By Property Soul (guest contributor)

I was recently at the Hong Kong International Airport trying to catch the 8pm flight back to Singapore when the staff at the check-in counter gave me an unexpected offer. “MissXX, are you in a hurry to fly back? We have checked in 300 passengers and the flight is already full. Can we put you on the next available flight departing 1.50am?”

“But it’s only 6pm now. Is there any earlier flight?”

“Most passengers have done their check-in online. And I am afraid that all other flights are full.”Online check-in? My meetings were so packed I didn’t even have time to turn on the TV in my hotel room.“If you can take the 1.50am flight, we will offer you a free upgrade to the next higher class. You can choose to upgrade on this flight or any flight in the future. On top of that, we will give you one thousand dollars in cash right now.”She said this as she put her hand inside the drawer. She was probably thinking of the famous line in The Godfather:“Make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

“Wait. One thousand Singapore or Hong Kong currency?”

“Hong Kong Dollars.” Oops, did I just ask a silly question?“Look, we can put you on standby but there is no guarantee that we can find you a seat. The best is that you take this offer.”Honestly, I would rather be on my own bed than on the bed of an upgraded cabin in the wee hours of the morning.

“But my husband is waiting for me at the Changi Airport.” It was just my polite way of saying ‘no’.

“You can call him now. We provide free IDD here. What is his number?” She held up the receiver of the phone at her desk.

“I think I just try my luck for the 8 pm flight.”

“Okay, it’s up to you,” with an expression that said ‘What a stubborn customer!’

“Here’s a HKD40 F&B voucher. Go get a drink and come back to check again an hour later.”

I grabbed a HKD39 mango sago drink nearby as quickly as possible and spent the next 40 minutes standing near her counter. I waited till no one was in the check-in queue and approached her right away.I was relieved that she finally printed my boarding pass to board the 8pm flight. It was code-shared with three flights. No wonder it was so full!

Special offer at the show flat

One morning in 2011, I followed the crowd to visit the sales gallery of a new project launch.

“How many bedrooms are you looking for?” The property agent asked me.

“Two bedders.”

“Our two bedrooms are all sold out… Wait, we still have one 2+1 unit left here.”

“It’s facing outside. I prefer a pool view unit.”

“Facing the pool is very noisy. Why pay more to get the noise?” She added, “We already have two customers eyeing this last 2+1 unit. They are checking with their bank now. You’d better hurry before it’s gone.”

“But there is Phase 2, right?”

“Phase 2 blocks are 3 and 4 bedrooms. Only Phase 1 units enjoy a 5 percent discount off the list price. The project is selling very well. The developer will definitely increase the price, at least 20 percent. Besides, the facing and furnishing of Phase 2 units are not as good as Phase 1, and no branded appliances too. That’s why everyone is buying now!”

I looked around and saw many eager buyers holding their cheque book. It’s true that everybody else was buying – except that Phase 2 units did have 2 bedrooms, were better facing with nice pool views, plus would sell with the same furnishings and price levels.

Look what savvy investors are doing

At the end of a flat viewing in 2001, a property agent said this to me: “Quickly make an offer now if you are keen. I am only telling you this. Recently, I notice that many true investors have started going back to the property market. You don’t want to miss all the good deals before prices go up again.”

I wanted to be one of the savvy ones too. If only I had enough cash to buy!

Soon the property market was plagued by September 11, SARS and an economic downturn. It was not until 2006 that the market finally showed signs of recovery.

Say yes or regret later

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is the fear of regret for missing a good opportunity or an attractive reward. It’s the same reason why shoppers have to buy right now because they can’t afford to miss out when things are on sale.

In investment, FOMO is the fear of missing the best time to buy, a high return or a big profit. No one wants to think in retrospect how one could have laughed all the way to the bank but instead ended up with nothing.

Last month my husband and I just celebrated another wedding anniversary. I can still recall somebody said this to me many years ago: “I am going to ask you one last time. If I don’t get a ‘yes’ this time, I might have to start looking elsewhere … You are a smart girl and I know you always do the right thing.”

I should have known that this was a manipulation of my FOMO.

By guest contributor Property Soul, a successful property investor, blogger, and author of the No B.S. Guide to Property Investment.

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