The Jason Morris Way (8 Steps Method)

Hello, Jason Morris here – your friendly neighborhood realtor. :)

Do you plan to sell your house? If so, then why not go about it yourself? If you sell your house on your own, you can actually save a ton of money since you won’t have to pay for commissions. I know… you might feel weird hearing this from a realtor. But the truth is that this will leave you with more money to spend on other important things.

I've never had problems selling a house facing the beach in my 14 years as a property agent! :)

I’ve never had problems selling a house facing the beach in my 14 years as a property agent! :)

The following is my advice that I give to my clients after all these years as a real estate agent. If you need help at reaching this goal of yours on your own, then here are several steps for you to follow:

  • Step 1: Clean up your house.

If you have already decided that selling your house is the move for you, then the first thing that you have to do is clean your house very thoroughly and ensure that it looks spic and span. If your house is clean when the inspectors come, you can be sure that you will get a better price for it during the assessment. If you are too busy to clean it, then just hire some professional cleaners to do the job for you – easy peasy! There are many cleaners in downtown Kuala Lumpur who will do this for you – for pennies on the dollar (or Ringgit!).

  • Step 2: Get your house assessed.

Once your house is ready for an assessment, get an expert to come over and assess it. A lot of homeowners don’t seem to understand that they won’t be setting their own home’s value; the value will be up to the experts who assess it. Malaysian property has gone up in value for the past two years (since 2011), and your terrace home in Petaling Jaya might well have appreciated to over a million Ringgit – no joke. I have successfully transacted a couple of million Ringgit properties in 2012 in these areas: Mont Kiara, Bangsar, Taman SEA and Seputeh. Get in touch with me if you need help in this area!

  • Step 3: Follow the expert’s recommendations.

If the expert recommends you to do something after the assessment, make sure you do what they say, so that buyers will be convinced to buy your house for the price that you want for it in the end. Again, if you need a property valuation expert in Malaysia then let me know. On the Internet, the government portal is always useful (click here), or read this article (it’s quite dated – written back in 2011 – but still useful).

  • Step 4: Find out your home’s strengths.

It would be vital to find out the strengths of your home and of the entire location of your home, in general. Ideally, you should take note of your home’s strengths, so that you can eventually tell your potential buyers about them while pitching your house to them in the future. For example, condominiums in the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) are known to be inhabited by Kuala Lumpur’s elite. Also, Mont Kiara has got a sizable expatriate community. Puchong is famous for its hunky Bangladeshis parading after work. What’s your locale’s differentiating factor? If you need some more information or data about the property that you want to sell, check out PropertyReviews.my – it has got a database of Malaysia properties and a brief “dossier” of pros and cons of each property which is pretty handy. It is the real estate broker’s best friend!

  • Step 5: Market your home.

There are a lot of ways in which you can market your home. A lot of people just opt to place a “For Sale” sign in front of their houses, but you can also look into online advertising if you want to. There are lots of online advertising venues which you can look at. In the US, I usually advertise on Zillow and Trulia. When I was seconded to Milton Keynes, UK back in 2009, I advertised heavily in RightMove. Malaysia online portals are kinda sucky, unfortunately. They are ugly to look at and are filled with advertisements.

  • Step 6: Look for potential buyers.

Aside from marketing your house online and offline, you might want to ask your friends, family and colleagues if they know anybody who might be interested in the house. This might just speed up the process a little bit. Also, use Facebook, and if you are Malaysian or a Filipino, then use Friendster.

  • Step 7: Be there.

When somebody shows an interest in your house, it would be vital for you to actually be there when they want to see it or at least have somebody else be there in your stead. Again, a good real estate agent (like yours truly, hint hint) would be helpful.

  • Step 8: Prepare for negotiations.

Before you try to sell your house, you will also have to have a price range ready and be willing to bend it a little bit if you want to sell your house as quickly as possible. On that note, you should also try to get a buyer to grab your house right away once you find one who is genuinely interested in it.

Hope that helps! If you need assistance, remember that I am only a phone call away!

