[Josephine Says...] Quitting


I know, quitting sucks, but I can’t see a way out. I can’t blog very well, and it’s not paying my bills.

If you need help with your real estate marketing efforts, go to visit a site like GoodPlace.my or Mudah.my. I am done.

This post is written by Josephine Chan. If you need help marketing your real estate services, contact me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com

[Josephine Says...] Why Ayn Rand Will Approve Lease Options… Or Maybe Not


First of all, let me clarify that I am a fan of Ayn Rand, and the things that she fought for. The fact of the matter is that she’s not a libertarian fan (like me), and would not take ideas of “lease options” too kindly.

Let me explain. :)

If you need to know, lease option, also known as the rent-to-own option, is a home purchase option that does not require a mortgage plan right away. It’s an alternate instalment plan in buying a Malaysian house that does not right away require a down payment nor a mortgage financing, but will assure the potential home buyer that the house will be held off the market for him.

I hope this explanation works…. because I tried explaining to my mother in law and she couldn’t get it!

Lease Options

“Lease Options” may be offensive to libertarians and objectivists… no guesses why. :)

How it works… for dummies!

Before anything, here’s a good Business Insider article which you should read. Go check it out, and come back. I can wait.

Here’s an apt definition from that article y-if

In a lease option agreement, as is implied in its moniker (rent-to-own), the potential owner pays a rent – usually much higher than fair market rental fees – monthly and a portion of which goes to a ‘fund’ that will be slashed off the total selling price of the house as equity. This ‘portion’ is decided by the mutual agreement entered into by the home buyer and the home seller; it could be 25% of the rent, 50% or maybe even 100% although this happens very rarely.

The lease option agreement is good for a set number of years, at the end of which, the equity or accumulated ‘fund’ is taken off of the original selling price of the Malaysian house. It is at the end of this lease option agreement that the home buyer decides whether or not he pursues to purchase the house at the more traditional, mortgaged payment scheme, or bails out of it to get a better deal elsewhere.

Risks for the Buyer

The thing about lease option is that, if you’re the buyer, you’ll have to contend with the fixed rate of the house no matter how much the home’s value appreciated or depreciated over the course of the lease option agreement. Should the house depreciate, you’d have to pay an above fair market rate for it anyway because that’s what’s on the agreement. Should you choose to bail out of the agreement, there is no way you’re getting back all that cash you spent on the equity.

This is a good option like the Orion, however, if you are not earning enough to qualify for a decent mortgage loan or if your credit record has been so bad in the past that no lender would want you on their list.

Risks for the Seller

A bad tenant who decides to bail out of your lease agreement may be a rent-to-own seller’s worst nightmare. Not even the accumulated equity would be enough to pay off for any damage and repair costs the bad tenant leaves behind.
Also, in the event that a tenant actually decides not to buy the house at the end of the agreement, you as the poor owner would have to go through the same process again. Not to mention, you’d be on the losing end if your property gains value since you’d have to sell the house at its fair market price from several years ago.

As a solution, you’d have to put the monthly equity fee to good use during the time the lease option agreement is in effect; otherwise, there would be no telling where it goes should the home buyer decides not to buy the house in the end.

See previous blog post for references. Thanks!

This post is written by Josephine Chan. If you need help marketing your real estate services, contact me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com

[Josephine Says...] The First Time!


Greetings Everyone!

First time home buyers? I received your emails! As for now, I can recommend this very informative tips and guide from investopedia.com about your concern.

“The first thing you’ll need to determine is what your long-term goals are and then how home ownership fits in with those plans.”

As a everybody’s rule, still the future and planning is the main concern for every decision that you make. But..

“The challenge of buying a home for the first time can seem so daunting that it’s tempting to either just go with the first house that falls in your price range or continue to rent. To help you demystify the process and get the most out of the purchase, we’ll examine what you’ll need to consider before you buy, what you can expect from the buying process itself, and some handy tips to make life easier after you purchase your first home.”

Source: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/first-time-homebuyer-guide.asp

I’ll be back for more stuff, please keep in touch! For now, please do visit my previous blog posts. Thank you for dropping by :)



This post is written by Josephine Chan. If you need help marketing your real estate services, contact me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com

[Josephine Says...] Going, Going, Gone.


