Contributed by Chris Tan
Remember how we used to select a mobile phone before the emergence of the smartphone?
We looked at the different features, specifications and whether it comes in various colours, shapes and sizes. It was distinctive that we can almost name the brand and model just from the physical appearances from afar.
Then, we entered into the era of smartphones are predominantly driven by touchscreen features. Slowly, the design becomes homogeneous across every brand with similar aspects contained in that long rectangular slim metal box fronted by a reflective screen.
You can no longer tell the difference, and you now select the product based on preferences and the brand. Lasting is no longer a requirement as you are expected to change your phone whenever the latest edition hits the market every time.
The similar analogy can be drawn with cars too. The features and specifications are almost identical for various choices within the same segment and which are similarly priced.
Aside from the brand positioning, it’s the service, maintenance and after-sales upkeep that makes the difference. It’s the service and parts warranty, parts availability, after sale service level, maintenance costs that will drive the ultimate decision these days.
The same can be said about property purchase as well. Properties nowadays generally come with similar facilities regardless of the popularity of the developer.
Facilities such as swimming pool, clubhouse with gym and public function hall, among others – is a standard for most developments currently, instead of a unique feature that sets them apart.
As such, branding is only part of the consideration. In selecting a property, one must look at not only the subsequent facilities management after the handover but also the management friendly design, the expected ongoing service quality in addition to just comparing which developer has a better reputation and built a better brand throughout the years.
As already pointed out above, when developers are building their project, infrastructures and specifications are generally the same. Perhaps the differences are the location as well as the design language of the property.
It is advisable to not to emphasis solely on the location of the property as the primary factor to consider when purchasing a property.
Without any doubt, a property which offers walking distance to the nearest MRT or other public transport hotspots can be taken into consideration while choosing a property to purchase.
However, chances are soon the government or developers will build such public transport facilities near each of their respective project to boost their sale.
Furthermore, building a dedicated highway to the property is also one of the trends which developers will generally offer at present day. As such, location is not that much of a problem anymore.
Let’s think of purchasing a car, the vital thing to emphasise on is the service quality a brand can provide. Ask yourselves, will you buy a car brand which the spare parts are pricey and the service quality is subpar?
Worst still, will you purchase a car brand where you can hardly find any spare parts in the country despite it being a good looking and breathtaking machine and with an exclusive brand which makes you feel good when you park your car at the valet?
I guess the answer is NO. YOU WILL NOT.
One point to note is that most buyers when selecting and purchasing their property would be carried away by the unique design language of the property and the ample of facilities presented to them in the brochures.
They then overlook the fact that who is the property management provider and whether they can perform their work diligently. While one may fancy the idea of being able to enjoy ample of facilities in his apartment, however, please also note that the more facilities provided, the more expensive the maintenance cost will be incurred.
To make it simple, a swimming pool or gym equipment require constant maintenance and to do so; it requires costs which come from the owners. If the management has managed the building poorly, the swimming pool will be full of algae, and the gym equipment will be faulty. In other words, it is more costly to restore the swimming pool and replace the defective gym equipment than to maintain it.
Furthermore, with the power of the internet and social media nowadays, one can quickly gain information to the condition of a property and conduct due diligence before purchasing it. It is a general perception that no one will pay a reasonable price to buy an ill-maintained property.
In addition to the above, it is not as easy to buy a property as compared to buying a car. Most cars generally come with a five-year warranty and owners might sell their vehicles before the period ends and purchase a new one to restart the cycle.
However, when buying a property, one has to take into account the abundances of head-aching factors such as location, education facilities nearby the new development and so on.
Settling down into a new property is not easy as well, as you need to move your furniture and appliances, not to mention also the schooling arrangement of the children too.
Therefore, purchasing a property at present day, the management of the property is a crucial factor to take into consideration. The maintenance fees for a property will only increase as time goes by, just like owning a car, the more mileage, the higher the maintenance.
Our current Prime Minister Tun Mahathir once quoted that Malaysia has first-class facilities but the third-world mentality. Thus, it is utterly crucial for home buyers to make sure that their property is well maintained.
As a result, owners ultimately have to bear the higher maintenance costs and the property will eventually depreciate too.
About the Contributors
Chris Tan is the founder and managing partner of Chur Associates
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