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3 Streamlined & Covid-19-proof Property Investment Tips

Proptech allows property buyers to seek online information which are very useful when buying a property
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This major and unprecedented event, Covid-19 and the “Great Lockdown”, have brought us, the public, to a sudden and dramatic change of habits, and property is one of them!

Let’s have a look together at how, when applied to real estate, this shift has and will further modify our approach to the market. Above all let’s be aware of all the good and bad which are coming along.

When first-time or not experienced property buyer are approaching the market for their first big purchasing decision, be it offline or online, they should be very mindful of all the possible pitfalls they will, in one way or the other, be facing.  

Not experienced property buyers shall always do in depth due diligence before buying a property

Major property risk-points are normally identified as: 

  • Property developer’s track of record and financial stability, 
  • property location and accessibility, 
  • Property price/value positioning in the area and possible capital gain/return on investment (ROI)

Nowadays, with the second lock-down “MCO 2.0”, its possible further extension and a “social distancing” rule which will remain enforced for long, it’s definitely the right time to learn about all the available online resources and how to use them to check as much as possible before making the final property buy/don’t buy decision.

Property Developer’s reputation

Buying a property is, for the majority of people, the biggest decision of their lives. As such, it shouldn’t be taken only based on listening to others’ opinion or advices but through an in-depth analysis which starts with who is the developer. First thing first, let’s have a look at the website of the developer and/or project.

From here it should already be possible to understand if the developer is a first-time player or an established and well reputed one, how many completed projects has in its carnet and so on. From the website, stepping into the social media platforms of the developer is matter of seconds and from there it will be possible to check the reviews, comments, complaints and so on.

Next places to visit, virtually of course, are the online portals. From Property Hunter to iProperty or StarProperty, just mentioning few, make sure you will spend some time in these portals searching information about your “wanna-buy” property, the developer and all related comments and reviews.

Some of these portals are providing interesting comparison with “similar projects” which help the home-seekers to judge the fairness of the pricing, features and more.

Last compulsory stopover is at the Ministry of Housing website and, more precisely, at the blacklisted developers’ page, follow this link to see it.

The visitors will find full and updated list of all errant developers which, in one way or the other, have broken the law. Some of the wrong-doing are minor mistakes but, for sure, our home-seekers wouldn’t like to buy a unit by a developer with abandoned project history.

Location and accessibility

The old property mantra, location-location-location, can easily be checked out online by using Google-Earth. Once you have found the precise location of the property you are interested in, it is possible to switch to “street view” and have a digital drive through in the area nearby, checking which amenities are actually available, the “look and feel” of the neighbour, accessibility to main highways or public transportation and more.  

Google keeps on updating its maps and satellite views but always remember to double-check the bottom right side of your screen to see how old the imagery files are. For popular locations, which by definition are also property hot spot areas, the updates are, in most cases, recent. However, if you’re studying new developing areas you may find out that the imagery files are actually 3 or even 4 years old.

Talking about property location and accessibility, allow me to highlight the importance to search and understand what is and will be happening in the areas nearby your chosen location. What I’m talking about here, is the economic development and the growth path that happened in the surrounding areas during the past 10/15 years.

You can still use the digital tool above which allows you to have satellite views’ history of at least 15 years. Understanding and following the growth path of developments in the area where your “wanna-buy-unit” is, will get you to have a higher chance in terms of ROI and capital gain. 

Smart property seekers, can also use this tool, Google Earth, to make sure that the building orientation is good. I.e. windows facing north and south are always the best choice, not from a metaphysic science point of view but from the practical one of not having your unit heated up like a microwave by morning or evening sun.

Secondly is always good to check the “supposed to be” best view direction from the property, to avoid unpleasant surprises of having the view blocked by what is in the proximity or unpleasant panoramas by the time you will really open the window of your new property.

Use Google Earth as much as you want, it is totally free and, remember that a picture always tells one million words.

Compare, Contrast & Calculate

This is an interesting process which will allow our property hunters to better understand the pros and cons of their desired unit together with its important USP (Unique Selling Points) which, in future, will contribute in raising the value of their property.

First thing first search online some of the neighbouring properties, possibly from primary market (new projects). Then identify all the similarities and the main differences in terms of offerings of the selected properties, the template gives my idea on how I’m comparing and contrasting different properties.

Last but not least, purchasers nowadays can easily check their bankability on line by downloading their own CCRIS form and make sure to get ready with good payments record, reducing exposure for the credit cards and, in few words, be presentable from a borrower standing to the lenders. 

There is really much more that could be said on the future of the property market within the digital transformation accelerated process which is undergoing nowadays.

The Malaysia Propetch Association could be a good reference and knowledge platform for all those professionals, real estate negotiators, property investors and first-time home buyers interested in knowing more on the digital future of properties. 

In case you’ve already invested in real estate, maybe you want too check here what RentLab does and offers in terms of smart tools for landlords!

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About the author

Dr Daniele Gambero
Dr Daniele Gambero
Dr Gambero has been an expatriate to Malaysia from Italy, since 1998 and has more than 35 years of real estate experience. He is the co-founder and group CEO of REI Group of Companies, the Co-founder of Propenomy.com and the deputy president of the Malaysia Proptech Association. In the past 10 years Daniele, as international and TEDX speaker, has engaged several hundreds thousand people talking about Property, Economy, Propenomy, Digital Marketing and Motivation. He is also a bestselling author and columnist on several magazines and main stream media.
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