Greetings Everyone! I am very glad and very thankful on your feedback on my last blog post. Hope this new post will help everyone :)

One of the best things about home auctions is that most of the homes are sold at much lower, below market value prices. But that’s the exact same thing that makes it not such a great idea either – that is, if you’re the Malaysian home owner trying to get your home sold.

See, when it comes to home auctioning, there is hardly anything you can do about it. You have lost your rights to negotiate and move your price because the result of the bidding decides the final price of your home. Although that is not saying that there are no good things to getting your house auctioned. For one, if you’re looking for a quick sell, auction is the best place to do that. In thirty days maximum, your house would have been paid and you and your stuff should be out of your Malaysian house and on to your next one. For example, Setia Sky Residences – nuff said! :)

Also, if your Malaysian home is not quite as great in condition or is quite bizarre, the auction is full of people willing to buy odd homes and bad homes alike. You can also see this article from express.co.uk to know exactly what I mean. Anything that does not get sold on the regular market is almost always sold in auctions in a jiffy.

You should know these!

But these benefits never fully diminish the risks that come with auctioning homes. Here are some pitfalls to it that you might want to think about before striking that deal with the auctioneer:

  • You have to be ready to move out ASAP. In most homes in the regular market, a house could sit for about 2 to 3 months from when it was first listed. This gives any homeowner enough time to plan a move, look for a house to move into and all the other things that come with home selling and moving. With only thirty days notice, however, an auction will have you scrambling fast out of your house and into your new one. That’s a lot of things to do in only thirty days.
  • You might be saving more if you go FSBO than if you pay percentage to an auctioneer. If you’re looking to max profits or at least save up on commissions and fees, and you have a fairly good and marketable house, a FSBO might be your better option. Sure it’s a lot of work but hey, you get to keep all the goods anyway.
  • You cannot say no to the home’s price. Although in an auction you cannot get anything less than your minimum house price, you cannot really wait longer for ‘better’ prices as soon as the bidding stops. Remember that the minimum house price is almost always less than your ideal selling price so if it does not go much higher, the sale of the house might just be less than the price you’d hoped for.

Auctions are something you have to get used to; you don’t learn it that quickly in one go. Keep in mind that should you get into this type of deal, always get the advice of reliable experts in the trade.

This post is written by Josephine Chan. If you need help marketing your real estate services, contact me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com

[Josephine Says...] Recovering From Mistakes


Looking to buy a Malaysian home? It does not matter whether you’re a first time home buyer or you’ve been with it a couple of times – you can hardly be as good as the pros. Unlike regular real estate investors, to the most of us, buying a home is almost always laced with emotions. The nostalgic, kind of sad feeling of having to part with an old beloved home and all the memories you’ve made in there will be coupled with feelings of excitement and anticipation for the new life and new memories you’re going to build in your home.

That is why it is highly possible to commit mistakes in home purchasing. Unfortunately, some of these mistakes can be so big and so damaging that you end up hurting your very budget or worse, get into a less than suitable house and pay more than what it’s truly worth… especially if you’re a fan of 11 Mont Kiara, Solaris Dutamas, La Grande Kiara or The Residence @Mont Kiara like yours truly. 😉

So before you jump into the whole exciting Malaysian home purchasing experience, be warned and wary of the 5 biggest home buying mistakes that home owners commit:

  1. Not setting up a budget. Most, if not all, people who are looking to buy a home naturally have cash for it. The problem comes when they fail to appropriate this amount for the right costs and fees. Remember, you don’t only have to pay the down payment; there are also the closing costs and other fees including lawyer and paper fees to deal with. Also see this article from Forbes.com. Make sure you have cash enough for all these or you’d end up strapped in a bigger mortgage amount obligation than just the amount of your home.
  2. Not doing all the necessary inspections. Inspecting a home to buy does not stop with getting a pro home inspector within the premises of the house. You also have to inspect the neighborhood that the house belongs to, and maybe a little background investigation work on the next door neighbors. It might be too late to bail out of it when you find out these things after you’ve signed the deal. Do your homework guys!
  3. You didn’t check out similar homes. Malaysian home buying should be a long process – of checking out home after home after home and carefully inspecting each one. You might find out too late that you have missed checking out an exactly similar home that was sold for only a fraction of the cost of the house you ended up buying. That would be such a shame!
  4. Not reading the real estate agent contract. Buyer’s agents, while they are not your obligation as far as the keep is concerned, would normally ask you to sign an exclusivity contract. Now be careful about on contracts – they are legal and binding. Read EVERYTHING written on the contract because there is no easy nor cheap way to get out of it once you realize there’s something you don’t like about it! There are Things Your Real Estate Agent Won’t Tell You.
  5. Not getting pre-approved and choosing the wrong mortgage plan. Getting pre-approved on mortgage before looking for houses is practical both for you and your agent; the amount you are allowed to have for a house will determine which houses you should be looking at. Meanwhile, not getting the right mortgage plan will hurt you for the rest of your loan’s tenure (or sooner if you, unfortunately, get your house repossessed!)


