As humans and technology evolve, so has the workplace. Expect more intuitive technology being employed in the near future.
By Khalil Adis
Mention GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the first thing that comes to mind is innovation. In fact, the word innovation is synonymous with this pharmaceutical giant which is renowned for consumer products such as Sensodyne and Aquafresh toothpaste.
“At GSK, we often ask ourselves, “do we have the right properties?” In Asia, it is all about growth. Asia is a huge piece of our future,” said Simon French, GSK’s Workplace and Design Director, Worldwide Real Estate and Facilities, United Kingdom.
French was speaking at the CoreNet Global Summit 2018 held in Singapore in March.
Titled Beyond the Horizon – The 2030 Workplace, GSK’s Asia headquarter office at Singapore’s research & development hub at one-north features intuitive workspaces that promote human interaction and collaboration while being culturally sensitive.
For example, its food offerrings at the premises are halal, keeping in mind the city-state’s multi-racial and multi-religious society. “Bacon & eggs won’t work in Singapore,” quips French.
The design process behind its GSK Asia House at Rochester Park in one-north involves looking at commercial drivers, behaviours & culture and design thinking
What results is an open office space spanning four floors of 14,330 sq m with plenty of natural light and ventilation.
In addition, it also has four layers of invisible security barriers before you get to see the actual work space.
Indeed, the ground floor is open to the public while the entire building is designed to bring in natural light.
“In Singapore, outdoor areas are under- utilised. We, therefore, have used the outdoor space in the western part of the building as
it affects employees’ behaviour - happy staff equals a more engaged people,” says French.
Commerce and value creators
While open design appears to be the order of the day, the design process is very much rooted in commerce.
GSK estimates that the Asia Pacific region will become its largest regional market by 2020. As such, greater emphasis has been placed on those who bring value or are generating revenue.
“We call this smart working where no leaders and directors have an office. It is about transparency, being able to see leaders and seeing them working. Constant sharing of ideas is relevant to the scientific industry,” explains French.
To make the workspace conducive to allowing open communication, seeing different perspectives and the exchanging of ideas, GSK Asia has created ‘neighbourhoods’ where there are no specific desks for anyone.
“There are no specific desks for anyone with fluid sitting areas and workspaces. This means you can work anywhere while promoting the exchange of ideas,” notes French.
Even the ground floor, which is not considered GSK’s working space, has created revenue.
“By having a concierge, we realised ownership of open space increases quickly. As such, Google is using the space and leasing from us,” reveals French.
Moving forward, French expects the future workplace to look at intuitive technology.
“We are in the process of developing this whereby your laptop is recognised, and your presentation will automatically come out. In short, the building knows who you are,” he declares.
A record 740 corporate real estate professionals attended the CoreNet Global Summit 2018 which features more than 40 thought leaders shedding light on the critical relationship between an organisation’s productivity, bottom line, and effective CRE management.
The two-day summit revolved around nascent and current developments such as geopolitical shifts and technological disruption, which have complicated decision-making in many organisations across the Asia Pacific.
This story was first published by Asian Property Review in its July-August 2018 issue
If you are thinking of upgrading while still keeping your first property to earn some rental income, this article is for you. Property author, Khalil Adis, shares how he prepped his old Singaporean home to be tenant-worthy.
First time landlords are sure to have this mantra on repeat – I have to secure a tenant ASAP as each untenanted month is a loss of income, which leads to the three most dreaded words: Negative Cash Flow. Imagine not receiving any rental income to mitigate the cash payments towards servicing your new unit’s mortgage, monthly maintenance fees and renovations costs – oh, the horror!
Our first apartment unit was nearing the two-decade mark (it was purchased in 2000), so when my mom and I decided to put our former home up for rent, a lot of hard work, sweat and tears were involved in getting it ‘red-carpet’ ready.
"My 18-year old, 1,033 sq ft apartment unit with 3 bedrooms was listed on 22 May. We received an offer on 10 June, and exactly 2 weeks later on 24 June we handed the keys over to the new tenant!"
Let’s be real here, most upgraders and first-time landlords have little choice but to do D.I.Y renovations on their rental units due to financial constraint. I especially understand how tight one’s budget can be with a recently-purchased second property. Hence, that’s how I ended up as my own contractor-cum-handyman-cum-painter.
While I had applied the strategies found in my book, Property Buying for Gen Y, there were some new learnings which I gleaned along the way; after all, the learning is in the doing, eh? Here are the eight pointers which resulted in my unit’s successful and speedy closing:
#1 Set a goal and a budget
Before anything else, my mom and I sat down to discuss and make a decision on whether we should sell off or rent the place out. It might seem redundant but this step is vital as it helps you determine the next course of action.
My mom chose to rent out her property – the reason being that although the apartment is 18 years old, it is located within Jurong Lake District, which is touted to be Singapore’s future second CBD. Hence the capital appreciation potential is pretty robust. Also, since my mum is not working, the rental income will help to cover her mortgage cost and supplement her daily expenses.
With this in mind, we agreed upon a specific date and put forward an action plan to get everything done: to move out by 15 April and get the place ready for tenant viewing by mid-May. Initially, we had set a budget of S$4,000 (roughly Rm12,000), but we soon realised that we were too prudent and forgot to include the costs for professional cleaning, labour and other out-of-pocket expenses such as plumbing and electrical works.
We ended up spending S$7,000 (roughly RM20,880) – the lesson here is to remember to factor in additional repair costs for older homes. You will have to spend a little more than average to spruce up your (ageing) home. The investment will be worth it as nothing assures a tenant more than a homely and well-maintained unit.
#2 Get a good real estate agent
Not everything needs to be handled on your own, secure some help by hiring a reliable agent. Getting a neutral party involved is important as they do not have any emotional connection to your property and hence, can offer unbiased advice.
"Our agent’s tips went a long way in ensuring that our unit got rented out quickly at a fair market price – he was the one who pointed out that we should replace our toilet doors and get new starters for our fluorescent lights."
