Thursday, January 30, 2014

Personal Data Protection Act 2010

The Personal Data Protection Act 2010 has come into force on 15th November 2013. So, by now many of us have been receiving notices from developers that they need our consent to continue using our personal details for various reasons such as to apply for electricity supply etc. They have also been using our details to send us marketing materials as well as to do sales profiling, not to mention that name lists of purchasers have been openly or discreetly sold to real estate agencies, bank loan salesmen and even to car salesmen. 

In the letters I have so far received from some developers, they expressed their commitment to safeguard my personal data against their own abuse but I don't see any commitment that they will take responsibility if my personal data end up with other parties. Meaning, they won't be sending me promotional materials if I convey to them that I prefer not to receive any such materials from them. However, if other companies send me, then it's not their problem even if my contact details reach these 3rd parties through the developer. 

I am saying this because every day I receive at least 2 or 3 sms or call and sometimes up to 20 calls a day from real estate agents asking me if I wanted to rent or sell my properties through them. How do I know they got my contacts through the developer? There was one day I went up to the developer office to fill up a form for my parking access. The developer asked me for another contact number and I gave them my mum's. That was the 1st and only ever time my mum's number has been given for any of my property transaction. That evening itself, and since then, my mum has been receiving calls and sms-es from estate agents. 

I also found out from a friend who works for a developer that owners' list are commonly sold to marketing companies and estate agencies from RM500 and up to RM5,000. Some property owners I asked welcome calls from estate agencies especially because they can help them rent or sell their apartments. But that's their personal preference and they do not understand my pain since I have a few properties and sometimes getting hundreds of calls a week is not funny at all. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Investor Clubs

I've heard about these investor clubs but this is the 1st time I've learnt about how they actually work. I mean, I know they are a group of people going in to negotiate block purchases and all that but I must be naive to think that the club owners don't pocket a profit from the deal. It is an acceptable norm when you introduce buyers, the developer pays you a finders fee. However this is a small amount, like 0.5% or up to 2%. But this report today 22nd January 2014 in the Sun's front page suggests that investor clubs negotiate up to 25% discounts, with the club owners pocketing 10% of it.  

The report suggests that buyers are typically unaware that only 15% of the 25% discount is passed on to them. I don't understand how this can be done unless the purchase is done en bloc under the investor club's name. Or, the developer pays the club the 10% as a finders fee. I think I really should attend their talk one day and find out. 

To get a 15% or 25% discount is really a very big deal. For a RM600k condo, that's a whopping RM150,000!! This sounds hugely unreasonable and I wonder why developers will be able to offer that type of amount in the 1st place. Why give such huge discounts when they can sell to individual buyers off the plan with lower discount? Unless the property is struggling to sell? But why would investor clubs lead their purchasers to buy these type of properties in the 1st place? 

Anyway, it is an acceptable norm in business transactions for buyers to gang up to improve their negotiation power. This has happened in centuries. However, in this case, most of the buyers indulge in speculations and end up flipping their purchases with a quick profit. 

There are really, in my opinion, 2 kinds of properties...

1. For investments - these are usually high end properties, in CBD areas offered to expats or can also be  student dormitories. In my opinion, investing in these type of properties is akin to providing a service because typically expats and students stay in the area or city for just a short 2-3 year period. Therefore, they need to rent instead of buying. I think it is healthy to have a steady increase in prices of such properties in line with demand. This signifies a good investment...

2. For own stay - people who know me knows that I am very against speculating in properties meant for people to live in to raise their families. I have highlighted one such case before where investors or speculators move in to grab as many units of an apartment in PJ only to rent it at high prices or flip it to genuine people who want to make it their home. This is highly unethical. It does not matter whether they are low cost homes in Seri Setia or high end houses at Desa Park City. These are homes, they are not meant to be investment items. Don't play with people's life essentials!

So, in short, it's OK if investor clubs wanna go in and drive up prices of "Investment Properties". It's perfectly good and fine. But to speculate and cause prices of "Family Homes" to escalate... this is not acceptable.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Wet Wet Vipod

Just a few months into vacant possession, a burst pipe at the Vipod has caused all floors from 12 below at Block A to be flooded! This has also killed the lifts forcing occupants to use the stairs.

Developer Monoland still cannot get their quality issue right despite forays into the luxury market. Now joins Mayland who is also famous for plumbing problems... Picture below is Mayland's Regalia...