-Jason Morris, ReMAX Agent

REITs

I have started to invest in REITs. If you’re new to the game, read these guides: here (data sources), here and here. I have also previously written about REITs here.

Some choices for local (Malaysian) REITs:-

Email me for advisory on REITs or anything related to Malaysia real estate: jasonmorris@jasonmorrisrealestate.com. Talk soon buddy!

New Listings

New for 2014: we currently have these properties available in the sub sale market:-

  • The Binjai On The Park
  • Avare KLCC
  • 11 Mont Kiara
  • Mei On The Madge
  • Ken Rimba
  • Country Gardens Danga Bay

If you are interested, give me a call or email me!

Your trusted real estate negotiator,

Jason Morris

Location Is Everything? What A Cliche (That Holds True Still)

People don’t just wake up one day deciding to buy a home in a random location in the country. Doing so will only lead to regret after several months, especially because location is everything when it comes to choosing a property. After all, the a property’s location will determine how successful it will actually be in the near or distant future. As such, here are Jason’s six important factors that you will need to take into consideration before choosing the location of your property to begin with.

 1. Your Budget

It would be vital to check and set your budget when looking at potential locations for real estate. This is because some locations tend to be more expensive than others. As such, the best thing to do would be to get a pre-approval form from the mortgage broker or lender in question, so that you can come up with the perfect budget for the different locations that you are currently considering.

2. The Neighborhood

Another important factor to consider would be the neighborhood that the house will be located in. Because of this, you need to take time out to check out each neighborhood or at least do your research on them first. Ideally, you should choose a neighborhood that is going to suit your overall lifestyle and personality, so make sure you check out how comfortable it would be for you to live in a certain area before making your final decision.

3. Your Family

You will also need to consider your family when choosing a location for real estate. If your kids are currently going to school, then you will need to pick a location near their school’s area. You should also pick a location that will suit all of the other family members, as well.

4. Your Workplace

When choosing a location, you will need to take your workplace into consideration, too. Credible and professional real estate agents should know which properties are near to your city’s business districts, so don’t be shy and ask them how they could help you. It would always be better to live somewhere near your workplace because it might be too risky otherwise, especially if you have to spend a lot of money commuting to work everyday.

5. The Financial Stability

You have to choose a property location that has reliable financial stability, as well, so check this out before getting into any property deal. Remember: you will end up benefitting more in the long run if you choose a location with a steady economy to live in. In fact, you might not even have to worry about any other expenses when it comes to running and maintaining a home if you choose your location wisely.

6. The Security

Lastly, it would be vital to take the security of the property and your life into consideration when it comes to choosing a property. You will need to check the area’s crime rate when it comes to this(though KLCC properties in Malaysia are generally secure, it’s always good to be safe than sorry), as well as the entire security of the area. Aside from that, you might want to check out the power lines nearby and see if there are any high voltage ones that you should avoid, as well. Stay safe!

Home Renovations For The Cheapskates…. HA HA

Hello there, dear readers. Last night I chanced upon a friend who was spearheading a company that involves renovating and flipping houses. Now, homes are generally very big investments. As with any other investment out there, it would therefore be vital to take good care of your home by doing the repairs and maintenance needed on it on a regular basis. On that note, you will also have to ensure that you keep the design of your house as up-to-date as possible, so that your home’s value will increase as times goes by. However, because of the problems in today’s economy, you might be resistant when it comes to renovating your house anytime soon.

Condominium unit owners–my friend has one in Cascadium(Bangsar) by the way– may have a little problem if they want to renovate their units, because they need to seek permission first from a lot of people. Also, a lot of paperwork. This is one advantage for homeowners– remodeling is relatively easier.

If this is the case, then you should know that there are actually a lot of different ways, in which you can save money while remodeling your home. All you have to do is make sure that you strategically plan out your design, timing and materials beforehand. Here are several tips to help you out:

 1. Focus on efficiency.

If you want to reorganize the rooms in your house for maximum utility, or maximize spaces so it could fit your growing family– that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to create or build more space for them. Instead, you can look at other means to get more space. Try making shelves with hidden pullout drawers or cabinets, for example. These things can prove to be very helpful, most of all in the kitchen.

