3 Regrets In Property Investing

11:38 PM

I don't really have regrets in life.What I do have are mistakes I made in the past that can be used to improve on my future undertakings. In investment, tipu lah if you don't make any mistakes. Sure got one. Here are my top three 'regrets' in my short investment history in properties.

1. Sell off a cash flow positive property.

I bought this property with my wife for roughly RM 170 K. It was in a rather hulu place. Nothing much there. It was miles away from the nearest restaurant and the developer wasn't that well known except for some political connections. It was in Shah Alam, but not in the Shah Alam people usually know. Back then, whenever I tell people which section it was in, people didn't even know the place. Malays will call it tempat jin bertendang. 

However, I did manage to rent it out to some students after close to a year without tenant. I got a cash flow of RM 80. Not bad really. It was unfurnished except for a kitchen cabinet and a stove. Based on my immature and inexperienced projections, I thought I would be better off selling off the property for a profit of around RM 50 K and using the proceeds to buy other properties with better prospects.

Fast forward two years, and people are lining up to rent the place. An acquaintance rented out his unit for a monthly cash flow of RM 500 (after deducting mortgage). And his unit is sparsely furnished with a kitchen, a fridge and washing machine! If I had waited a little longer, I could have sold at a RM 100 K profit too.

What can we all learn from this?
1. If it ain't losing any money, don't sell it. As the saying goes; orang tamak selalu rugi. Gatal sangat ingat nak untung lebih!

2. Despite its ridiculous location, it had one of the best joint management body I have ever dealt with. They were very professional and ensured the apartment is well taken care off. I joined their Facebook page and I was truly impressed by the community programs that they organize. It's a place where you will fall in love with the whole community.They frequently conduct gotong royong with good turnout.

2. Focus on Klang Valley properties.

All the big names in properties started off in the Klang Valley. Azizi Ali had his properties in Subang Jaya and Kelana Jaya. Faizul Ridzuan had his properties in KL as well. In my head, I was primed to focus on KLANG VALLEY. I always thought KL was THE one and ONLY place to invest in properties and make money. At one point, I was seriously considering to move to KL just because so semangat want to invest in properties.

Then, I read a book by Azizul Azli Ahmad entitled Mudahnya Beli Rumah. I got to meet the author and he's a really wonderful chap. He managed to open my eyes to look at things in different way. There are plenty of opportunities in each city if you look hard enough.  As for me, I tend to look at properties which are above RM 250 K. Dalam hati:

Takkan la doktor nak beli rumah murah?!!!

Was I wrong...and rather stupid I must say. Nowadays, I look at everything. I recently bought a flat for sub RM 100 K. Inside of the unit was like a mad house. There was feces. A sleeping bag with some used clothes. The wiring was all ripped out. But there was potential. After some calculations, it still makes economic sense as it was way below the market price. Give it some touch up to get some good rental gains. (Watch this space for a 'before and after' project in the near future!)

What can we learn here?

1. Don't be too preoccupied with other people's progress. Yes, the properties in KL get very decent capital appreciation. But at RM 300 K above, it's hard to afford it. Move at your own pace. Ukur baju di badan sendiri. If you can't afford a property with a gym and a swimming pool, get a property that fits your budget. But DON'T EVER, EVER buy an expensive Volkswagen Golf GTi instead.

3. I should have started sooner.

Ever heard of the property bubble? I have...since my 4th year in medical school! Are we any closer to the bubble bursting? I'm not really sure myself. But what would have happened if I listened to advises like;

Don't buy now, the property market will collapse!

Jangan bro, kita tunggu harga rumah jatuh baru kita beli. 

If I had waited, prices of properties would be way over my affordability. In the meantime, I would be happy with my multi channels ASTRO, expensive shoes and bags, Sony PS4 and expensive cars. And all the while not having a single asset class to pass on to my children.

I'm not some big shot sifu in the world of property investing. But I'm learning at my own pace. Alhamdulillah, I've been able to pull some friends over to the BRIGHT side.

Not-So-Small-Chubby-Lamb in the investment world

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