We were truly blessed, our agent even went above the call of duty by helping us change the faulty master bedroom door and light bulb before the handover. In addition, a quality agent will help you to screen prospective tenants, saving you from dead-end leads.
#3 Do an inventory check & change faulty items
Bolstered by our agent’s sharp eye, my mum and I decided to remove our rose-tinted glasses and view our unit with fresh eyes. Having lived in your first home for many years, you tend to accept your property’s flaws as a normality over time.
For instance, we did not initially notice the dim lighting, the spotty toilet flush in the guest bathroom or the perpetually damp spot near our washing machine which caused an ugly stain over time (pictured below).
Only after doing a thorough inventory check did we realise that there were at least a dozen things which would require replacing. Take note that faulty lighting and sub-par plumbing systems are more often than not the two main culprits in older homes.
As a landlord, the safety of your tenant is of utmost priority as you do not want to be held liable for any injuries they may sustain in your property. One of our window grilles near the kitchen sink was almost coming off the wall so we decided to replace it too.
#4 Refurbish the kitchen cabinets
Protest if you must, but the majority will agree that the kitchen is where the heart of the home is. This is also the first place which most couples (read, the wife) will check out when scouting out a rental home.
A great way to give your tired, old kitchen an upheaval without breaking the bank is by refurbishing the cabinets! We decided to go for a clean, minimalist and modern look with a white colour palette as this design is timeless and easy to clean.
We also got a brand new cooker hob and hood; your new tenants would not want to cook off the back of someone else’s grease.
#5 Consider chemical cleaning
Forget your typical sweep and mop routine, we are talking about the big leagues here, like chemical cleaning. A thorough cleaning is necessary for older apartments to get rid of stubborn stains and dirt which had accumulated over the years. We engaged a cleaning contractor who cleansed the entire apartment for only S$300 (roughly RM900). It was money well spent as gone were the accumulated dust in hard to reach places (top of windows), tough stains in the kitchen and bathrooms as well as watermarks on our walls.
Do not underestimate the power of a gleaming, sparkling clean property to boost the energy of an old apartment. After all, we Asians are all about ‘chi’ or energy, so a property giving off good vibes will help rein in even the pickiest of tenants.
#6 Give the entire house a fresh coat of paint
The key here is to stick with very light colours. This is because it is easier to capture the attention of a prospective tenant with a neutral colour scheme and repainting will not take up too much of your time (hire someone to do it otherwise).
My biggest regret was opting for a dark green colour scheme in the living room previously as it meant we had to apply five coats of white paint to cover it! It was so much work that it took three days to do cover the dark colour and even everything out. Check out the before and after images yourself:
A plus point of repainting is that the smell of fresh paint inspires confidence among the potential tenants; not only it’s a sign that you are a considerate landlord but tenants will appreciate the extra work you had put in to ensure their comfort and well-being.
#7 Service the air-conditioning system
This is a must to ensure that your air-conditioning units will be in tip-top condition. Moreover, servicing does not cost much, at most it is S$40 (roughly RM120) per unit. Be sure to highlight your good deed to prospective tenants and to casually drop the advantages of having clean air-cond filters – replacing dirty and clogged filters can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5%-15%, translating to lower electricity bills.
"Here is an extra tip: Throw in a freebie for your tenant by scheduling annual air-cond maintenance works by a professional. These inexpensive tune-ups will ward off the need for a costly air conditioner replacement and help keep your tenants longer. A happy camper will have no reason to move out."
#8 Study your property type before furnishing it
You will need to consider your property type and tenant demographic when deciding on the extent of furnishing – should you go with a partially or fully-furnished unit? My mom and I went for the latter, given that our apartment build is catered for family living. We felt that most of our potential tenants; couples looking to start a family or a young family who is upgrading, will already have purchased some furniture themselves or are planning to do so.
Therefore we will only provide some of the basics such as the dining table set, kitchen cabinet, side tables, a master bed and mattress while other essentials such as sofa, curtains, TV and clothes storage were not included. This strikes a good balance, I get to cater to a wider market (design preference can vary greatly) and my tenants are still able to have some fun in completing the furnishing and decorating of the place themselves.
My parting words of advice: When it comes to closing a deal, it is always best for landlords to take a back seat and let the agent handle the backend work. Trust your agent and leverage on his/her experience in managing tenants’ expectations; this will save you loads of time and energy in going back and forth with potential renters.
To all the eager landlords out there, may these strategic tips assist you in securing a tenant match, as quickly as it did for me.
This article was first published by iProperty.com..my
With the dust from the 14th Malaysian general election now settled, the newly minted Pakatan Harapan government has renewed investors’ confidence and sparked hope in the otherwise lull property market. We list down six reasons why KLCC is now attractive to foreign investors.
By Khalil Adis
Walk around Kuala Lumpur and you cannot help but feel a renewed sense of hope in the air among Malaysians post the 14th Malaysian general election. In fact, Malaysians appear to be smiling more than usual that even the notorious KL traffic has failed to put a dampener on their faces.
Call it a new Malaysia, if you will. However, this is indeed a watershed moment which saw a newly minted Pakatan Harapan government taking power and effectively putting an end to 61 years of uninterrupted rule under UMNO. With the promise to weed out corruption, the return of the rule of law by the Mahathir administration has ignited business confidence and renewed interest in the property market.
One area which has always been a perennial favourite among foreign investors is KLCC. Home to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, it was Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad who had the foresight to build it that has led to Kuala Lumpur being known all over the world. As if signalling a new dawn for Malaysia, KLCC’s skyline is set to welcome a new iconic landmark come 2023. Here are our findings why properties in KLCC are now ripe for picking.
#1: A new iconic landmark
Oxley Towers Kuala Lumpur City Centre is a freehold mixed-use development that is located within walking distance to the the Petronas Twin Tower and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Comprising an office tower, Jumeirah Kuala Lumpur Hotel with residences, SO/ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Hotel with residences, and a retail podium, Oxley Towers Kuala Lumpur City Centre is set to be the next iconic skyline in KLCC with its sleek, ultra-modern architecture. At our recent site visit, construction work has already started and is making good progress with an expected completion date in 2023.