 2. Make use of natural light.

Believe it or not, you can get more natural light in your home without building any extra doors or windows. If your hallway doesn’t have any windows, for instance, you can try installing a skylight instead – something that would cost much less than getting windows put in.

 3. Think about all of the expenses.

Buying pre-finished materials might seem expensive in the beginning, but it can actually save you a lot of money in the long run because you won’t have to worry about paying for expensive finishing jobs or paint jobs anymore. If you want to prevent paying for expensive paint jobs, then you can look into buying painted and primed weatherboard, decking boards, skirting and prefabricated wall finishes, amongst other things.

4. Time things out properly.

Renovation jobs can be quite expensive, too, most of all if you hire contractors to help you out during the peak seasons when they double their charges. Because of this, you should come up with a timetable, wherein you state when it would be best to begin your renovation project. During the off peak season, for example, you will be able to bargain with contractors more easily. Plus, the chances of you getting a fair deal out of the project will be much higher, as well. Don’t forget to get various price quotes from different contractors, either!

5. Buy materials on your own.

Remodeling materials can be expensive, as well, especially because contractors tend to add a commission to the materials that they buy for you. As such, it would be best for you to buy the materials yourself. This way, you will get exactly what you pay for and you will get to monitor all of the money spent on your home renovation project at the same time.

I hope you learned a thing or two from my post today. Next time!

-Jason :)

Small Home? Here’s A Solution :)

I am overwhelmed with the number of emails I get on a daily basis. It seems like this blog is getting a lot of attention from would-be real estate agents, property investors, and real estate afficionados. Every once in a while I get well-written articles that cover pretty much anything about real estate– like this one I received from Bettina Williams from Malaysia. She particularly loved our tips for real estate agents article. Read more to learn more!

Sometimes, our budget for homes limits us to getting the mansion that our families deserve. Especially for growing families, a limited home space can be very challenging, and mishandled – can be very frustrating. After all, your living comforts are what is at stake in these situations – and when it comes to kids, it’s just really difficult to settle.

But it’s not impossible to solve. With a lot of creativity, you can manage your teeny little house for your growing family and still live comfortably. The secret is to optimize the use of the smallest things and every inch of space to the fullest.

So here are some ways to maximize on your small home space to accommodate your large family:

Famil1

1. Multi-purpose furniture – this is the best advice I’ve been given. Instead of using regular center tables for your living rooms, use an old flat-covered chest and cover with a stylish duvet or just keep as is. This will give your rooms an air of antiquity plus it doubles as a storage space for books, kids’ toys and maybe even your DVD collection. Ottomans with storage are also a huge plus. Instead of regular seats in your homes, these ottomans can be utilized to store some more items in your living room.

2. Bunker Beds – sharing a room is imperative for multiple children. And double decker beds will also be economical on both money and space. To make it more appealing to your children, add some DIY decors and colors to your bunker beds. Boys can have a double decker bus a la London and girls can have a fairy forest inspired double decker beds.

3. Outdoor playroom – Sometimes, you just cannot have rooms for playroom anymore. Utilize your porch/terrace for this. Keep their toys in plastic boxes that they can carry around too easily from their room to their makeshift play area. Or if you have a yard, there’s always room for a tree house or a mini bunker to enjoy the outdoors. For those lucky and rich enough to stay at The Pearl or at The Troika, I guess this wouldn’t be a problem, perhaps? :D

4. Use the staircases wisely – the staircases an under-utilized element in your home interiors. You can add a store room under it like in the Dursley’s house or be a little bit more creative by making drawers underneath each stair step. This will give you enough storage space for everyone’s shoes around the house. Just make sure they are secure enough so kids don’t end up tripping and falling over.

5. Keep your homes clutter free. Invest in additional storage spaces in your homes so there’s a place to keep everything in. Hanging bookshelves as well as foldable study tables will be very helpful in so many ways. Avoid buying too much furniture and useless fixtures in the house that will take up so much space. Coffee tables that are hardly ever used can be placed elsewhere and a breakfast bar could be swapped for bigger, longer dining tables. That would be more practical.