This post is written by Josephine Chan. If you need help marketing your real estate services, contact me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com

[Josephine Says...] Paying Others… Some Thoughts


condo unit

One of the biggest and most lingering issues that homeowners think about (and think through) when they are trying to sell their house in Malaysia is the agent’s commission. Apparently, when you sell your beautiful house like the ones from Clearwater Residence, you never get to take home the price that you actually sold it for. This is the exact same reason why some homeowners take the risk and sell their Malaysian house as FSBO (For Sale By Owner). Sure they have to do all the work, but they get to keep the entire loot for themselves.

But if you’re not one with the good marketing skills, or have the time to deal with it all, you’d likely want to hire the services of a pro real estate agent – which means that you would have to put up with the commission whether you like it or not.

Commissions 101

Traditionally, the Malaysian real estate agents should get 6-10% of the total selling price of the house – that is, if he was the seller’s agent. The buyer’s agent’s commission is a slightly different story. Mostly go with 6, but the more experienced ones always ask for bigger commissions.

The thing is, the agent does not get to keep the entire loot to himself. Of the 6 or so percent that he gets from you, the home owner, about half of it goes to the buyer’s agent. They could get bigger if the buyer’s agent is a newbie but usually, it’s a 50-50 sharing. And in some cases, where the agent works for a bigger brokerage firm, the agent only gets a commission from the commission and it usually depends on how much the broker is willing to give to his agents.
The good news, however, is that commissions are always negotiable. Some agents may seem too daunting or too intimidating making you feel like it’s impossible to get a discount on the commission fee. But guess what – they need you as much as you need them so if you play your cards right, they are likely to budge for the commission adjustment. Hurrah for you of course.


How to Save Up on Commissions

Apart from trying to negotiate the traditional Malaysian way, there are several other ways to get a bigger sum on your home sale and lower the commission fee. One of them is called competitive pricing. The process is simple: you make an agreement with your real estate agent – the sooner he gets your house sold, the bigger his commission fee is. Agents are aware of the fact that the longer the house sits on the market, the lesser its value gets. And to be fair only to you, and to motivate them to work harder on selling your house ASAP, the better it is for them. It’s win-win actually.

Another way is to find the realtor with the most flexible terms as far as commission is concerned. You should get to find this out if you give several interviews and tests for prospective realtors to find out who can ‘bid’ with the lowest commission fee.

See how much they earn in this article by therichest.com.

Please email me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com, if you have anything else. I love helping people :)

This post is written by Josephine Chan. If you need help marketing your real estate services, contact me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com

[Josephine Says...] Secrets


Your real estate agent will tell you why you should buy the house, the size of house you should buy, what you need to get to complete your purchase, and how much you should pay to them. But there’s more to them and their business than what they would want to tell you.

Getting an inside info on the things that they do not tell you will help you save up on fees, either by negotiating on their professional fees or commission, or at least do away with things that do not really help you all that much.

Here are the top things your real estate agent intentionally forgets to tell you:

You’re helping them more than you’re helping your home sale when you are doing an open house. Sure it does get you some curious visitors but in reality, and more often than not, it’s just your even more curious neighbors who have no intention of buying your home. But it does help your broker/agent hand out his/her cards. It opens up more opportunities for your agent to meet more prospective clients making you an unknowing host to your agent’s own business advances.

You actually have more offers on your house than they tell you. While it may sound like a total Samaritan move to be protecting you from bogus or low offers, more often than not, real estate agents are actually just protecting their own commissions. Of course a low offer means a lower commission for them. Too bad for them right? So they’d only entertain offers that will actually be most beneficial for them.