#2: Reputable Singaporean developer with a strong track record
When buying a property in Malaysia, the track record of a developer is of utmost importance. Oxley Towers Kuala Lumpur City Centre is being built by Oxley Holdings Limited. This home-grown Singaporean property developer has a wide and diverse property portfolio comprising development and investment projects in Singapore, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Myanmar, Australia, Japan and Vietnam. Some of its notable developments in Singapore include Oxley Tower, Oxley Bizhub and Oxley Edge.
The EdgeProp cites Oxley Holdings as having S$2 billion worth of land last year including en bloc site. This makes it one of the biggest landbanks held by a property developer in Singapore. Despite the recent cooling measures, Oxley Holdings is going ahead to launch at breakneck speed this year with a total of 3,000 units already launched during the first six months of the year. And another 900 units underway.
Not only is Oxley Holdings rich in landbanks, it is also financially strong. For 2018, so far, Oxley Holdings has sold a total of 948 units and delivered $1 billion in residential sales in Singapore.
#3: First SO/ Sofitel residence in the world
If you like fashion and enjoy the buzz of city life, then you are in for a real treat. The SO/ Sofitel hotel and brand is a playful mix of sophistication and the dynamic style of each locale. Highly creative and fashion-led, the SO/ Sofitel residences in KL will reflect the rich, multi-cultural tapestry that Kuala Lumpur is known for. The SO/ Sofitel tower is set to offer 210 hotel rooms and 590 residences. Designed for those who break the rules and are ahead of the curve, this is the place to see and be seen. To ensure your ultimate privacy, the hotel and residences lobbies will be separated. Did we also mention that SO/ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Residences will feature the highest residential swimming pool in Malaysia overlooking KLCC?
#4: Get more bang on your bucks in a branded residence
The difference between staying in a branded versus a non-branded residence is as different as day and night. In keeping with its lifestyle luxury and playful theme, investors can expect only the best while living life at the top. Staying at SO/ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Residences will mean access to a plethora of luxury services and some of the most happening parties the city has to offer.
For starters, residents will enjoy 24-hour residence concierge, bell/valet services and the Mixo Resident’s Lounge. This is where you can let your hair down with its resident DJ or take those #OOTD Instagram-worthy shots with complimentary Wifi access overlooking the famed twin towers as you sip a cocktail or two from its Resident Mixologist. It’s not all about partying though. SO/ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Residences will also offer fitness enthusiast access to its SoFIT residence fitness centre, including personal attendant, towel service and water. To ensure you stay ahead of the curve, residents also get a press reader subscription with digital access to 2,000 plus daily newspapers and magazines. AccorHotels offers an Industry Leading Ownership Benefits Program, including top-tier status in Le Club AccorHotels Loyalty program.
#5: Good tenant pool
Buying a unit at SO/ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur is not just about all play. This is the address for those who have arrived that is within walking distance to Pavilion Bukit Bintang, Suria KLCC, KLCC Park and The Petronas Twin Towers, just to name a few. Shopping, entertainment and dining options are also aplenty ranging from the award-winning Nobu’s to your local mamak coffeeshops. For investors, this is where you can have access to some of the most sophisticated tenants at your feet. There are a high number of industries here ranging from government offices and embassies at the nearby Embassy Row to the petrochemical and MICE industries within KLCC. Take your pick.
#6: Enhanced connectivity via KLCC East MRT station
Located approximately just 200 metres away, KLCC East MRT station is part of the RM32.5 billion Sungei Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP Line) MRT project that was announced under Budget 2015. Measuring some 52.2km spanning from Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya MRT station, the SSP Line comprises 24 elevated and 11 underground stations (including KLCC East) When completed in 2022, the SSP Line is expected to generate a daily ridership of 529,000 while enhancing property values within its immediate vicinity.
Investment talk by Khalil Adis
Join Khalil Adis this weekend to find out what is in store in the Malaysian property market post GE-14.
Date: 18 & 19 August 2018
Venue: Oxley Gallery, 30 Stevens Road #02-01
*First 10 to RSVP on each day (10 copies on Saturday, 10 copies on Sunday) will each receive a copy of Khalil Adis's best-selling book 'Property Buying for Gen Y
Is it on of off? We study each station and list down the good and the bad from the possible impact of its postponement in their surrounding areas.
With recent news of the High Speed cancellation, much remains to be seen if Bandar Malaysia will succeed or not. However, Bandar Malaysia North MRT station’s alignment has already been confirmed. Initially, Bandar Malaysia has been planned with a gross development value (GDV) of RM150 billion with a dedicated commercial district to support new start-ups as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In addition, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has said 30, 000 units of homes will be delivered housing some 120, 000 residents within Bandar Malaysia. Whether or not this will go ahead, remains unclear. The only glimmer of hope here is the Digital Free Trade Zone by Jack Ma which so far has not been canned by the new government.
The Bangi-Putrajaya HSR station is located in the south of Klang Valley and within the state of Selangor at Kampung Abu Bakar Bagindar. Putrajaya is the Federal Administrative hub of Malaysia. Major townships include Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Bangi. There is a proposed connection to the Putrajaya Monorail that will connect this station to Putrajaya Sentral which will serve as an interchange station to the MRT station and the Putrajaya Sentral Express Rail Linl (ERL). The latter links you to KLIA and KLIA2.
The Seremban HSR station is located within the Malaysia Vision Valley area within the state of Negeri Sembilan. Sited within the Labu and Kirby estates, major townships in the vicinity include Bandar Enstek, Bandar Ainsdale Property and S2 Height. Seremban will be an interchange station to the Seremban Komuter Line and KTM Electric Train Service .
The Melaka HSR station is located in Ayer Keroh within the state of Melaka. Melaka is a hub for tourism and medical tourism. Major townships in the vicinity include Taman Tasik Utama, Kampung Baru Ayer Keroh and Taman Melaka Perdana. Many Indonesians and Singaporeans flock to hospitals such as Mahkota Medical Centre for medical treatment.