Tighter space can keep your families closer – literally and figuratively. So make the most out of your packed home and make a lot of memories in it together before they grow up too soon.

Keep those emails coming at jason@jasonmorrisrealestate.com!

Help! My House is Not Selling!

I check out listings of houses for sale every now and then and I can’t help but take a second, third look at the ones on the bottom of the list. They are the ones that have been there quite a while. They have been in a listing for so long I could imagine in my mind how their property info looks like. They have been there so long that I’m pretty sure something is wrong about the homes and that’s clearly why they’re not selling.

Or maybe not.

Maybe, what really is wrong is not what they’re selling but how they are selling it. Homeowners commit the most common mistakes that make a house unmarketable. If you are selling your home and you’re having a hard time closing the sale, or you’re looking to sell your house and you do not want to end up with this dilemma, read this previous article I’ve written about this topic here. Then, read on.

Real Estate

Here are some of the reasons why your house is not selling.

 1. Bad location. A recent big flood in the area or a high incidence of crimes is always a turn off for homebuyers. They will hardly take chances in this area. Also, if a lot of residents in the neighborhood are looking to sell their house, this will automatically translate to a red flag in the buyers’ brain. They would ask why everyone is trying to flee and more likely than not, get out of the place before they would have to flee sooner or later like everyone else.

2. Bad price. This is when we need a professional appraiser to look at the house and come up with a most accurate current market value of your house. Our own biases towards the house, and sometimes our own greed, are what push us to put a price that’s too much for the look and condition of the house. This wasn’t the case for Marc Residences in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’ve seen its units sell hot like pancakes because its reasonably-priced and extremely posh. Bottomline– be fair.

3. Bad agent. Our real estate agents are our first line of offense. If they’re not doing their jobs right, no one will see our homes on sale. Make sure you find a successful real estate agent that will HELP YOU FOR REAL. Help out spread the word on your sale by telling your friends about it, posting on Facebook, and doing pretty much everything you can do to help market your home.

House

4. Bad condition of the house. Is your house ready for occupancy? Does it look like it could last a decade more before it needs major repairs or does it look like the ceiling might fall off tomorrow? Have you been cleaning your house? Any indication of damage on the house is a turn off.

5. Bad hosts. Sure the real estate agent does most of the talking but that never meant you are not part of it. When potential homebuyers come by and visit, are you friendly? Do you treat them nicely? A grumpy and/or unfriendly homeowner is a red flag to homebuyers. This gives them the feeling that dealing business with you would be unpleasant.

Check yourself. Are any of these true to you and your home? What adjustments can you make?

I Want To Teach You Everything I Know

So you think you want to become a real estate agent? Good for you, then. I’ve been a property agent for almost a decade, both here in abroad, but I specialise in properties in the UK, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia. Being a real estate agent is a game of sell-more-earn-more. Much to the disappointment of a lot of people who thought this was easy money, this career requires tons of work– believe me, it is. You won’t earn your first million after selling your first house. If you’re really good, you’ll get it a few years.

Alpha

There’s no quick and easy way to succeed in this industry – you’ll have to work hard to earn more– this I learned after being in the game for a long time now. Some real estate agents will help sell homes, or find houses for others to purchase as investment. No matter what you’re good at, it’s important that you keep these tips in mind:

Learn from experts.

The agent license is just one part of it. There are more things you would need to learn outside of the real estate agent school. You can only learn that if you are part of an established organization. Take time to do internship duties. Observe and learn how the experts and the pros do it. Let them show you the ropes, and listen intently.

Network!

Do not entrust your networking needs with your friends and families alone. Go online, meet people, go to seminars and meets of fellow agents, join real estate agent societies and never back down on a prospect. When I was in Kuala Lumpur, I had the opportunity to meet real estate bigtimers, which allowed me to make a bigtime sale for the MK10(Mont Kiara)– read about my achievement at http://propertyreviews.my/mk10. See? No opportunity must be missed.

