Asking the What, Why and How of Properties

By Property Soul (guest contributor)

Time flies. My little girl recently turned two. Happy birthday sweetheart! With a limited vocabulary, her favorite words are “what”, “why” and “how”. And she enjoys dragging the vowels to show her emotions. Here is a typical example:

“See what we have in the fridge.”

“Whaaat?”

“Fresh milk or orange juice?”

She opens the freezer and points at the ice-cream.

“No, you can’t have this for breakfast.”

“Whyyy?”

“Because you’ll have a stomach upset.”

“Hooow?”

“Er …”

“No no,” she shakes her head and walks away.

A toddler asks what, why and how all the time. But as we grow older, we gradually lose our natural curiosity to question the things around us.

Perhaps we are too lazy and don’t bother to know what is happening. Maybe it is too tiring to find an explanation to everything. Or we have tried but still have no answer to our question.

Likewise, when people are buying or investing in properties, many don’t bother to ask questions. Some have asked, but they haven’t asked the right questions.

Asking the ‘what’ questions

This involves finding and comparing all the offers and options in the market:

– What is available in the uncompleted and resale market?

– What is the price difference for new and old flats in the same district?

– What prices were people paying at the top and bottom of the previous property cycles?

– What are local sellers offering compared with what property seminars are marketing in the same overseas market?

Asking the ‘why’ questions

Understand the reasons why things happen the way they are. This includes asking questions such as:

– Why is there no choice but to buy at the current market?

– Why are developers able to sell new projects at future prices?

– Why the government has to constantly announce new cooling measures?

– Why the current market is now made up of first-time buyers and upgraders buying new projects?

Asking the ‘how’ questions

This involves validating information you have received to find out the truth, including answering questions such as:

– How to generate a decent rental return buying at the current market?

– How to maintain a positive cashflow when market conditions change?

– How to look for good tenants for projects in this area?

– How to find future buyers to offload properties bought in an overseas market?

Having the courage to say ‘No’

If you have asked yourself the right questions, and have done your homework to find some answers, you should be able to form your own opinion.

Never go with the crowd blindly and make a property decision based on the comments of the people around you. Don’t fall into the trap of buying a place using the criteria of industry analysts, property developers or marketing agents.

Remember that this is your home and you are the one paying for it. As soon as you are not being unrealistic, you should make decisions using your own set of criteria. If your priorities are not met, you don’t have to buy.

Whether the property you bought is good or bad, it is not your fate, it is your choice. You should have the choice to say ‘No’, the courage to walk away and stand by what you believe in.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German anti-Nazi theologian, once said:

“It is the nature, and the advantage, of strong people that they can bring out the crucial questions and form a clear opinion about them. The weak always have to decide between alternatives that are not their own.”

As I am writing this, my two-year-old is standing behind me, getting into a tub of ice-cream with a spoon she finds somewhere.

“What are you eating?” I ask.

“Whaaat?”

“Mommy says no ice-cream for breakfast.”

“Whyyy?”

“So you’re not listening to Mommy?”

“Hooow?”

I try to grab the ice-cream from her but in vain.

“No no,” she smiles mischievously and walks away.

By Property Soul, a successful property investor and enthusiast who shares her experiences and knowledge on her blog.

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