Friday, 1 May 2015

Ethics and Property Investment

Recently, I got to know that an acquaintance of mine is now a hot shot property investor - well, he has been doing so for the past number of years so I'm not surprised.

And he's still quite young too, in his mid 30's and said to have accumulated more than RM10 million worth of property.

Kudos to him and he's also now giving talks on how to do so...

Now this is where the ethics part comes in - he's still working for a financial institution.

The rules are that you can still have a second job or a direct interest in a business outside of banking provided you declare it and it doesn't affect your work nor should there be a conflict of interest.

E.g. you can be a TV ad model / actor - not an issue

However, seems that he's giving talks on how to get bank loans easily to buy lots of property in a short time. Now, I can guess how it can be done but I can't bring myself to do it - simply because it is not particularly ethical.

So anyway, dear reader, you may well argue that it is a risk that both the buyer and the financier takes together, and I do agree with that to a certain degree.... ah.. but somehow, something gives me the impression that this is not right.

Buyer beware if you are going to attend such talks and participate in what they ask you to do. Please go in with both eyes open and without negative emotion such as "since banks always cheat me then I can cheat them back" - something which is sadly very prevalent and just Not True. Banks won't intentionally cheat you, BNM is very strict on that.

There are certainly cheating cases such as wrong investment sales pushing that causes customers to lose money or embezzlement of funds - these do happen but it is caused by individuals, not the Bank's policy to do so.

Ah well, as I said, something doesn't sit well with me - think I will invest the old fashioned way - slowly but surely...

UPDATE: Heard he's been suspended from work

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Infiniti 3, Wangsa Maju

A commenter asked me about it some time ago and I said I didn't check it out ... and wasn't particularly planning to either because I thought it was already launched and sold out etc.

ANYWAY, coincidentally a relative wanted to go see the showroom so I tagged along - seems to be a theme going on of me tagging along! and so I DID actually check out it.

So here's the deal:

  • This is the last parcel of land by the same developer of Villa Wangsamas and it is the plot closest to the Sri Rampai LRT station (surprised? Of course not, save the best of last, isn't it?).
  • 3 towers of about 30+ floors if memory serves me correctly
  • Leasehold
  • Big-ish layouts, starts from 1.1k sf, 1.3k and I think the biggest is close to 2k sf thereabouts
  • Price is about RM800 per square foot
  • About 8 units per floor, each unit is like a "corner" because they are arranged in a circle around the lift column - so 4 pairs each, then each unit can have corner windows.
What do I think?
Location-wise is quite good - next to the LRT but the good thing is that the train tracks are on the other side of the road away from the building.

What I don't like about it is this - the so-called "7% discount" that the developer is giving buyers so that they can get what is effectively a 100% loan from the bank with a minimal down payment.

Sigh.. of course, to a lot of people, this is a 'good' thing because  they don't have to pay RM100K for a RM1.0 million condo and still get a loan of RM900k by just paying a minimal RM30,000. So the developer is being "kind" to you by making it easier to buy their unit... really? if you really believe that, then I have nothing to say already...

But the question is - are you then buying a 1 million condo or a 900k condo? Are you deluding yourself that you have a "valuable" property or one that you got through colluding with the developer to cheat the bank?

I can tell you, some banks know about this practice and will reduce the loan amount down to RM810k because your condo is effectively valued at 900k, not 1 million. Hence, your loan can only be 90% of that.

So is it a good buy? 

Well, for the location and amenities around it - I would say, Yes, it is a good buy.

But if you are looking to make a big profit on it based on the discount you got and stuff - which you will, no doubt - then you only have your conscience to deal with. Personally, I would feel bad about it and this kind of money, you don't want to make la... who don't want to be rich? But there are ways and means of doing so without bending the law (actually you are breaking the law by colluding with the seller to misrepresent the true price of the property - basic misrepresentation and cheating, my loves. Don't do it)

So would I personally buy a unit here? 
No, I wouldn't due to the discount.

Buy if you want (it's a good deal overall), and I wish you the best for it; but I think there are better and more honest options out there.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Astoria Ampang

Let's be a little snarky for once - really, "Astoria" .. is the developer trying to 'tumpang glamour' from the Waldorf-Astoria of New York?

Did you know where the name Astoria comes from? It is from the old-money New York family, the Asters. Specifically, the erstwhile matriarch Mrs Aster was so incensed that the Waldorf hotel was built next to her mansion that she decided to move out and build her own hotel on the site called the Astoria.

The two hotels later joined up and became the now famous Waldorf-Astoria.

So what does this story have to do with Astoria Ampang?

Nothing really, except for the penchant of Malaysian developers to choose fancy names for their condos that have NO RELEVANCE whatsoever. :)

Anyway, I saw the ads and came across their show booth during the Renovation Expo at the KL Convention Centre that was held during the 3rd week of January.

Only had a cursory glance and a brief conversation with their sales people - the lady was nice but I felt that the older guy was a bit of an asshole, so I also no power to layan him.

He probably thought I was an asshole too! LOL

Anyway, it is the same developer group that is building Arte+ in the same area.

Basically, this little area of Ampang is getting super congested with fairly expensive condo units - at latest count, it is coming up to 5,000 units in all. I can't imagine how it is going to be like - they have to be very strict about not letting people park on the side of the road otherwise, it will be a nightmare.

Another thing I dislike it that the sales people are all touting that there is a "planned MRT station" in Ampang Point. Like, where got?? Don't bluff la wei...

I checked with my friend who is someone high up in the Rapid / Prasarana echelons. He told me so far no plans to have an MRT station there, considering that the Ampang LRT is not that far away.

So should you buy into Astoria? Well, if you want to take a gamble that this is the new Mont'Kiara of Ampang - then go ahead. Frankly the location is pretty good, albeit congested and will get worse with up to 10,000 new cars in the area.

Ampang Point and the Mamanda shops will certainly benefit as it is within walking distance - as will the Korean village of Ampang Utama.

Buy? Hmm... at 800 psf for a leasehold .. I would be hesitant.

But if you are working in town, would like to stay relatively close to work (via the AKLEH) and are used to the traffic conditions (a.k.a. the hell that is known as Jln Ampang - which in all fairness is getting some work done on it at the Jelatek cross-road), then it seems a good buy.

See, I'm not that mean....