The Muar HSR station is located within the state of Johor at Bandar University Pagoh. Muar is a coastal town by the Straits of Melaka that is a hub for furniture manufacturing. Major townships in the vicinity Pagoh, Parit Jawa and Sungai Balang. The main economic drivers here are those in the education, trading, furniture manufacturing, historical tourism and agrotourism industries.
The Batu Pahat HSR station is located within the state of Johor at Pura Kencana, Seri Gading. Batu Pahat is a hub for garment and textile factories. Major townships in the vicinity include include Rengit, Yong Peng and Semerah. The main economic drivers here are those in the the furniture manufacturing, food processing and agrotourism. However, isnce 20011, there has been a notable growth in small and medium industries such as textiles, garments and electronics.
The Iskandar Puteri HSR station is located within Gerbang Nusajaya in the state of Johor It is the gateway to Iskandar Malaysia and covers an area of 1,841-hectare. Gerbang Nusajaya features a number of catalytic developments including Nusajaya Tech Park and FASTrack Iskandar. Major townships in the vicinity include Gerbang Nusajaya, Iskandar Puteri and Medini. This will be the final leg of the Malaysian station before it enters Singapore, terminating at Jurong East. While the station in Nusajaya has not yet been announced, government officials have indicated that it will be located close to Motorsports City near East Ledang.
The Jurong East HSR station is located within the Jurong Lake District in Singapore. It is the gateway to Singapore and covers an area of 67-hectare. Jurong Lake District is the hub for commerce, retail, healthcare and tourism industries. Major townships in the vicinity include Jurong East, Teban Gardens, Lakeside and Taman Jurong. Jurong East will be an interchange station to the North South MRT Line, East West MRT Line and the proposed Jurong Region MRT Line.
Also known as MRT Line 3, this is the final line that will comprise of a “wheel and spoke” system to connect to MRT Line 1 and SSP. Line 3 is expected to be completed in 2025. Collectively, all three lines will be integrated with the current trains systems forming the Klang Valley Integrated Train System. However, this project has been postponed by the new federal government when it took power in May 2018 owing to budget cuts.
The impact for this postponement will be marginal as this MRT Line will still need to be constructed to connect the SBK Line and SSP Line.
We will most likely see speculators staying away from the market.
This presents good opportunity for genuine homebuyers to start looking in and around the station.
Homes in the secondary market will be the most ideal as they are priced cheaper than new launches.
Yay for first-time home buyers but nay for multiple Singaporean property investors, Singapore Permanent Residents and foreigners
By Khalil Adis
The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) flash estimate of the price index for private residential property for the second quarter of 2018 showed that Singapore’s private property index has increased 4.9 points from 144.1 points in the first quarter 2018 to 149.0 points in the second quarter.
This represents an increase of 3.4 per cent, compared to the 3.9 per cent increase in the previous quarter.
URA’a data showed that private properties in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) increased the most in Singapore - by 5.7 per cent, after registering an increase of 1.2 per cent in the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, those in the Core Central Region (CCR) increased by 1.4 per cent compared to the 5.5 per cent increase while those in the Outside Central Region (OCR) increased by 2.9 per cent after registering a 5.6 per cent increase in the previous quarter respectively.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in a statement said the adjustments to the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates and Loan-to-Value (LTV) limits on residential property purchases were needed “to cool the property market and keep price increases in line with economic fundamentals.”
Additional, MAS said private residential prices have increased sharply by 9.1 per cent over the past year after declining gradually for close to four years.
See table below for the summary:
Here are five ways the new ABSD rate will impact you
#1: First time Singaporean private home buyers can heave a sigh of relief
The ABSD measures are aimed at second and multiple property owners to ensure they do not engage in excessive speculation which may bring property prices to unsustainable levels.
Therefore, first time private home buyers will not be penalised as they are deemed as genuine homeowners.
#2: However, bank loan margins for first-timers has been decreased
Be prepared to cough up more cash upfront.
The loan-to-value limit has been decreased from 80 per cent or 60 per cent if the loan tenure is more than 30 years or extends to more than age 65 to 75 per cent or 55 per cent if the loan tenure is more than 30 years or extends to more than age 65.
This means you will need to pay 5 per cent in cash upfront if your loan tenure is 30 years or 10 per cent if it extends to more than age 65. While the remaining will need to be paid in cash and/or CPF.
#3: Be prepared to pay an additional 5 per cent ABSD for second and/or subsequent properties for Singaporeans
ABSD rate for second property has been increased from 7 to 12 per cent.
Meanwhile, the ABSD rate for third and subsequent properties has been increased from 10 to 15 per cent.
#4: Lower LTV ratio for a second property
The loan-to-value limit has been decreased from 50 per cent or 30 per cent if the loan tenure is more than 30 years or extends to more than age 65 to 45 per cent or 25 per cent if the loan tenure is more than 30 years or extends to more than age 65.
The minimum cash downpayment is now 25 per cent.
#5: More cash upfront makes buying in Iskandar Malaysia more attractive
You get more bang for your bucks investing in Iskandar Malaysia than in Singapore with the new ABSD rates.
Assuming you are buying a second property for your own occupation, that 25 per cent cash downpayment for an S$1 million condominium translates to S$250,000 which could easily buy you a freehold landed or condominium development across the causeway.
With a minimum purchase price of RM1 million and a 70 per cent loan margin, you might as well convert it to your RM300,000 downpayment, not including stamp duty, state levy, legal fees and so on.
The downside is you will have to make to with the daily commute and traffic congestions until the Johor-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) is ready in 2024.
While blood is thicker than water, it is best to establish clear boundaries with a toxic family member when it comes to property matters
By Khalil Adis
Everyone has that one family member.
You know, that elephant in the room that nobody really wants to talk about.
That one who constantly argues and causes problems in the family. Yup, that one.
What complicates matter is when other family members try to intervene in the name of religion.
Most often than not, religion can blind everyone to the bullying and toxic behaviour this family member is doing.
Unfortunately, I have that one family member.