The house is not really good enough to a certified house inspector but it’s really good enough for them. Oftentimes, real estate agents want to rush a sale especially if they are on the selling side of things. They would definitely not want to have the price go so much lower that would affect their own commissions. Or worse, lose prospective client for the sole reason that the house is not good enough for a home inspection.

You can actually sell/buy a house without an agent. Sure it takes more time, requires more effort and energy but more likely than not – you can save more on your purchase or you can be keeping a big chunk of the sale money if you do it all by yourself. Other agents make it seem like it is utterly impossible to make a good purchase without them but in truth, with a little more effort and a little more persistence, you’ll get that luxury apartment in the heart of KLCC  or sell your own house very well sans the agent (and also, sans the commission fees).

Of course, there are also a lot of benefits in hiring a real estate agent. If you are a real estate agent you would obviously disagree with 80% of what’s written in here, but it’s always good to let the audience know both sides of the story. :)

The thing that you will have to understand foremost of all when it comes to real estate purchase and real estate agents and brokers is that it is a business. Just as your local supermarket does not tell you just how much they bought your favorite Cheetos for and how much they are earning from each pack of it, so do the real estate agents.

This post is written by Josephine Chan. If you need help marketing your real estate services, contact me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com

[Josephine Says...] The Diary Of A Self Promoting Agent


Real estate is a business of networks. The more people you know, and the more people who know you, the better your chances are at closing a deal more frequently. However, you cannot just wait for fate to do its thing on you – you have to make your own move to get your name known in the vast, complex and overcrowded world of the real estate industry.

How do you promote yourself effectively as a real estate agent? How do you let your promotions and advertisement investments turn into potential and actual sales? Here are some of the most effective ways:

  • Be creative with your business card. Age-old as this form of advertisement may seem, it still is effective. But, just about any business card won’t do. This is the age of graphics and 3D innovation, might as well use it to create memorable and total standout cards. Oh, and remember to put a good phrase in it. Here’s a really good article about (really) creative business card ideas from Web Designer Depot. Perhaps you can use it one of these days.
  • Go online. For example, sites like http://klcccondominiums.com.my can give an agent lots of information and exposure. There are many ways to be noticed online. For one, you can use the free and easy platforms. Topping the list is Facebook and Twitter. It has a greater reach and it is, yes, inexpensive. A more effective platform would be hiring an online marketing company to do your social media PR for you. They make timely, regular and relevant posts in your name and you have the option to review it as well to make sure your posts speak as if it were you. Another good online platform that you can use for free is Pinterest. You can post photos of different homes, especially those that are in your listing. With a good description, some relevant “hashtags” and a good following, your Pinterest posts will reach a lot of people. There are also exclusive online communities for real estate agents and online listings that allow online ads. Since most people are looking into Google for classifieds, a good online ad will go a long way.
  • Choose where to find your friends wisely. As a real estate agent, every person you meet is a potential client and so choosing your friends is not a wise thing to do. Be “professional” friends with everyone but also make sure you are looking for friends in the right places. Go where there are a lot of potential clients – golf courses, yuppie bars (no, not clubs), wine bars, and other places where socialization with the home buying crowd frequents. However, stay away from dubious networks— you wouldn’t know if these people can be trusted or if they are brewing up the next scam to investors :(
  • Invest in a TV/print ad. People still watch TV. And yes, they still read the papers too. So go ahead and put in some money into a good photo, great print/TV campaign and see how well it does for your marketing needs.

Always be the best agent to every client. Be as good as your ads say you are and rest assured, your investment won’t go to waste.

This post is written by Josephine Chan. If you need help marketing your real estate services, contact me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com

[Josephine Says...] Closing Costs


Looking at all the things involved in a home sale can be bitter sweet if you’re the home buyer. This is the kind of bittersweet that goes beyond the emotional and sentimental attachments you have with your old home. Getting a new house always comes with a good feeling, even with people after foreclosure. It’s still a roof above one’s head and a new place to build new memories in. But, the bitterness comes when you’re trying to pay up for it.

As I sit here sipping coffee in my cousin’s condo right in the heart of KLCC, I realise that closing costs are a whole other dimension of bitterness. :( Those are strong words(blame it on the caffeine). They either take so much a chunk of your budget, or go even beyond your budget that you’d have to raise another amount on top of the money you’d have to raise for your down payment before the house is practically yours.

