Monday, May 26, 2008

First property

When I just started working, my parents told me not to commit to anything yet. They provided me with a car and a roof over my head so that I can concentrate on my job. They allowed me the freedom to switch jobs if I needed to without worrying about any financial burden.

Now, as I start my 3rd year of working and looking at the property market around, I am tempted to jump into the crazy world of owning a property. I have stumbled upon several interesting forums which extensively discuss properties even before they are official launch. I was so surprised as how young some of the “expert speculators” there got their first property (24 years and below) and at how some of them can buy a few of a same property at the same time.

With the horrendous traffic clog going into my hometown, I am sorely tempted to move out and away from home. It’ll take another 1 and a half years at best before all the road construction of the main road be completed. Sigh.

Anyway, during the past few years, I have been window-shopping and browsing the show houses and showroom in the market. There were 2 properties which caught my attention but not enough to push me out of my comfort zone to purchase one.

Saffron Condominium by YTL Development.
I first saw Sentul Park about 5-6 years ago when the firm I was working in, did the show unit for Maple Condominium… or was it Tamarind? I forgot. As a trainee, I was surprised and amazed to find such a nice place. (In fact, that was the ONLY time my boss allowed me out of the office!! Meaning, my then-colleagues jokingly said that was our office trip.)

3 years ago, I dropped by again to visit Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac), the Koi Pond and restaurant. It’s amazing how the place has changed and grew. There were many activities and performances.

One day, I went to the launch for Saffron Condo. I merely browsed to see the architecture in the market and asked for brochures. Tempted I was then, alas my companion was in the opinion it was a bad location with the squatters behind. *shrug*

My friend bought one unit then and he is laughing now. If he sells it now, he loudly tells me it is enough for the down payment for 2 units of Capers Condominium!

Changkat View by Plenitude Development.
2 years ago, I received a small leaflet with their advertisement for Block B at the toll. For something around 200k in Kuala Lumpur, near Duta area, I thought it sounded promising. Again, after few weeks of badgering my bf, we drove there and found the place. He liked the location but I didn’t like the unit. It felt small and the kitchen was tiny. Again, I wasn’t really looking but window-shopping only, so I passed it.
Now, they launched last one, Block D early this year. It was sold quickly at 260k above. I am very tempted because this condominium is near the premises of my future office. And, the potential of growth in that area is tremendous. Plus their attractive package and arrangement only requires you to pay RM1k for booking and no 10% deposit as they arranged it as a rebate. So that’s all you have to pay plus the interest based on the construction. However, as reality sinks in, I know that I have not enough money to pay the monthly installment!! Arghhh

Others
I have also visited Putra Heights (loved the finishes… practically can just move in without much major renovation), Kemuning Utama (finishes also equally competitive but access was questionable), USJ homes (old.. old… old…), Bukit Rimau (tempted by the environment of the gated community and another house outside the community which was beyond my budget.. around 300-400k!) and a so-called semi-d in Bandar Botanic (more like a corner-lot terrace house) just across Jusco Bukit Tinggi plus free club membership! Sigh.. all a little out of my budget or not approved by the other chief-in-command of my future household.. haah.

Another YTL project
Then, I diligently read the developers’ website and property forum. YTL is about to launch a condominium around 200-300k in Sungai Besi. My bf agrees the location is ideal. I agree YTL is reputable. We in agreement, decided to book it immediately when it launch.
I said, “Whenever you drive around the area, please drop by and take a look if it's launch. If needed, pay the 1k booking fees.”

How na├»ve I was…

One Friday, he called me and told me the condominium is launched. He was at the sales office and 50% was booked.
“Ah?? So fast?? I thought you told me the soft-launch was on Saturday”, I told him.
“Want or not?? Want or not? But need to pay 10k for booking”
Wahhhh… how to decide?? Do you even have 10k on hand to pay the booking? Is it legal to collect booking fees when you don’t have a advertising license and building submission approval yet?? All those thoughts ran through my mind. To think I thought I only need 1k to book like the other condominiums I saw earlier.

On the soft launch day, I'm told the sales gallery was like a market place. Everyone was busy booking as if it was on sales! By then he told me more than 75% were sold. Looking at the forum now, I realized the units finished fast because investors bought not 1, but a few units!! Meaning, if they bought 3 units, they needed a booking fee of 30k to sign the earnest deposit agreement.
How?? How can people just buy so many for investments? If everyone does so, the average income people like me have to settle for the cheaper designs or less popular developers. The investors will just buy and sell to earn a quick buck. In the end, it’s the real home-occupiers who have to fork out more to get a place they truly want to call home. The risk of unimaginable tenants staying there is high.

Honestly speaking, I truly believe it is a good investment. But to fork RM330 as maintenance fees, on top of the monthly loan installment, it is high to stay there. Not forgetting, your Astro bill, TM streamxy bill, phone bill, electricity bill, water bill….. I will need to pay at least 2k just to stay in that condominium. But if I do so… I have no money to feed my car, feed my stomach… or even feed the toll plazas… let alone to feed my shopping desires. Sighhhhh…..

I wonder if I should continue looking for another place I can call home… Somewhere landed, freehold, minimal traffic congestion and within my budget… preferably in pj.. (I continue to dream…)

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