It all started rather harmlessly from that name-calling for getting good grades to pinching you till you are left bruised.
From emotional blackmail, gas-lighting to downright rude behaviour, all this was done as this family member was finding means and ways to wriggle her way out of paying the home mortgage when she is clearly the legal owner.
Their message is often typical - everyone else is the problem, except them.
Psychologist call this kind of behaviour projection where they will unconsciously project their innermost thoughts in their communication.
In my case, this family member was saying that I had planned to move overseas for good and abandon my responsibilities.
Well, guess what? That family member is the one who ended up uprooting herself overseas and is now no longer contactable.
The question is, should you as a family member, bail this person out from their mortgage responsibilities?
The answer is no. Here are three reasons why
#1: Recognise the problem is them, not you
Most often this comes up during arguments where they will project all their unconscious thoughts to you.
This person is only interested in their own point of view to make you feel guilty and bully you into admission so you will bail them out.
They are often emotionally manipulative to convince you that you are the problem.
When dealing with a toxic family member, it is best to walk out of the conversation as no amount of reasoning will make them see things your way.
#2: Legally speaking, you have no recourse
Unless you have a very good lawyer and documents to back up that you have been bailing this person out, your chances of getting your money back are close to zero.
Also, legally speaking, the one that will end up in trouble with the banks and income tax department is them, not you.
So save yourself the heartache.
You are better off saving that money for your own home.
#3: The family member needs to take responsibility
The reason this family member took out a home mortgage is precisely that - they made a commitment to buy a home.
If there are any changes in plans along the way, that family member needs to communicate that out in a healthy family discussion and not via threatening emails miles away in a foreign country.
Bailing this person out is not only unhealthy but enabling such bad behaviour.
Establish clear boundaries with such person that you will not tolerate their toxic behaviour and will only communicate with them when they treat everyone with respect.
If all else fail, cut off ties.
While this may seem taboo in a religious family setting, you will need to especially if the other person's behaviour is erratic and demands legal or police action.
Do it for the sake of your sanity and well-being.
You deserve so much better.
While this is the stuff of every Singaporean home owners’ nightmare, it is better to err on the side of the caution by knowing what happens when you break the law.
In Singapore where 80 per cent of the population lives in government- owned flats, (popularly known as Housing & Development Board or HDB flats), losing the roof over your head is really a big deal.
Being government-owned, there are strict laws and regulations in place governing HDB flats. They include a minimum occupation period (MOP) of five years and a minimum rental period of six months per application when renting out your HDB flats.
According to the Housing & Development Board, this is necessary “as it may disrupt the living environment and pose security concerns for our residents”.
Take the example of two home owners whose flats were seized in 2014 for illegally renting them out to tourists. In both cases, the two owners had openly flouted HDB laws by renting them out on a daily basis.
While there is no latest data as of 2018, the numbers could be higher due to the popularity of AirBnb listings. Between January 2012 to 2014, for instance, the HDB had seized 202 flats for breaking the law.
So what can lead to such confiscations? Here are some of the common scenarios:
#1: You illegally rent out your property
Every HDB flat has a MOP of five years. us, you are not allowed to rent out your flat if you have not reached the MOP.
#2: You rent out for a short-term period
AirBnb type of accommodations are not allowed in HDB flats as the minimum rental period for each tenant must be 6 months per application. us, flat owners are not allowed to rent out their flats or bedrooms on a short-term basis.
#3: You did not register with the HDB after renting out your flat
Granted, you have fulfilled the MOP, it is still against the law if you do not register the particulars of your tenants with the HDB.
#4: Your tenants are involved in illegal activities
Illicit businesses like prostitution in the heartlands have become rife and a common problem nowadays. While the tenants are the ones breaking the law, the onus is on the owners to do regular spotchecks to make sure your tenants are not involved in such illegal businesses as this may affect the harmony of your neighbourhood.
#5: You bought a private property before the minimum occupation period is up
Owning a HDB flat is a privilege and not a right. By buying a private property in Singapore or overseas, before the minimum occupation period is up, you are essentially denying a more deserving Singaporean a roof over their head.
#6: You have not been paying your mortgage
This is a last minute resort if you have persistently not been clearing your arrears despite HDB’s best intentions. In this case, the HDB has the right to confiscate your flat. However, such households will be given alternative accommodation such as downsizing to a flat that they can afford or renting a flat directly with the HDB.
With the exception of the last scenario, losing your HDB flat can have very grave implications. Let’s take a look at them:
Implication No: 1: Financial losses
Assuming you had broken the laws, the HDB has the right to take back your flat at the price that it was purchased after deducting a penalty.
While the HDB does not leave you financially destitute, this also means you will not be able to enjoy the capital appreciation on your flat.
Let’s take the case of a property agent, Poh Boon Kay whose HDB flat was repossessed by the HDB in 2010 after he and his wife was found to have illegally sublet his home.
While they both had bought the HDB flat from the open market at S$150,000, he was reportedly paid S$125,000 after deducting the penalties. At the time of the confiscation, his flat was worth S$320,000. That’s almost a loss of S$200,000!
Implication No: 2 No roof over your head
Unlike the last scenario, because you had broken the law, you’re on your own. This not only creates a huge fiinancial burden as you will now have to either rent or buy a private property, but also deal with the emotional stress and uncertainty of not having a roof over your head.
While HDB is an asset, it can also lead to huge financial losses if you break the law. The takeaway is this, it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to government-owned flats in Singapore as the repercussions far outweigh one’s ignorance and financial greed.
This article was first published by Asian Property Review, March-April 2018 issue
Hiring an interior designer can be costly running up to thousands of dollars. Equip yourself with these basic design skills so your dollar can go further to your actual home renovation.
By Khalil Adis
In November last year, I officially became a first time homeowner.
While I was of course ecstatic after finally receiving my keys to my new home, I now have to think about doing home renovation.
Mind you, every space counts as my home is around 484 sq ft.
While I am all for doing up your house to a comfortable abode that you can call home, you should also be mindful not too overspend on your home renovation.
