps define how the rest of the process will go. Are you moving for work or school? Are you selling to get a lower mortgage? Have you decided to move into a more luxurious location like a Mont Kiara condominium unit in MK11 or the Arcoris, or to an older, cheaper apartment like Mont Kiara Aman? Are you selling an ‘extra’ home to save on costs? Is it necessary to sell your home? What other options do you have outside of selling your home?

How soon do you need to sell this house?

This more or less defines your time frame. Make sure, however, that when answering this question, you take into consideration not only your own self-appointed target date but also the movements in the market. Is this an urgent sale? How much time do you have between selling this old home and getting a new one?

Are you doing it with an agent or are you doing it yourself?

If you’re confident enough that you can do it yourself, then you should, by all means, do all the necessary steps, get the necessary documents and everything else involved in selling a house. That does include having to prepare a marketing strategy for your home. Otherwise, if you’re doing it with an agent, find a good brokerage firm or an agent that suits your preferences. Find someone that you feel confident with, someone that you think you can trust and can get along well with. Real estate agents know how to win clients, sometimes strategically, so better be careful in selecting one that would do the work for you.

How much are you selling the house for?

This is where most homeowners looking to sell their homes make mistakes. They overprice their homes, putting monetary value on their emotional attachment. Get a professional appraiser to get a fair, objective price tag for your home – at least the ideal price that will have it sell faster.

What can increase the home value?

There are things that homeowners can do to increase their property’s home value. If there are any improvements that you are looking to make for your property, make sure that they actually increase your market value and not otherwise, and make sure that you do it just in time before selling it.

Selling a home is not easy, but with the right attitudes and preparation, everything might just go smoothly. If you need my help, just ask!

Penned by Patricia Morrison in 2014. All rights reserved. Do not copy!

99 Tenant Problems (And The Solutions)

patricia-bannerHello Patrician’s Readers! :)

Renting out a place – whether a room or an apartment – is probably the best, most logical and most affordable living options for people who cannot quite yet afford their own home. However, this convenience does not come free of problems that are never experienced by homeowners.

After real estate agents finally do their job and win clients, it’s now your part to be the homeowner or become a tenant. Because being a tenant comes with having to live with a landlord, next-unit neighbors, and in some cases, roommates, most problems come from having to live with these people. Other problems involve having to live with a building that does not pass your standard of quality living.

Sorry, but I can’t resist having this song playing in my head while I am writing this…

Here are some common problems that tenants face in their rental home situation:

Landlord problems

Sometimes landlords can be annoying. Other times you just don’t get along for no reason at all. Good news is, you don’t necessarily have to get along. As long as you follow the tenant rules, pay your dues on time and your rights as a tenant are not violated, dealing with a problematic landlord is never too difficult. Stay out of their way is the best way to go. Problems related to contracts can also be put under this category. Read this article from BBC if you have landlord questions— it’s very informative.

Neighbor Problems

Neighbors come in all forms. We barely have control over who we get to be neighbors with. Unless your neighbor does an Amanda Bynes stint and get booed and petitioned out of the building, there is absolutely no way you can be spared of a problematic neighbor problem. But if indeed a particular neighbor does something as annoying as Amanda did, poses danger for the other tenants of the building, or generally fails to follow the rules of the building, you can always file a formal complaint to the landlord and let him settle the problem. For everything else, there’s always the RPA.

Building Problems

Unless you live in one of the upmarket condominiums in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre where everything is straightened out, the most common building-related problems include lack in security measures, damaged facilities, problems with using and repairing of appliances and parts of the unit among others. There is a reason why condominium fees are increasing– some of it goes to maintenance. It’s actually your friend– as Realty Times explains, because you know they will be put into good use.

Commonly, landlords and tenants argue when it is unclear on who gets to shoulder the damages on parts of the unit or on appliances that come with the unit. It also goes the same with damage and repair needs for common areas in the building (i.e. elevator, hallway, stairs, etc). This is also a good reason to read your contract thoroughly and keep a copy of it so you have something to refer to in cases of conflicts and disputes.This is the reason why it is important to make a thorough inspection of the place before signing the contract.

These problems are almost always inevitable. They are risks that come with tenancy. As responsible and prudent tenants, increase your level of effort to protect yourself from these scenarios. When problems arise, and everything else fails, go seek the help of a lawyer and the authorities to ensure you get a fair, unbiased decision and resolution over your problems.

Penned by Patricia Morrison in 2014. All rights reserved. Do not copy!