Ugh, it pains me to even talk about it. :( Here’s why.

What are Closing Costs?

Closing costs are the miscellaneous fees that come with the closing of a house. Say you’ve paid your down payment, the closing costs cover the other services that basically ‘close’ the deal – working up the title of the house, getting the house in your name, working up the papers on the mortgage loan, etc.

If you’re just about to ask, well, apparently these are inevitable. Not to mention the risk of getting scammed(but if you’ve read this previous article you’d be able to avoid it, for sure.)

The ‘cost’ of the closing cost is a variable percentage of the lump sum of the house. The usual amounts range from 2 to 4% of the total amount of the house. And that is not a small fee to pay.


What are my options regarding Closing Costs?

Well since you can’t avoid having to pay it, you have no other choice but to do so. Your available options would be on how you’re paying it and for how much you can save up on it.

First off, you need to get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) from your mortgage broker. The GFE is an account of all that needs to be paid in the closing costs. Sometimes, you end up purchasing a house with a very high interest rate – something that the banks loooove. This happens if you go through a broker. In this scenario, the bank will give the broker an incentive called Yield Spread Premium – and you don’t want that on your accounts. The best thing you can do with this is negotiate to have it removed or at least lower it.

You can pay for your closing costs in cash. But that’s too heavy a burden on anyone’s pockets but Beyonce’s. 😀 Say you’ve already paid thousands of ringgit on your down payment, your closing costs could range between RM300 to RM500, again depending on how much the house costs in total. If that’s beyond you, you can ask your lender to add the closing costs to the rest of the mortgage money.

More insights coming soon, only here at Real Estate Online Help Encyclopedia.

This post is written by Josephine Chan. If you need help marketing your real estate services, contact me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com

[Josephine Says...] Puchong Real Estate – A Projection For 2013


I got my start in real estate investments back in 1994 when I stumbled upon this area in Selangor, Malaysia called “Puchong”. During that time, it was developed by SP Setia (helmed by a very innovative management team), which carved out an estate area called “Pusat Bandar Puchong”. Now, some 20 years later, Puchong has emerged as one of the brightest spots in the Klang Valley as far as real estate development is concerned.


Recently, Setiawalk has been launched, and this integrated development is expected to hike up the property prices in Puchong. On the other hand, MSN reports the possibility of house prices falling, so who knows. Also slated for launch is the IOI Vivocity which is just opposite The Cube. All in all, some very interesting development is in store for Puchong. I remain bullish about this area, and if you have got money to spend, then it’s probably a good idea to invest here.

Disclaimer: do not take my advice too literally – and if you lose money don’t come after me. There, my lawyers asked me to say that.

Homes in Puchong for sale or rent can be easily be found nowadays – just look at the newspaper classifieds. Now as the Malaysian population is getting more Internet literate there’s a migration from offline to online. I expect the same to happen for properties as well. It happened to jobs (JobStreet is the grand daddy of all job sites in Malaysia, and benefited largely from the online migration). Right now there is no one dominant property portal in Malaysia yet, and this is a good opportunity for the enterprising entrepreneur to capitalize on this trend and start a property portal :)

Now, Real Estate Reviews are reporting that Puchong properties have always been priced fairly. There is a relatively new area next to Pusat Bandar Puchong called “Bandar Puteri”, and it is now a booming area with some really reasonable asking prices. There are a couple of condominium blocks in the area (notably Sri Alpina and Aseana Puteri) which are really popular especially for young families.

The problem with Puchong is that the traffic jams tend to get really bad, and this is a factor for many homebuyers in the Klang Valley. The roads also have the tendency of getting flooded, and it is getting worse with the LRT development near IOI Mall. Needless to say, this might be one of the negative factors impacting the Puchong property market. I have heard that there are many real estate investors who moved instead to invest in condominiums such as the Troika and St Mary Residences in KLCC instead of buying a unit in Aseana Puteri Condominium in Puchong. A shame, really.

Now if you are interested in getting your very own place in Puchong, I recommend Puteri 6 (ZARA). It’s a nice place with some really modern looking designs. The last time I was there, I saw some banners advertising some of the units for sale. Prices have gone through the roof though… with asking price around RM1.1 million. The launch price is way less than that, obviously.

This post is written by Josephine Chan. If you need help marketing your real estate services, contact me at josephine@erealtyassistance.com