Instead, you should focus on doing basic renovations such as a simple coat of paint, ensuring all the electrical switches and plumbings work as all these will lead to an immediate enhancement of your property value.
As a rule of thumb, you should not be spending more than 10 per cent of the value of your home on renovations.
However, as interior design cost can run into thousands of dollars, it can be easy to overrun on our budget.
Let’s look at the cost breakdown how much it would cost to engage an interior designer in Singapore and Malaysia.
The professional fee an interior designer charges can cost as high as RM8,000 and S$6,000 in Malaysia and Singapore respectively.
The fee covers the various design stages from planning, drawing, 3D-renderings and so on.
That’s just on design fees alone.
What about the actual renovation?
According to Qanvast, a Singapore-based online renovation platform, the average renovation amount on a typical HDB flat in Singapore costs a whopping S$56,000!
Meanwhile, in Malaysia, it can cost anything between RM40,000 to RM150,000!
That’s a lot of money!
Is there a way to save money on your renovation without cutting corners?
Yes, there is.
I’m here to share with you some design basics from my years of training as an architecture and design student at Singapore Polytechnic.
Knowing these design basics have helped immensely to cut out the middleman costs and go direct to the carpenter and contractor.
You can also do this by downloading a free online interior design software called Homestyler.
As my home is in move in condition that requires no hacking whatsoever, I am able to design around it from scratch. My home is both design and Feng Shui complaint.
I set a renovation budget at less than S$20,000 and here’s how I did it.
Step 1: Have a sense of space and colours
From my home’s floor plan above, you can see the clearing space for the full height cupboard that spans from the living to dining rooms, the door clearance leading from the dining to the living room, the wardrobe clearance space and the 900 mm clearance space between the wardrobe and the bed. I have given a slightly bigger clearance space for the main door at 1,200 mm.
This refers to the comfortable clearing space that you need to move from one space to another without any encumbrances by knowing the average human size.
This is especially important for a small sized apartment like mine as you do not want to end up with a home that makes you feel claustrophobic.
Typically, here are the minimum clearing space required for the following:
Doors and entrances: 900 mm.
Wardrobe to bed: 900 mm
Widths of fittings such as wardrobe, shelves, kitchen cabinets and so on: 600 mm
Now, that we have a sense of space, let’s move on to colours.
If you’re unsure what colours to use, stick to the basics and use neutral colours such as black, white, beige, grey and a hint of wood.
They are easy on the eyes and speak of luxury and sophistication.
I’ve chosen a monochromatic colour scheme for my home as they look timeless and elegant.
Step 2: Design with the end in mind
Now that you have the design basics, you are ready to start the design process using Homestyler.
You can start by uploading your floor plan as the background and then use the measurement scale to ensure you get the dimensions correct.
Trace the background and build the rooms accordingly until you have all the floor plans completed.
You are now ready to begin the design process.
Step 3: Save spacing design
Using my home as a case study, what I have done is to flush all the odd corners in the living and dining room. I have also utilised every corners to come up with space saving designs.
In this case, I have built a full height cupboard that spans from the living room all the way to the dining room that looks like a window.
This gives the impression of a bigger space while allowing me to store my things vertically.
I have also built in a ceiling mounted shelving unit just above my dining table that doubles up as a storage space and a stand out feature to place a ceiling mounted lamp for my dining area.
Notice also the vertical designed wallpaper that I have used. This is to give the impression of a bigger space that forces your eyes to look upwards. I have accentuated this with artworks and posters that are lined vertically.
For my living room, I have built a storage space on the ceiling and floor levels. The cabinet on the ceiling level doubles up as a false ceiling to give the impression of a full height window and for me to install my downlight.
Meanwhile, the cabinet on the floor level doubles up as a sofa - another space saving feature.
I have also built in a sliding door leading up to the living room that gives me flexibility in how I need to utilise the living and dining rooms.
For added space, I can always open up the sliding door.
Likewise, for more privacy, all I have to do is close the sliding door.
For the bedroom, I have built a full height wardrobe that serves two purposes — to utilise fully the entire ceiling height and to give an illusion of a seamlessly designed regular shaped room. This looks visually better compared to buying a regular wardrobe that does not utilise the entire space.
Again, the colour scheme is monochromatic with the main wall using a darker grey tone to make it stand out as a feature wall.
For the bathroom, I have done up a vanity that holds the sink with a storage space below. I have kept the bathroom relatively uncluttered again with monochromatic colours.
I am blessed that my kitchen is the biggest space in my home. What I have done is to compartmentalise it into two distinct zones — the laundry-cum-patio and the main kitchen.
The laundry-cum-patio features a manoeuvring space of 800 mm for me to access the washing machine and to do a little bit of gardening for my herb garden. I have also built in a cabinet to tuck away all the detergents and gardening tools.
For the main kitchen, I have designed an L-shaped kitchen with the cooker hob facing the window. The entire floor to ceiling height has been fully utilised with an island ceiling cabinet in the middle. To accentuate this island ceiling cabinet, I have designed it in such a way to conceal an indirect LED light that washes the ceiling to give the illusion of a floating space. I have also tucked in the fridge within the L-shaped kitchen to give a sense of uniformity.
I have converted the storage space into a walk-in wardrobe which can store all my clothings as well as other paraphernalia. The entire floor to ceiling height has been fully utilised.
Step 4: Conceal, conceal, conceal
This is an important step to conceal unsightly columns, odd corners, uneven walls, doors and such to give your home a seamless, smooth look
Let’s start with the living and dining room.
The full height cupboard not only help to conceal the uneven walls and columns but also has a space above to conceal the air-conditioning system in both the dining and living rooms with louvres.
Notice also the storage space on the top and bottom of the living room windows that gives the impression of a bay window.
I have also concealed the TV console and door leading to the bedroom by buiding a full height retractable door that looks like a cupboard.
Notice also the storage space that doubles up as a sofa in the living room.
By building a full height cupboard, I have concealed the odd corner and provided a space to hide away the air-conditioning system at the top of the wardrobe.
