Friday, July 17, 2009

Excuse Me, Are You a Property Agent? (5)

I had sold a lovely two room apartment unit at a popular condominium in River Valley vicinity.

The client, a young executive, had bought the unit at a reasonably good price of $1.17 million. She had even offered to rent the unit for 3 months. At first I thought she was from overseas and probably had to move from her current rental place. Later I found out that she was living with her parents. Hence I asked her why she needed to rent the unit and to my surprise, she said, "I want to do some renovation before I move in".

I reminded the client who had sold the unit that there were a few things in the premises - a fridge, two-in-one washing machine/dryer and a portable standing mirror. He asked me if the condition of the electrical gadgets were still good and I suggested he should go and take a look.

To our horror, we found that the whole unit was in a mess as almost everything was hacked - the toilet bowls, sinks, wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, etc. My client was upset because the tenant had gone ahead with the renovation without first seeking his written approval. Thinking that probably the contractor had made a mistake, because my client had told me she was just going to do a minor renovation, I phoned my client and she said, "Ya,'s only a minor renovation!"

To redo the whole unit up even though it is only 900 sq. ft. would probably cost her at least $80 to $100K. My heart ached on seeing the huge amount of wastage! The unit had been renovated once before, and the apartment was still in very good condition with beautiful wall tiles, wardrobes and cabinets. Even the toilet sinks were very unique and beautiful. I thought of the poor forest of trees when I saw the wooden mess of broken wardrobes and cabinets. The rich have no qualms about discarding and wasting.....but tell some of them to help the needy a takes many breaths of effort! Of course we do have some rich people who are very generous and I am sure they know who they are.

This incident also made me think of some of the peculiarities of the people who "have." A friend's mother would rather leave her flat vacant all these two decades rather than to earn some rental income....simply because she does not like others to "touch her belongings." Her filial daughter recently bought over her unit from her, and her condition is that the flat must not be rented out. The unit can command about $1,600 to $1,800 a month. I told my friend that even if the mother does not need the money, it is not good stewardship to waste what has been given to us. We are responsible for what we have in our possessions - to always make good use and not to waste.

Another filthy rich lady proudly declared that she would always leave her properties vacant because she hates paying commission to agents. My jaws nearly dropped when I heard that. I have always thought that my understanding of mathematics is incorrigibly poor; but here is someone who probably has a distorted understanding of economics and mathematics! Moreover, if apartments are left vacant for too long, they degenerate faster, and worse, may soon be inhabited by "spirits".

Sigh! I guess meeting people from all walks of life everyday, and with all types of peculiarities and idiosyncrasies - that is what makes my life as an agent so colorful! My work is also turning me into ahem.....a little I often like to reflect over what I see and hear.

Gan Chau

1 comment:

KoSong Cafe said...

I believe in 'waste not, want not' but others would dismiss it as excuses for being unable to afford, which is true.

Eg. I would not even repaint a new house, let alone knock out brand new tiles and walls, until a year or two later. There are those who would like only new things because they worry over the history of the previous owners, like for eg. used to be owned by someone who is now dead. They cannot be antique collectors because antique should be over 100 years old! Actually antique collectors and others who appreciate and collect old furniture and so on, help to reduce waste in cutting down trees and other natural resources.

There are many people who complained of having bad tenants and they ended up having to pay for renovations after tenants have left which effectively means returning money back to the house. The only compensation is the hope for capital appreciation. But then again, what we have seen are people who speculated and got caught in the economic crisis.

In my virtual shopping for investments, I have come across unbelievable value for money offers for sale. Eg. recently a pre-war shop in Menglembu, Ipoh was sold for Rm83,000! Freehold land area is 20x1200ft. Now there is a newer shop near or in Pasir Pinji, Ipoh going for Rm130,000. Described as useful as a store, it is 20x66ft. So for those who are really hard up, cheap places are plenty in Malaysia. On your way back to Penang, perhaps you can drop by Ipoh and see for yourself what S$1 million can buy!