Everyone wants to get a bargain. Buying a property at that bargain price will mean your initial deposit will be lower, your financing payments lower, and your profits higher. We ask Isabelle Sterboul, Director of AIQ Global, a group which specialises in buying old houses in prime areas of KL, to share some of the techniques that she uses to find her properties at bargain prices.
Work hard. View at least fifty properties, ideally one hundred before you buy one. It's hard work, and can get very boring and tiring, but the more properties you see the greater the chance of getting that bargain - it is that simple. Further, viewing properties acts as research - by viewing many properties you'll know that bargain when you see it.
Use several agents. Talk to them, listen to what they have to say. If the agent is proactive, work more closely with them - if they are being more proactive with you, the buyer, they will probably be more proactive with the sellers as well.
Don't just use agents. Find out about any sellers from any other ways you can. Your local hairdresser may know someone who desperately needs the money - talk around - spread the word that you want to buy a property.
Go to auctions. Auctions are a great way to get a bargain, but make sure you don't get carried away - never exceed your target price. Further, do not for one moment think that auctions are all about winning - if you 'win' the auction but the property price is not a bargain, this would best described as you losing the auction. You can subscribe to the major auction houses so you get their listings emailed or posted to you.
Be on standby, always. When a property agent calls you, and tells you there's a new property on the market, make sure that you're on the way to view the property before the telephone call is over. Not only will it mean you're one of the first to view, it will show the agent that you're really serious, so the next time they have a property you'll probably be the first to know.
Get a good feel for the area before you buy. Walk (don't just drive) around the area noticing everything and anything like a property detective. Speak to the neighbours - start off by talking about their lovely pet cat, but then move the conversation slowly on to the area. Go to the local authority to see if there are any planned developments nearby that will affect the area.
Become the world expert on your property type. After you've viewed many properties with so many different agents you should know more than the agents themselves. If you do not feel you know more than the agents then do not buy until you do. It follows that a valuation below your purchase price, even from a reputable valuer, should not concern you except that it may make it difficult to get the amount of finance you wish.
Ignore the seller's price. Do not think too much about how much the seller is asking for. Focus on how much the property is worth.
If the seller is there when you are viewing the house, speak to them. Ask them about the price to make sure you have not been misinformed by the agent. Try to sense if they are a desperate seller.
Make an offer even lower than the price you feel is a bargain. There is no harm. Sellers often ask for ridiculous prices, and buyers do not get offended, so if a seller gets offended by your offer, then do not let that concern you. You have only made an offer. You are not forcing them to sell, and they can decline the offer if they wish. If the offer is rejected get as much feedback from the agent about what the seller said to your offer or how she reacted. Use this information to your advantage if you give another offer.
If you have any conditions on your offer do not mention them when you give the offer. For example, if your offer is subject to you obtaining financing, do not bring this up at this stage as it will mean the seller is less likely to verbally agree to your offer. Once the offer has been accepted, bring up any conditions. Of course the seller may reject those conditions. However, you increase your chances of a successful property purchase by bringing up any conditions after you have agreed the price, and the seller will unlikely change the price due to those conditions once a price has been agreed.
If the seller doesn't accept your first offer raise it, but do not go above the limit at which the property is no longer a bargain. By raising your offer to above the bargain price you won't get your bargain - you're reading this because you want a bargain, remember!
Do not give up. Be patient, work hard, and be smart, and you will find that bargain.