I have kept the design fairly simple by incorporating a space for the hide the refrigerator and flush it against the wall. I have also included a sliding door to keep away smoke from the kitchen to the dining room area.
Step 5: Go direct to the contractor, carpenter and furniture wholesaler
If you really want to save cost, you have to be very hands-on in the whole home renovation project.
Now that you have all your measurements and an idea of the kind of decor you want, you can show your floor plan and 3D-renderings to the contractor and carpenter.
Usually word of mouth referrals through family and friends will give you a better pricing.
Tell them exactly what you want and get at least three different quotes.
For carpentry work, you will be quoted based on a per foot pricing. If you really are on a budget, you can choose a laminate instead of a veneer finish.
For good furniture deals, you can always go to a wholesale centre away from the city where prices are more reasonable.
There are also wholesale centre selling second hand furnitures from hotel rooms that are still in mint condition.
As for artworks and decorative items, I got mine from Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok and from the art shops in Ubud, Bali.
Not only are they reasonably priced, they are also made by skilled handymen.
The lesson in home renovation is this — you do not need to spend an arm and a leg to transform your house into a home.
All you need is the basic design skills, knowing the right colour schemes and the creativity to put them all together.
What the experts say
Prof. Joe Choo
President of Malaysian Institute of Geomancy Science (MINGS)
Perfect design without much furniture to block the energy flowing in from the main entrance
The bed should be relocate to the most right (when looking at the bed) to avoid the toilet door hitting the bed. Ensure that the height bedside table is either the same or lower. The length of wardrobe should be almost the same like the bed, otherwise it is considered as a corner hitting the person sleeping in the bed which will affect the health
The distance of stove and basin is ideal based of the ration of the space
Founder of Pocket Projects, a design consultancy
Incorporating visual connections between adjacent spaces, in this case, the living room and the dining room, helps to enhance the impression of spaciousness within the flat. Smartly concealed storage spaces are essential to making the most of a small flat. They reduce visual clutter as well as deftly converting dead spaces into useful ones.
Sometimes less is more, especially for small rooms. Keeping a clean, simple layout in a bedroom such as this one, allows for a calm space with balanced proportions, which facilitates rest.
This kitchen enjoys nice natural light and ventilation from its large windows. Using the kitchen counter and hob as a partitioning device is a good idea because it allows unobstructed light from the windows into the depths of the kitchen. It also allows cooking smells to be naturally vented out the windows with ease.
Buying a property but not sure exactly where you should start? Whether you are a novice or a seasoned investor, we list down our market outlook and property trends to watch out for in 2018.
By Khalil Adis
The upcoming 14th General Elections (GE), current demand-supply mismatch and buyers who are unable to secure end-financing will have a significant impact on the Malaysian property market in 2018.
While the fundamentals in the Malaysian economy and banking system remain strong, there will still be consumers who are still unable to secure end-financing as wages have not gone up in tandem with property prices.
In terms of the economy, the World Bank’s recently released a Malaysia Economic Monitor report showing an upbeat Malaysian economy.
According to the World Bank, the country is expected to grow at 5.2 per cent this year driven by strong domestic consumption.
It also expects this to be the main driver of growth in the coming year, supported by stable labour market conditions and continued income growth.
“Accelerated growth has been fuelled by strengthening domestic demand, improved labor market conditions, and wage growth, as well as improved external demand for Malaysia’s manufactured products and commodity exports. Capital expenditure has also increased due to higher private and public investment,” said the World Bank.
Meanwhile, figures from Bank Negara showed that access to financing was not a major deterrent when it comes to home ownership. Its October 2017 report, for example, showed that loan approvals for key cities are near 70 percent or higher.
“As at end-2016, about 56 per cent of loans outstanding were for houses priced below RM250,000, while loans for houses priced between RM250,000 to RM500,000 accounted for another 25 per cent. Rejection rates for housing loan applications also fell further to 23.6 per cent in 2016. These trends are evidence that financing remains ample for eligible home buyers,” said the Central Bank.
Bank Negara’s finding has in someways helped to debunk myths in the market that high loan rejections are to be blamed for the current state of the property market.
While Malaysia’s economy and banking system remain sound, housing prices across Malaysia continued to soar at unaffordable levels.
This makes it a challenge for potential home buyers to obtain loans.
According to Bank Negara’s report, the ratio of median house price to the median household income showed that the housing affordability ratio in Malaysia by 2014 was 4.49. This indicates that houses in the country as a whole, were ‘seriously unaffordable’.
Noting the demand-supply mismatch, Bank Negara notes that Sabah and Sarawak has the highest deficit in affordable homes in 2014, accounting for 50 per cent of the total shortage in Malaysia.
“Among the four states with the highest concentration of urban population, the shortage of affordable housing was largest in Kuala Lumpur, followed by Penang and Johor. On the other hand, Selangor was found to have a surplus of affordable houses. However, this could be an over-estimation given that there is a significant number of low-cost housing in the state that may fail to meet the quality and location requirements of households,” said Bank Negara.
With an economy showing a strong domestic market, 2018 will likely see buyers adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ approach leading up to the general elections while the market will see a period of correction and consolidation due to the demand-supply mismatch and the many unsold inventory.
This, combined with buyers who are unable to secure a loan, will likely see more and more developers launching affordably priced products with creative financing schemes such as ‘rent-to-own’ and low deposits to entice buyers in the market.
Here are our five predictions to watch out for in 2018
#1: Affordably priced homes
Affordable is relative. With the median income for Malaysians varying from one state to another. The prices for such homes should be reflective of what is affordable in each state. In Kuala Lumpur, for instance, the Department of Statistics showed that the median monthly household income as of 2016 is RM9,073.
Assuming both husband and wife to have such income, the median salary in KL would be RM4,536.50. As such, if we were to use the income-to-mortgage ratio of 30 per cent (RM4,536.50 x 30/100 = RM1,360.95), a single KLite should not be paying more than RM307,000 based on an interest rate of 4.25 per cent with a 10 per cent downpayment over 30 years. This is where the challenge is as the entry price for homes in KL is easily more than RM600,000.