Never stop learning.

Always update yourself with the marketing trends and the newest of anything about real estate. Read the news, join seminar workshops and basically enrich yourself with better knowledge of understanding the industry. A prospective buyer is always impressed with a knowledgeable agent who can tell a lot about the best ways in the real estate industry. They would love someone who can answer practically every question they have about the industry.

Be professional.

Come on time, speak in a professional manner (leave your bad language and slang at home), and look the part – invest in power suits that can create that pro and respectable impression. And as much as possible, do not cancel any appointment unless in cases of dire emergencies. Oh, and be honest about everything. Honesty always goes a long, long way and will have you earn the trust of the people you are dealing with – buyers, homeowners, and brokers.

Focus.

Set your mind on something and do not be distracted. Whether it’s about getting a buyer, closing a deal, or even setting up your very own office, it is important that you never let yourself be distracted. Don’t lose your confidence over a non-sell or losing a client. Keep going and don’t let disappointments slow you down. Ideally, you should use them to propel you further into achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.

I know I still have a long way to go despite me being in the industry for a decade, but there’s nowhere to go but UP! Keep it here at jasonmorrisrealestate for more real estate advice.

-Jason

Malaysia Mortgage Is Quite Tricky

Hello, Jason, the Mr Malaysian Real Estate here at your service. Well, well, well…looks like you are on your way to getting your very own home. Congratulations on this milestone in your life! One step at a time, little by little and you’re almost having your home sweet home. If you haven’t done so already, read my guide on selling your house for better perspective.

Have you fixed your mortgage plan yet? Have you decided which mortgage lender to go to? There’s just so many banks in Malaysia like Maybank, RHB, CIMB, Affin Bank and such. If mortgage and other related issues are yet a haze to you, maybe this list can help you arrange everything! Here are some of the most important things that you would have to consider and take note of before finalizing your decision and getting your home.

Getting A Mortgage In Malaysia – A Quickie Guide

  1. Price of the House – while the payment is mostly centered on the monthly dues you make to your mortgage lender, the sum price of the house will still matter. After all, it will still be a deciding factor on how much your monthly amortization would be, and basically the length of time you would have to pay for it. Make sure the price and fees – monthly and sum both – are still very much agreeable to your monthly income. Additionally, look for properties with good capital yields! Current I have got a cool Dua Residency (KLCC) apartment for sale by one of our long-time clients – give me a buzz if you want a viewing :)
  2. Credit Score – How much your lender is willing to give you – or whether or not your lender is willing to actually give you anything – depends largely on your credit score or credit rating. Prior to buying a house, as in years ahead, make sure your credit score is good. If you have had a bad credit rating in your history, make sure you fix that and clear your name up. Avail of amnesties on credit ratings, this will really come in helpful in getting your mortgage loan. Here’s a good resource on credit scores on Zillow – click here.
  3. Mortgage Lender – choosing the right money lender will make a whole lot of difference to your entire mortgage loan experience. Do not commit spot on to the first financing company you go to. Take the time to talk with them and clear everything that is hazy – monthly fees, duration of loan, penalties, repossession policies, and even their policies on changing your policies or moving to a place mid-contract. Make sure you understand everything. Compare the rates of interests among other things between lenders – this will help you get a better view of which lender to go to.
  4. Fixed Rate Mortgage vs Adjustable Rate Mortgage – fixed rate mortgages are the type of mortgage loans whose interest rates remain the same until the end of the contract. Adjustable rates, on the other hand, are mortgage loans whose interest rates rise after a period of time. The benefit of fixed rate loans is that the payment will remain the same through and through. The benefit, on the other hand of adjustable rate loans is that it is offered lower than current market rates and remains the same for some time. Both choices will be beneficial given the right circumstances and from the right financial lender.

A mortgage loan is no small thing. There is a lot of technical stuff to take in and one sitting may never be enough to understand it. Take time to talk with your lending consultant and even your real estate agent about it. They are those who can best explain everything to you. Have fun looking for your new home!

-Jason