Accordingly, it will be wise for the various developers to use the Department of Statistic’s finding to build homes according to the median monthly household income in each states by using the income-to-mortgage ratio - RM8,275 for Putrajaya, RM7,225 for Selangor, RM5,928 for Labuan, RM5,652 for Johor, RM5,588 for Melaka and RM5,409 for Penang. KL will be the state with the most pressing need for such homes as it is the centre for economic activity in Malaysia. The onus will therefore fall on the federal government to ensure the supply of such homes in the market.
#2: Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
One way to overcome the challenge in building affordable homes in KL will be Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects. DBKL has set a development guideline for developers to build homes at around 800 sq ft but priced below RM450,000. This is possible through public-private partnership by building on government owned land to reduce land acquisition costs, leading to lower cost when building such homes.
With the recent completion of the Sungai Buloh - Kajang (SBK) MRT Line and the upcoming Sungai Buloh - Serdang - Putrajaya Line (SSP) MRT Line 2, there are several parcels of land near to the MRT stations where it is feasible to build such homes. However, the government must implement stringent laws similar to the Singapore system to ensure developers build seamless connections via elevated linkway or underground walkways for the convenience of commuters and those living in the area.
Some of the current MRT stations such as as Bandar Utama, Taman Connaught and Cochrane suffer from poor connection despite the huge amount spent on this infrastructure project that are being built next to huge shopping malls. This is a pity as they would have benefited immensely from the potential foot fall. As of now, the ball falls on DBKL’s and private developers’ courts to make this work for the greater good of the rakyat.
#3: Rent-to-own scheme
Some developers like Bursa-listed Ayer Holdings Berhad (formerly known as TAHPS Group Berhad) have rolled out such creative financing schemes for Epic Residence and Foreston to assist first time home buyers since 2017. This is in view of the tightening of bank loan approvals margin and the softening property market.
For those who cannot obtain a loan but need a roof over your head, this scheme will assist you when you rent a unit. In Ayer’s case for instance, some of the rent will be converted as part of the downpayment ensuring you will have a home in the short-term and long-term period until you are financially sound.
#4: Airbnb accommodations
The combination of a relatively weak ringgit versus the Singapore and US dollar plus less stringent regulations for short-term stays in private residences have made Airbnb-type of accommodations especially popular and lucrative in Malaysia.
Imagine earning a daily rental of RM250 (that’s RM7,500 in a month!) versus RM3,000 in a month for a condominium unit! For Airbnb accommodations to work though, your property must be located in a very central location with a lot of tourism landmarks such as in Bukit Bintang, KLCC, KL Sentral in KL, Georgetown in Penang or Jonker Street in Melaka. When renting out such homes, ensure you do simple renovations such that your plumbing system, electricity and heaters work. Throw in a washing machine, toaster, television and such to ensure your property remains top on the mind of a prospective renters’ list. While Airbnb accommodations can be very lucrative, there can be downsides to it - renters from hell! Ensure you screen prospective renters carefully by checking reviews from fellow Airbnb landlords online.
#5: Resale homes
If you need a home urgently, a resale unit is the way to go as they are priced significantly cheaper, at around 30 per cent lower, compared than new launches.
This is due to the massive supply in the market that has contributed to a glut in the market, resulting in softening property prices.
The good news is this - it has become a buyers’ market with plenty of bargain hunting options!
Be prepared though to have extra cash in hand as you will need to pay a deposit, legal fees and other costs.
With so much supply in the market, sellers are more willing to negotiate with you.
As such, if you have difficulties in your 10 per cent deposit, you can negotiate your payment terms with the landlord.
Time to put those bargaining skills to practice!
Here’s wishing you a prosperous 2018 ahead!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Khalil Adis Consultancy to strengthen its presence in Singapore with a diversified client portfolio and a new book to be launched in 2018
SINGAPORE,11 December 2017 – Khalil Adis Consultancy Pte Ltd ("The Company") today announces that its CEO, Khalil Adis, has stepped down as a board of director at REI Group Sdn Bhd effective today and is no longer with REI Mediaction Sdn Bhd.
“I would like to thank the board for the opportunity to work in Kuala Lumpur. I am excited to be moving back to our Singapore headquarter to reconsolidate and refocus on our core business covering the Singapore and Malaysian property markets but from a Singaporean perspective. We also have a few exciting projects lined up for next year that will include a 6-months public relations campaign for a Swiss-based premier wellness/spa product, JUST, copywriting and communications work for Singaporean developer, TG Master Pte Ltd, as well an upcoming book on Transit Oriented Development in KL/Greater KL. The book is expected to be out late next year and will be published by MPH Group Publishing,” said Khalil Adis.
In Kuala Lumpur, Adis has also launched its Corporate Responsibility (CR) programme called #projectspeakersgiveback with the aim of helping migrant workers to be equipped with basic neccessities. This is in line with the key message behind Adis’ best-selling book Property Buying for Gen Y.
“The motive behind this project was after learning about the plight of Nepalese migrant workers whom I had gotten to know over the years when I was staying at WOLO Bukit Bintang. Being a regular guest at the hotel, I had become friends with many of the house keeping and security workers who would always ensure my safety and security. I am especially touched by their hardworking attitude and honesty which is one of the reasons why I decided to help out. I am pleased we have delivered around RM2,000 worth of mattresses and groceries. We will continue to do so in 2018,” said Adis.
The Company would also like to clarify that it was never bought over by any entity and remains a Singapore-based privately held business entity. All business enquiries should be directed to The Company here.
About Khalil Adis Consultancy
Khalil Adis Consultancy is founded by noted property journalist, Khalil Adis. He has written two bestsellers - Get It Right Iskandar and Property Buying for Gen Y. The firm presents a myriad of services which include property and market research, public relations, due diligence, editorial, content management and speaking engagements in the property market.
Media (Singapore): +65 8201 9254
Media (Malaysia): +601-4271 9568
Investor Relations: +65 8201 9254
An independent analysis from yours truly